In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting women’s achievements throughout the month of March. The women’s history theme for 2023 is, “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” With this in mind, we are taking time to celebrate and recognize the stories of some of our own women leaders at Longbridge Financial.
In this latest installment of our “Ladies Who Lead” series, we met with Kelsey Sinel, Longbridge Wholesale Manager, to discuss her own experiences, women who have had an impact on her life, and her advice to other women.
Q: What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
A: To me, Women’s History Month is the perfect time to take a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come. The first thing that comes to my mind are the big-league players like Rosa Parks and Helen Keller. This is nice reminder that even though our impact is on a much smaller scale, there is still great impact in what we do and it’s important to recognize and celebrate it.
Q: How could you contribute your wisdom, expertise, or ideas to empower other women?
A: I do my best to lead by example and show the women around me that anything is possible if you’re willing to work for it. I empower those around me to speak up when they have a contribution or a new idea, do my best to always show grace and patience, and remember that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as we learn from them. I have an “open door” policy and strive to make sure everyone knows they can always come to me for support, and I will meet them with respect and honesty.
Q: How does Longbridge set a culture of equality and inclusivity?
A: Longbridge and its senior leadership team recognize hard work and meaningful contributions, no matter who you are or where you’ve come from. I feel heard when I speak and supported during difficult times, and I believe the same goes for many our team members. We don’t treat each other differently based on role, gender, race, or any of our other unique characteristics. We are all humans working together to make a difference!
Q: Who is your female role model?
A: I am lucky to have had several of strong female figures guide me throughout my life, but I’ll share two today. My mom is one of the most calm, compassionate, and loving people I’ve ever met. Simply being with her reminds me to slow down, embrace the little moments, and be empathetic to those around me. She went to nursing school when my brother and I were young, and I can’t remember one time during all those years that she showed us anything but love and compassion. She would study at night while we were asleep, go to school during the day, and still somehow make it to every school function, sporting event, and birthday party with a smile on her face.
My aunt is another person I look up to. When I was a teenager, she gave me my first job working in the office at the auto repair business she owned. I remember when my first week came to an end, she took out the checkbook and told me to write my paycheck for the week. I was stunned and confused. She explained to me that it was important to understand how much my work was worth. We discussed what I had contributed during the week and moments where I could have done better. That was just one of the many lessons I learned from her as I watched her continue to be a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman. She taught me how to stand up for myself and my values, how to be both respectful and respected, and the importance of thinking before I speak.
Q: What is one piece of advice to all women who are juggling between home and work?
A: The best piece of advice I can offer is to set healthy boundaries that work for you and stick to them. It may be uncomfortable at first, so start small and work towards something bigger. If you need to, set a reminder to stand up, eat lunch, stretch, or go for a quick walk. Remind yourself that it’s okay to prioritize yourself; the better you feel, the more productive and successful you will be.
Q: What advice would you give women struggling in a male-dominated industry?
A: Are we in a male-dominated industry?! Watch out world…
Q: How can women find mentors?
A: Look to those around you. Who inspires you? Who do you trust? Who can you lean on when times are tough? My mentors have come into my life organically, most recently through joining Longbridge two years ago. My manager, Theresa, was a mentor I didn’t know I needed. She is leads by example and I know I can rely on her whenever I need advice or support.
Q: What do you think helped you get so far in your career?
A: Simply stated, work ethic. Growing up, both of my parents were always working on something. At one point, my dad was working three jobs to support our family. I learned the value of hard work at a young age and once I set my sights on a goal, I do everything I can to achieve it. I have always been surrounded by people who go after what they want. Seeing their success inspires me to keep going.
Q: Do you believe you have achieved everything you wanted to?
A: Never. I believe there is always more to learn and more to experience. And the more you experience, the more you learn!
Q: What would you say to your 20-year-old self?
A: Focus on what you’ll remember in 5, 10, 15 years and so on. As a young woman, 5, 10, 15 years seems like an eternity, but it will be here before you know it. Slow down, enjoy your time, and stay true to your values. You are everything you need to be in this exact moment.
Kelsey also shared this quote with us:
Women are like teabags. We don’t know our own strength until we are in hot water!” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Thank you, Kelsey, for sharing your story and being an outstanding role model!
About Women’s History Month
Celebrated annually throughout the month of March, Women’s History Month dates back to 1981 when Congress authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982, as “Women’s History Week.” It wasn’t until 1987 that, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Alliance (NWHA), Congress and the President proclaimed March as Women’s History Month.
Since then, presidents have annually proclaimed the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” This recognition honors the contributions and achievements women have made throughout American history.
The women’s history theme for 2023 declared by NWHA is, “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” To learn more about Women’s History Month and this year’s theme, visit https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org.