Being a girl boss in a male-dominated world


girl boss rules“I’m a feminist. I’ve been a female for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side.”  — Dr. Maya Angelou


One of the questions that I get asked pretty frequently is what it is like to be a woman in a male-dominated field. Business schools, and in particular, finance departments are not a place where you find a lot of women. If you are looking for female mentors and a bunch of girlfriends at work, you are probably going to be disappointed. That has never bothered me. Actually, I rarely look around and even notice that I am the only woman in the office.


I was raised by a strong single mother who taught me to be strong and independent as well. I always believed that I could do whatever I wanted to do. I enjoyed playing with G.I. Joe and Matchbox cards as much as I liked dolls. I was good at science, so I was encouraged to consider that as a career option. I went to programs for women in science and leadership for women. Even then, I didn’t really think that being a woman was anything that should hold me back or that I would not be accepted.


So, I went on to get my undergraduate degree in geophysics. I was the only girl in the major and so was often the only girl in class. I noticed, but I was “one of the guys”. I was just part of the group and again it never crossed my mind that it should not be that way. The same thing happened when I decided to join Army ROTC. As soon as people saw what I could do, being a girl did not matter.


Things are a little different these days. Yes, I sometimes encounter older men who don’t think I belong where I am. Still, I’m not the kind of feminist who thinks that she really needs a squad of women yelling about being treated fair and equal. I don’t automatically support another woman for any job because there is an unwritten “girl oath”. If I did that, wouldn’t I be guilty of the same thing that we claim the men are guilty of doing? My brand of feminism involves being the best you can be, working smarter than everyone else, and not standing for less than you deserve. I don’t want to be singled out and treated differently because I am a woman, a redhead, or any other classification. I want to be singled out because I am good at my job. Then, if that is not rewarded, I’ll find another place to work where it is. Women should support each other, but your support system does not have to be other women. Find people who see your worth and want to encourage your career development. When you carry yourself as an equal, others start to see you that way too. Now get out there and go take the world by storm, fellow girl boss.
student loan debt

Stressed out about student loans? These cities will pay them.

student loan debt
Recently I was reading an article that said that there are places in the United States that want you to live there so badly that they are willing to pay your student loans for you. My first thought was, “I am so out of here!” My second thought was that there had to be a catch. So, I thought I’d do some research and give you the real scoop.


Kansas does have a program that will pay your student loans in exchange for your moving to specific counties designated as Rural Opportunity Zones.


How much they pay: New full-time residents can have up to $15,000 in student loans repaid by the state of Kansas.


How to qualify: Establish residency after July 1, 2011 in one of 77 counties in Kansas designated as Rural Opportunity Zones, have student loan debt, and have completed an associates, bachelors, or post-graduate degree.


Drawbacks: You have to become a full-time resident in rural area of Kansas. Some people may see that as a drawback because employment opportunities may be limited. It could be a great opportunity for telecommuters, freelancers, and anyone looking to start a new business.


For more information:


Niagara Falls, New York


 Like many cities across the United States, Niagara Falls wants to revitalize its empty downtown area. They came up with a  unique plan to encourage young college graduates to move in to downtown residences.


How much do they pay: Residents can receive awards of up to $7000 from the city of Niagara Falls.


How to qualify: Have student loan debt after completing an associates or bachelors degree and be willing to move to a designated area of downtown Niagara Falls, New York.


Drawbacks: Live NF was only set up to fund 20 new resident scholarships. Most of those have already been given out, so there may not be any more available funds for new residents.


For more information: (the site is currently down, which may not be a good sign about the viability of this program)


Saskatchewan, Canada

If you don’t mind moving to Canada, Saskatchewan also has a student loan repayment incentive for new residents. Although the program used to give residents money to repay their loans, the overwhelming success resulted in changes being made in early 2015. They do, however, continue to offer loan forgiveness to nursing graduates working in remote, rural areas.


How much do they pay: Saskatchewan’s Graduate Retention Program gives residents a tax credit of up to $20,000 over ten years.


How to qualify: Loans from both U.S. and Canadian universities are eligible for this program, but you will have to be moving to Saskatchewan and file income taxes there in order to qualify.


Drawbacks: Moving out of the United States and getting a job in Saskatchewan.


Would you consider moving if it meant getting help with your student loans? If you would, here are a few more things to consider:

1. Make sure you understand the details of the contract.
2. Make sure your loans qualify under the specific program.
3. Check to see if there is anything you need to do before moving.
4. Look at the employment options in the area.