Interview: Maggie Germano
Can you start by telling the readers a little about yourself?
I'm a feminist and financial coach for women. I started my business two years ago when I was feeling lost in my nonprofit career and needed to find some passion and inspiration again. I do one-on-one coaching with women, I host a monthly Money Circle gathering for women to talk about money in the DC area, I host workshops about personal finance, and I blog about many issues related to money and how it impacts women. I just bought a house in Riverdale, MD with my fiancé, Dan, so we spend a lot of our time making the house our own. I love to sing, dance, read, watch dramatic television, and spend time with my niece and nephew.
Can you talk a little about why you started your business?
Yes! A few years ago, I was feeling lost and uninspired. I had no idea what I wanted to do in my career. All I knew is I didn't want to stay in the job I was in. I was (and still am) very passionate about feminism and women's rights, so I joined several organizations like the Women's Information Network, Collective Action for Safe Spaces, Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington's Developing Leaders Program, and Bossed Up. Through those organizations, I started meeting lots of women, many of whom were struggling with the same issue: money. The more I heard women's stories, the more I realized that money problems were holding many of us back from the lives that we wanted to live. So I started offering my support to women I was meeting: offering to help them craft a budget, create a debt repayment plan, or just acting as a sounding board. I started to see how filling that role could change people's mindsets and allow them to see that their lives could be different and they could get control over their money. So I officially registered my business and got certified as a coach and haven't looked back!
What is something you've learned from your job? How has feminism specifically played a roll in what you do?
Through my business, I've learned that I am so much more capable than I thought. Being my own boss allows me to have so much more control over my work and my life, and makes me feel even more feminist. Plus, I work almost exclusively with women, so we lift each other up everyday.
We are never really done growing up. What do you hope to do in the future?
This is a great question. I hope to continue learning and continue growing my business. I want to tweak my business over time to be as impactful as possible to more and more women. My ultimate goal is to be incredibly impactful, earning good money, while still being able to live a balanced, fulfilled life. I also hope to become a mother eventually and learn how to (try to) balance being a business-owner and parent.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The knowledge that my day is really what I want to make it. Now that I'm not working my day job, I really have the power to structure my day and what I do with it. It's kind of scary having that kind of freedom, but now that I'm getting used to it, it makes me feel more powerful and in control of my life.
Do you have advice for girls growing up today?
Try not to worry so much about boys (or whoever it is you fall in love with)! I spent so much of my youth worrying about who liked me or not that I lost sight of who I was and how valuable I was outside of what someone else thought of me. Find the things that you love about yourself and cherish them. You are so much more than someone else's love interest.
Do you have any female figures that you look up to? (real or fiction)
I look up to so many women. The ones who come immediately to mind are a few feminist authors: Roxane Gay, who writes so beautifully and honestly, and shows readers that they don't have to be perfect to be a feminist. She has many wonderful books, but I would recommendBad Feminist and An Untamed State; Jessica Valenti, who is a feminist writer I credit with really opening my eyes to sexism and the fight for reproductive rights in her bookFull Frontal Feminism; Lindy West, an author and comedian who does not compromise herself or her beliefs in order to make other people feel more comfortable. Her writing is witty and striking, and everyone should read her book Shrill.
Why do you think it is important to tell our stories?
It's so important for women to tell our stories. Many of us are going through the same kinds of struggles, but we often feel alone. The more we talk about our experiences, the more we'll hear from other women who have been through the same things. It connects us, makes us feel less alone, and ultimately makes it a little bit easier to get through life.
What is something in life that you are most proud of?
The first thing that comes to mind at this question is moving to Washington, DC. When I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to end up in DC so I could be an activist in the non-profit field. However, it was pretty hard to get a job in DC when I was living in Syracuse, NY. So I picked up and moved to DC without a full-time job and hoped for the best. This was a big risk for me to take at the time, but it worked out and I got a paid internship less than 2 weeks later. Nearly 9 years later, I'm proud of myself for changing course and becoming an entrepreneur, even though it was a big change from what I thought I would do with my life. I guess I'm not as risk averse as I thought.
A few favorites:
To Kill a Mocking Bird was always my favorite book growing up. I've read too many good books recently to pick just one favorite.
I really love pop/punk, actually. Say Anything has been one of my favorite bands for years. I love how much emotion is packed into songs of this genre. Plus, it reminds me a lot of college and when I was a little bit more carefree. I'm also a huge Michael Jackson fan.
What is your life motto?
Be kind, but take no shit.
You can check out Maggie's Website here.