In this interview series, we want to feature cool and inspiring women from all corners of the world to learn about their financial reality as well as how they navigate sustainability. Our goal is to showcase a breadth of values and practices, and how young women handle the challenges of our time. 

This week we have been talking to Emiliette, based in Chicago and an absolute fireball! In addition to her investment career at JP Morgan, she mananges her own production company Emak Productions, runs the travel-focused Instagram account @memelietteabroad and is writing a cook book that will launch early 2020, filled with recipes accumulated from her friends all over the world. She is a well of inspiration and humour, and owes her self-discipline to her army parents.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Talking about personal sustainability, the first thing that comes to mind is definitely the concept of self sufficiency.  In my opinion, being self sufficient is one of the best qualities that define us young, empowered women in business. The ability to be sustainable and independent are what truly define one's character. Being sustainable is understanding that both business and life overall are dependent on a balance. Being sustainable is being independent and having a strategy for unexpected adverse circumstances that may have an impact on both business and personal life.  I believe one should be self sufficient first, be prepared for rainy days, and then go forth with additions.  If you have a plan to become sustainable (self sufficient), you've already won half the game.  


(Why) is money important?

The importance of money can be tracked down to several definitions or explanations. See, money is our economical system of exchange value for a product or service. Additionally, money is important because in essence money is the means to grow, expand, and remain operational, if we look at it from a business perspective. From a personal point of view, money is important because it makes one independent, self sufficient, and sustainable. When you are economically independent, your decisions are not biased nor dependent on other's mindset or actions. Your decisions would be based on your own freedom and sustainability.


What is your money strategy?

I am very strict with my savings. I always make sure I have a portion saved and ready for a rainy day. What works for me is having a non-negotiable sum of money sat aside every time I receive my direct deposit in my account. This sum gets immediately transferred to a savings account. This way, I forget this money exists and try to take my expenses out of a checking account. It is a great strategy to have two separate accounts - one checking and one savings. Multiple savings accounts can help you organize your thoughts and goals, and save a certain percentage towards a goal.


Additionally, and this might not be for everyone, I am trying to expand my savings through investing. I have opened a brokerage account to start trading equities and invest in the stock market. I am still learning, and I want to get more confident in this field due to all the great success stories.


(How) do you think Instagram affects our consumer behaviour and spending?

Instagram affects our consumer behavior in very astute ways. Instagram and social media overall are great ways to promote experiences and products due to its inexpensive and accessible nature. People who use Instagram to promote or share experiences and products find ways for consumers to see other people using these products or undergoing these experiences, and creates an idea of euphoria and comparison. A great example is the travel industry.  We can see how much Instagram and social media overall have helped the travel industry boom in sales. Although correlation does not equal causation, we can see a trend in increasing travels among Instagram users throughout recent years. Instagram affects our consumer behavior by making experiences accessible. From a business perspective, Instagram a way of exposing your product targeting specific demographics and at fraction of the cost of traditional media marketing. 


What's the most important thing you've learned from your mum?

One thing I learned from my mother was to be organized. My mother (and my father too) was in the United States Army where she learned discipline, organization, and respect. Organization in your life is key to being able to execute your plans. Discipline is the ability to control your actions to dedicate yourself to your goals. I also learned great culinary tricks from her, especially how to season rice and different meats. I have made a compilation of my mother's tips and my international friends' home country foods and wrote a book of international cuisines which will be published in early 2020. Working on this book has taken discipline and organizational skills, both which I've learned from my parents.