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Women in Finance Meeting: The (S)hero’s Journey

The SF Bay Area chapter of Financial Executives International held the second meeting of its Women in Finance (“WIF”) Special Interest Group on August 6th at the offices of Robert Half in San Francisco.
The WIF group is a community for women finance professionals dedicated to promoting awareness in finance, providing a platform for knowledge sharing, education, networking, and mentorship and supporting and enabling the development and career advancement for women in finance by investing in themselves and others.
Our presenter at the August 6th meeting was Michelle DeBella, Vice President of Finance Strategy at Lyft.
In her presentation, Michelle expertly adapted The Hero’s Journey as the (S)hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey is a classic story structure shared by stories worldwide. Coined by academic Joseph Campbell in 1949, it refers to a wide-ranging category of tales in which a character ventures out to get what they need, faces adversity, and ultimately triumphs over adversity.
What is important about our individual journeys is that we are the authors of the plots of our own stories. Michelle shared the unique experiences that are part of her story – which included a path of disruption, having to adopt and adapt to the challenges of work and personal life not of her making, and ultimately successfully determining her own destiny through self-discovery. A key takeaway for the group was that the(S)hero must overcome a series of trials and tribulations as well as fear and uncertainty, requiring patience and mental toughness. Each step of the way brings new knowledge and wisdom that prepares one for the next step in the journey.
Other takeaways included:​​
  • Since we are the author of our story, it is important that this be in our own, authentic voice. We determine the nature of our story – is it a drama? a comedy?
  • Challenges and unexpected twists and turns are defining parts of our narrative. The (S)hero’s journey is not always the easiest journey.
  • Our journeys should also include giving back.
  • Today is the first day of the rest of our journey and our story – we should commit to writing the story we want our “readers” to remember.