After my husband died suddenly, and tragically, from a very rare illness, eight weeks after giving birth to my second child, I realized I had to set out on a new path. A path that I would forever claim as mine and mine alone — and for which there was no precedent or roadmap in my own personal life. After much soul-searching and as I reflected on the lessons I had learned, something came very clear to me.
With the recent killing of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter protests as well as the onslaught of COVID-19 globally, it has become more apparent than ever that we need a new paradigm — one based on holistic wealth for all. Despite advances, certain groups still struggle to have basic access to human rights and dignity, and they face systemic barriers prevent the accumulation of wealth. What this means is that Black and Brown people essentially struggle (or have been prevented in many cases) from living a holistically wealthy lifestyle.
Amidst a global pandemic and growing research which suggests women are severely affected by COVID-19, it's an opportunity to make big strides in our effort to address larger societal issues such as equality and justice, reproductive rights, poverty and domestic issues like financial abuse, as well as income security and retirement. It is estimated that 46% of women are "not too confident" or "not at all confident" about their ability to live comfortably after retirement, compared to only 31% of men who feel that way.
Holistic wealth is about creating the circumstances in your life that allows you to be resilient and resourceful. I love these two words – because they embody what I want for all women – the ability to bounce back from life-altering setbacks and the ability to create and leverage resources to be financially independent. In my new book Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness, there's a whole section of the book filled with advice on how to achieve financial freedom.
Melissa "MJ" Jacques is the Director of Human Resources at Mustache Agency, a Brooklyn-based full-service creative content agency. Since joining Mustache in 2019, MJ has spearheaded Mustache's first-ever intern program, "Content-oisseurs," and promoted various internal and external diversity, inclusion, and company culture events that have bonded Mustachers. More specifically, MJ created Lunch and Learns focused on embracing Black History Month and Pride, as well as supported black-owned businesses for event specific needs. Additionally, MJ has established relationships with various companies with aligned missions, partnered with Sparked for multiple agency networking events (with diversity at the forefront of recruiting), and worked with Cutter for women-driven screenwriting and networking events.
Dr. Mary Beth Wilkas Janke is a former United States Secret Service Agent and current consultant in the fields of forensic and clinical psychology and professor at George Washington University, where she teaches Abnormal Psychology and the Psychology of Crime and Violence. Mary Beth holds a Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology, a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. She is also the author of " The Protector: A Woman's Journey from the Secret Service to Guarding VIPs and Working in Some of the World's Most Dangerous Places"
Aji Oliyide is a Senior Program Manager at Google who has worked on a number of projects related to product launches, and mergers and acquisitions. Aji sits on the board of directors for San Francisco CASA, a San Francisco non-profit devoted to supporting youth in the foster care system. In addition to board service, she enjoys volunteering and travelling. In 2011, she traveled to Nepal to participate in a charity trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp resulting in over $5,000 personally raised for a local Nepalese non-profit. In her spare time, Aji explores her creative side through her blog (Pivot Points) and her podcast Eat.Plank.Live. Her blog is focused on sharing insights from the decisions and events in people's lives that have influenced their path and how they interact with the world. Her podcast focuses on the role that food and fitness plays in our lives and is now live on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher. Aji holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and an MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.