V11. The Collective (of Us): BOLD Broads *Georgia Lee Hussey of Modernist Financial*

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Bold Broads highlights women founders and creative [read: BADASS] small business owners about how they really deal with the ups and downs of running a BOLD business. These women share honest wisdom and tough lessons to support you in collectively making good shit happen in your own women-led startup or small business. Meet Georgia Lee Hussey, founder of Modernist Financial. Modernist Financial was built on a foundation of creativity and collaboration, as a place where families and business owners become educated and empowered around money through the process of financial planning.

Let's meet her, shall we? 

1. STARTING A BUSINESS IS HARD AND SOMETIMES LONELY. WHAT THE F*CK MOTIVATED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

I spent several years working for other companies, frustrated by the financial industry’s ineffectual service and self-serving nature. I was under the mistaken assumption that I needed the protection and guidance of these paternalistic institutional structures in order to be successful. I finally grew so frustrated that I realized I had to start my own company because I didn’t see anyone else who had my particular vision or the wherewithal to pull it off.

I was also deeply motivated by my desire to serve my people; people who live their lives boldly in service of their creative talents (academics, scientists, designers, entrepreneurs), people of every gender and hue.  The financial industry thinks women are a niche, they barely acknowledge LGBT people, and they dismiss creatives as being broke. My horror at the paternalism eventually morphed into our vision for Modernist, a new wealth management business model for HNW creative inheritors, entrepreneurs and retirees.

2. HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED TO KEEP THRIVING IN A CREATIVE SPACE WHERE EVERYONE SEEMS TO ONE-UP EACH OTHER?

I’ve worked very hard to create a work environment that values intellectual and emotional input.  I don’t tolerate one-up-manship at Modernist.  Within the financial industry, I just keep my head down.  Most of the one-upping folks don’t work hard enough to talk so much smack, anyway.

3. SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES ARE OFTEN QUIETLY SUPPORTED BY A COLLECTIVE OF WOMEN MENTORS, FRIENDS AND BUSINESS OWNERS. WHAT COMMUNITIES AND RESOURCES HAVE BEEN MOST PIVOTAL TO YOUR OWN BUSINESS SUCCESS?

It’s important to gather super smart, kickass people around me. I’m a member of several organizations that support my growth here in Portland, including a women’s mentorship roundtable, professional organizations like Entrepreneurs Organization, and my Sarah Lawrence alumni community.  Some of these organizations are all women, most aren’t because I deeply value the men I know who balance yin and yang energies.  Plus, I have the close friends and allies I’ve gathered along the way. I entertain a lot, in the office and at home.

4. NO BULLSH*T; WHAT'S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS? AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT; HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO OVERCOME THIS?

Learning to ask for business and handling rejection is hard for me.  

Know thyself is my mantra in business and in life, so I spend a lot of my time and money on therapy (personal and couples) as well as meditation and retreats.  Practically speaking, for making asks, I script my conversations and practice over-and-over-again with my team.

I UNAPOLOGETICALLY OWN MY BOLD BROAD BADASSERY BECAUSE...

We are steering Modernist to eventually become a firm that serves the entire income spectrum. Currently, we’ve leveraged the intellectual property we’ve developed in our wealth management model to provide pro bono services via Portland non-profit partners. We will eventually extend this pro bono model to provide a low-cost, behavioral change focused, financial planning model for people who are underserved by the financial industry, whether they be young or in mid-life, women or men.

We also think it is important for people who have the privilege of great wealth to actively move beyond cultural and generational shame in order to use their wealth as a tool to make our community a more equitable place for everyone.  This can be through social venture projects, philanthropy, and having deep conversations with their friends and family about defining the responsibility of wealth in a culture rife with income inequality.

We envision a financial firm that combines the ideals of conscious capitalism (why we’re a B Corp) with our industry’s leading ideas that put the client first (like financial life planning, passive investments, fee-only, and the fiduciary standard).

BOLD BROAD BONUS***FAVE APP?

ScheduleOnce - It automates a lot of my schedule, meeting reminders, networking coffees and walk, etc., which saves me and my staff a lot of time.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Georgia built Modernist Financial on a foundation of creativity and collaboration, as a place where families and business owners become educated and empowered around money through the process of financial planning. Modernist is a home for their staff, clients and community — it affords us all the freedom to think bigger, smarter, and more colorfully; to feel ease and support; to enjoy beauty and art.