Living in YOUR Top 1% INTERVIEW SERIES
The goal of the “Top 1%er” interview series is to break down the qualities of people who excel and to show that you can be successful and achieve personal greatness from any starting point in your life. The interview series looks at people from all different careers and industries. Some names will be familiar and others may not. The purpose is to understand and borrow from the “best practices” of winners to develop a roadmap to your TOP 1%. We will share a new story each month.
This week’s guest is Karen Finerman. I wanted to include Karen (yes, we are first cousins) in my top 1%er series because she is an amazing example of a woman who is highly respected in the financial industry and maintains a very full life. Karen is the CEO of Metropolitan Capital, a value oriented hedge fund founded in 1992. She serves on the board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation and on the board of the Montefiore Hospital where she is the only women who serves on their investment committee. She is also a regular panelist on CNBC’s Fast Money. Karen was on the US Banker’s list of the 25 most powerful women in finance. Most importantly, Karen is down to earth and a quality person. She lives in NYC with her husband and four children.
Alissa Finerman: What’s the most important strength you possess that allows you to be successful in your role?
Karen Finerman: My most important strength is recognizing that I can always improve and learn more. It applies to every aspect of my life: as an investor, a TV panelist, a wife, mother, friend, etc.
AF: How do you define success?
KF: For me, success is about continually improving in any endeavor whether it involves investing, parenting, or being a better person. I read a lot and like to have at least one new book on my Kindle about investing, parenting, and self improvement every week. If I can learn one thing from each book and put it into practice, then I’m happy.
Successful moments to me include having a good interaction with my kids and helping them become better people, being in the moment since I always have so much going on, and finding companies that are undervalued. I try to always remember not to compare myself to others because it’s a waste of time and energy. It’s important to be mindful that we each have our own process.
AF: What inspired you to start your own money management firm?
KF: My mother inspired me to be financially independent, but she never said how. Money management seemed a good way to do it.
AF: You have a lot on your plate, how do you maintain balance in your life?
KF: Balance is really important and really difficult. You have to pick your spots. Every single thing can’t be the most important each day. But you really have to be present in the activity you’re focusing on. If you’re at work but thinking you should be at home with your kids and that makes you ineffective at work, then you not setting yourself up for success. For me, I have to be physically and mentally in the place I need to be, that means never working from home, or not helping my kids with their homework while I’m at work. When I’m on the air, I’m on the air. Also, my husband is extremely involved and incredibly organized. I can’t emphasis enough how important he is to making the whole thing work.
AF: What motivates you on a daily basis to keep going?
KF: The thing that motivates me on a daily basis is knowing that I can improve and reaching my potential.
AF: What role do goals play in your life? Tell us a few words about your
goal setting process?
KF: Goals are incredibly important — if you don’t know where you are going, how can you possibly get there? I try to have long range goals, but I also continually calibrate my short term goals. It’s very productive to break it down and say what can I get done today or this week. The more you clearly articulate, literally by just writing it down, the more you can get done.
AF: How big of a role does mindset play in reaching one’s highest
KF: We can accomplish so much more than we do if we would just focus our energies in a positive way to constantly move toward where we want to be. The key is to know where you want to be. Sometimes, we think we know want we want only to find out later we were wrong. And that’s part of the process!
AF: What are some of your most meaningful accomplishments?
KF: My most meaningful accomplishment will hopefully be to bring four healthy, responsible, energized people into adulthood (my children). Any mother thinks that. I also want to inspire women to take control of their lives by being financially independent: to recognize they are in control and not to surrender that control to someone else because it’s easier, less scary, more romantic or to fall prey to some other misconception.
AF: What do the top performers do differently to excel?
KF: Top performers are different: it’s that single-minded, relentless focus. It’s about perseverance no matter what the challenges, the eyes are always on the prize, and no obstacle pushes that prize out of sight or mind. For the top, top performers, it’s full steam ahead.
The “Living in YOUR Top 1%” interview series is presented by Alissa Finerman, an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Brookfield Property Partners, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Dress for Success. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook