5 ways to take control of your money🎙

It’s hard to be a beginner again – especially when you’re used to being an expert. The good news is that money is much more straightforward than you might think. Like the best games, financial skills are easy to learn and almost impossible to master, and no one (not even world-famous investors) always gets it right. You can comfortably leave your need for perfection at the door. 

Regardless of your starting point, taking *back* control of your money is important – it’s one of the most powerful tools you have to build your life (and your career!) on your terms. This week, we chat about all things finance over on episode 6 of PowrUp, and this is your cheat sheet for putting our words into action: 

Understand your money mindset 

Have you bowed out of money so far? So have many women. Money myths occupy rent-free space in our heads (we’ve covered a few of them here). The first step to taking control is to take note of our internal money dialogues and recognise how they shaped our attitude towards it. 

What’s your first money memory? How did your childhood shape your financial confidence today? Pay attention whenever anything money-related crosses your mind – from simmering stress about upcoming bills or rising interest rates to sticker shock when grocery shopping. We think about money way more than we might expect, and our life experiences can contribute to feeling out of control. Find a trusted friend and share your money narrative. They’ll have their own story – it may be time to co-create a new one. 

Embrace the basics

There is now a world of books, podcasts and courses designed by people like you, for people like you (and many of them have a template letter to ask for a professional development budget). Check out Ellevest’s newsletter, The Curve, Frances Cook, She’s on the Money, Girls that Invest, or Hatch’s free Getting Started Course. You’ll be surprised how quickly you find patterns in the information – just a handful of simple concepts underpin good money habits. 

If your workplace offers EAP from a provider like Clearhead, you might also be entitled to free financial advice. 

Demand your worth

Do you know the market value of your position? There are several ways to search your local job market for your salary benchmark with the likes of Hays (Australia and NZ), Robert Walters (Global) and Glassdoor (Global),

You know the saying, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. And women aren’t asking! It’s time to negotiate your salary: head to PowrUp’s ep 1 on salary negotiation. We’ve got you covered. 🤗 

Build financial resilience

Yes, we love to focus on the upside, and we can because we protect the downside. And that means getting a financial safety net in place. Do you have an emergency fund? Setting money aside can make a big difference if things go wrong. Start small and build! Open a savings account and start contributing a fixed amount every payday. As the balance increases, notice your stress levels decrease. 💪

Insurance is probably everyone’s least favourite bill, but it is an important part of your financial safety net. You have people and things that need protection, so protect them! Google ‘do I need insurance’ as a start.

Put your money to work

Is your money working as hard as you are? Thankfully with investing, you can learn by doing. Women have all the right attributes to be great investors. No time for a new hobby? No problem, keep it simple!

Many of us ignore our retirement funds. While that can be a good thing, there are some hygiene factors you really should be across. It’s worth comparing providers, checking your contributions, and ensuring you’re in the right fund. Small actions now can have a massive impact on the amount you have later. A *massive* impact. 

All sorted there? Consider the next step: investing in a few broad-based funds on your local investment platform. You don’t have to be an expert; start small, and you’ll feel fantastic about yourself (and maybe even get addicted?). 

Want more money talk?

On episode 6 of PowrUp, we chat about all things money, finances and taking control. Listen now:

5 simple ways to learn by doing 🎙️

We’re all familiar with the research: as women, we are less likely to put ourselves forward for promotions. We expect to know the whole job before starting (and undersell what we already know!). Our comfort zones are, well, comfy. The unknown? Not so much. 

The power of ‘yes’ 📣

You know the thing you’ve been holding yourself back from? It’s time to say ‘yes’ to it. The latest PowrUp episode challenges you to challenge your fears and GO FOR IT – take the risk opportunity and back yourself.  

It’s like riding a bike 🚴

Remember when you first rode a bike (or learned to swim, climb, and tie your laces…). You probably watched others, got some advice, mastered trial and error – and did all of this as a five-year-old! Yes, you’re already an expert at learning while doing; you already know how to problem-solve your way to success. You’ve mastered the ability to digest information, put it into practice, reflect and analyse, and then give it another go (*rinse and repeat*). 

You’ve heard the term, ‘fake it ’till you make it’? We prefer ‘you got this; it’s ok to learn while doing’. Here are five ways to back yourself to do it:

1. Act with confidence

From superhero poses to documenting your successful track record, there are lots of hacks to boost your confidence. However, researchers have found that the fastest way to build confidence is to make the choice to have it

2. Focus on the fundamentals

You don’t have to get a PhD on every subject, a broad understanding of lots of things is a superpower in itself. When tackling something new, identify the most critical elements of the role/task/skill – and just focus on those. Managing people for the first time? Master the 1:1 meeting before perfecting the art of delegation. 

3. Talk to people who’ve done it

Look through your network (and the networks of your network), and identify a few people that have ‘been there, done that’. You don’t always need to get a formal mentor, sometimes, coffees with a handful of experienced people will give you everything you need to know about how to master the new role/skill/task. 

4. University of Google

Between Medium, Reddit, Linkedin, businesses and experts who openly share their expertise – the internet has you covered. Want to learn how to ‘successfully manage a project’? The 1.3 billion results on Google are there to support your efforts. ‘How to budget and forecast’? 152 million results. You’ll be amazed at how much you can digest in 2-3 hours of focused research. 

5. Hone your observation skills

Be the most curious person in the room. During meetings, focus on who’s leading well and why. While at events, analyse the speakers to understand who is nailing body language and delivery. Witness someone diffuse a challenging situation? Spot a person with effortless networking skills? Observe and apply. Eventually the skills you mimic will become your own.

Take action

You know when you’re faced with an interesting opportunity, you can feel it in your gut. Next time one is presented to you (no matter how small it is), practise taking action. If things work out, you’ve learned you can do more than you thought. If they don’t? You now know you can handle more than you think. 

Want more examples, insights and tips?

On episode 5 of PowrUp, we share our stories of saying yes to the unknown, and how we built self-believe through three simple tools. Listen now

Feedback is a gift, here’s how to give it with grace

For many of us, the only thing worse than receiving critical feedback is giving it. It doesn’t feel good to make someone else feel bad – and even worse? The Pandora’s Box of potential responses. Most of us have delivered feedback poorly – or given it well only to have a negative situation escalate. When tensions are high, the prospect of making a situation worse can be enough to convince smart people to stay silent. 

Silent, maybe, but not subtle. Our body language and behaviour always deliver feedback, even when our tongues are tied (or wagging in the wrong directions). In our attempts to avoid ‘confrontation’, women often turn to far more toxic tools like passive aggression or talking about people instead of to them. Guilty? Join the club. But the next time you catch yourself moaning about someone, why not try feedback instead?

Feedback is a gift that helps people succeed 

Fear of feedback means we fail to see it for what it really is: a powerful leadership tool. At Hatch, we used it to create a culture of radical collaboration. One of the reasons Powrsuit even exists is because of a piece of feedback between us; the internal processor told the external processor (we’ll let you guess who’s who 😉) she needed more time to digest information. Left unaddressed, these different styles would have led to miscommunications and resentment. Instead? The feedback established a foundation of mutual respect and trust lasting two startups and half a decade. 

A dish best served warm

Embedding feedback into a workplace culture takes time and is not always a smooth road. At Hatch, we hired a lot of people quickly, and many of them had never received quality feedback about their work before. They walked into an environment that was so comfortable with feedback it was given liberally, regularly, and without much of the structure, we now recommend. You can guess how well that went 🫣.

Initially, we were met with every adverse reaction you can imagine. It felt awful. But we took that feedback on board and iterated our approach. Over time, our team started actively seeking input from us and one another; they didn’t just endure it; they enjoyed it. And that’s the trick with feedback. It’s a trust-building exercise that can be built through trial and error and adopting tiny habits. The more (clear, kind) feedback we give and adapt to the feedback we receive, the more it becomes a beloved part of workplace culture. 

Clear is kind: how to give critical feedback without fear

We shouldn’t be afraid of feedback, but we should respect the importance of doing it right. All feedback should be specific, regular and timely. The positive stuff should be doled out like candy in public – people are amazing, and their talent should be celebrated. Critical feedback, however? It’s always a private conversation. Found a quiet spot? Here are five tips for delivering it in a way that builds bridges instead of burning them. 

1. Swap feelings for facts

The first rule of feedback is to assume the best intentions or, better yet, avoid assumptions altogether. Apply the disconnect principle; you know there’s a disconnect between what you expected and what happened – but that’s all you know. You don’t understand why someone delivered a substandard report, failed to send an email, or sat silently in a meeting. Any explanation at this stage is a story you’re telling yourself – one that will likely cause you to put feelings before facts.

2. Listen first

Once you’ve psyched yourself up to deliver feedback, it’s all too easy to dive straight into it. That is the wrong thing to do (yes, we learned this one the hard way!). People react to a negative interaction with their boss six times more strongly than a positive one. Most people are also aware when something isn’t going well. You can avoid much pain by simply asking about the situation first. Be curious, listen to understand, and prepare to be surprised by what you learn.

3. Ask for permission

If you agree with their perspective, you can avoid giving feedback altogether. Feel free to clarify anything or end the conversation there. If you disagree? Ask permission to share your perspective by saying something like, ‘I want you to succeed, so I’d like to give you some feedback. Is that ok?’. Instead of feeling blindsided, the other person can gather themselves and opt-in. 

4. Describe behaviours, not personalities

Remember the internal and external processor example above? That feedback could have been given entirely differently – e.g.’ you’re too dominant’ VS ‘I need a bit more time to digest’. Spot the difference? One assumes a personality problem, and the other focuses on a behaviour that isn’t working. No one should be expected to change who they are, but most of us are happy to adapt if given clear examples of what’s not working and how it impacts others: “When you interrupted me while I was explaining my point, it felt like my opinion wasn’t valued”, and “When you arrived late to the call, it meant we couldn’t complete the agenda”. No one loves hearing it, but critical feedback is far easier to swallow when it’s delivered tactfully.

5. Share the load

The purpose of feedback is to help someone or something improve, and it’s just the first step. When you give feedback, you’re volunteering for a spot on the solution committee, and you need to take that role seriously. The immediate next step is to check if the other person agrees with you by asking questions like “does that feel like a fair representation?”. Remember, this is a joint problem-solving exercise, so once you’re on the same page, agree on the next steps. These could be anything from taking a few days to reflect to agreeing to solutions. Regardless of the plan, it’s your responsibility to check in again and talk about how things are going. Hopefully, the next conversation will be pure positivity.

30 second action:

Give positive feedback! When you spot someone doing something you appreciate today, tell them in the moment. Timely, specific feedback can be actioned in under 30 seconds and should be practised regularly.

How to be your own hype girl: The art of self-promotion

Do you suffer from FOIY (Fear Of Introducing Yourself)? Ok, the acronym isn’t a thing, but the fear really is. We’ve all been there, that moment when someone asks, “so, what do you do?”. Cue: a mind as blank as the faces that turn to stare at you.

Before your brain starts dishing out excuses for your inability to articulate your value: No, it’s not bragging. No, your work alone won’t prove your worth. Yes, you do have something important to say. Yes, people will think you’re more interesting if you (succinctly) tell them why they should.

Thanks to ‘likeability bias’, women are less likely to promote themselves. We expect men to be assertive; it feels natural when they partake in self-promotion – but when we try it on for size? It doesn’t quite fit. We are socialised to be kind, amiable, and pleasant. Those of us who stray too far from these delightful adjectives are labelled with even better ones like ‘passionate’, ‘intense’, ‘loud’, or ‘aggressive’. *wince*

In a classic catch-22, our lack of self-promotion is also responsible for the perception that we are less ambitious and decisive than our male counterparts. When we don’t articulate our value, we lose out on promotions, raises, and investor backing. Less than 2% of venture capital funding went to all-female founding teams in 2021. Yep, more bias.  

Your work may be excellent, but it’ll never be excellent enough to speak for itself

Systemic bias feels like a big topic to tackle, but hey, why not? Women have successfully changed hearts and minds regarding marathons, elections and credit cards; compared to that list, likeability seems an easy win. Just like the leaders before us, we have the opportunity to rewrite the self-promotion playbook and make it work for us. Unlike many of them, we can do without fearing anything but failure. So, put on your powrsuit because it’s time to sell like a girl:

LinkedIn: yes, we still hang there

LinkedIn can be a toxic mess of self-aggrandising and #BoastPosts. However, ‘quirks’ aside, it’s is a great place to build a profile (and following) by sharing relevant news or a recent experience – personal or professional. Put simply: it’s a must for personal brand management.

Like most platforms, LinkedIn is just a blank canvas – people make it what it is. Your future community are scrolling through their feeds, looking for inspiration and information. These people can help you get where you want to go, so tell them what you’ve done! Authentically share your successes and stories. Be visible, be genuine, be you. Let’s add some Big Female Energy to LinkedIn.

Powrsuiters showing us the way are Anna Parker, Candyce Costa and Samantha Gadd.

Rehearse your elevator pitch

People are busy; they want to understand who you are (and why they should care) in under 60 seconds. An elevator pitch captures what makes you uniquely you – and hints at what you can offer. 

Don’t have a pitch yet? It’s key to building networks (we know you’re networking now!). Think of it as a ‘short and sweet’ description of who you are, what you do, and what you’re working on. Once you have yours down, you can roll out a variation of it in any situation (cue: nodding heads and smiles). Kristen is the PowrPitchTM  master, so we’ve broken down her five components to provide a template for yours:

  1. Intro: Hi, I’m [your name here].
  2. One liner: I’m a [journalist, connector, problem solver, leader].
  3. Superpower: I get out of bed to [grow startups, simplify complex challenges].
  4. Evidence: Recently, I have [delivered an incredible project, solved a problem, or achieved a thing].
  5. Ask (optional): Right now, I’m looking to [find a new job, launch a new business, learn a new skill, meet new people].

Put it together and keep it short, sweet and conversational. You have our permission to switch up words and make it your own, but keep from going over 60 seconds. Struggling? Nail your superpower by asking friends and colleagues what they rely on you for. Make sure you also keep a running list of 2-3 success stories you’re proud of, polish them all and switch up your evidence depending on the situation.

You can (and should) be proud and excited; people are genuinely interested in hearing about the cool things you’ve done. And practice makes perfect, so test your pitch on friends, family, and the people in the elevator beside you – it’ll take a few tries to get it down. With that in mind, Kristen and Nat have volunteered to share theirs:


Hi, I’m Kristen –  a leader in the startup space. Solving problems at scale is an incredible place to be. I was a co-founder at the investment platform Hatch, and we’re immensely proud of its impact on Kiwi wealth building. After we exited to FNZ, I caught the bug to start something new with my co-founder Nat. We’ve just launched Powrsuit, a platform for women to amplify their impact as leaders. We’re currently learning about where we can have the biggest impact.

Hey, I’m Nat – a serial founder with a mixed bag of successes. Most recently, I co-founded Hatch to change the wealth stories of New Zealanders. An epic four years later, Hatch was acquired by FNZ, and it was time for the next challenge. When we came up for air, the lack of progress in workplace gender equity was glaringly obvious, so Kristen, my co-founder and I started Powrsuit to solve the problem at scale. Powrsuit is a platform for women to amplify their impact as leaders. Right now, we’re working on our first product.

30 second action:

Write a list of personal and professional accomplishments over the past 12 months. This will help form your elevator pitch (and remind yourself how fabulous you are!). Mega bonus points: Deliver a practice elevator pitch to a friend or record/write it and send it to us (go on, do it, we shared ours!).

I have some feedback for you…

Have you ever spotted someone with spinach in their teeth and didn’t say anything? You’re not alone. A recent study showed that over 98% of people withhold feedback, even when there’s very little on the line – despite most of us wishing we received a lot more of it.

If you’re one of 63% of employees wanting more feedback, our bet is that your workmates are falling short because they’re deeply uncomfortable delivering it. We live in a knowledge economy, where communication, critical thinking, agility and problem-solving are essential skills. Yet, leaders rarely receive formal feedback training and are ill-prepared to provide it. Madness.

Meaningful feedback directly correlates with high performance, so it’s vital to seek it out – even if “I have some feedback for you” are the six most feared words in workplace vernacular. The biggest impact you can have on the amount you’re given is by focusing on how you receive it, so here’s how to turn on the tap:

1. Short-circuit your defensive instincts

Think of feedback as a gift. The giver doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, and your response will hugely impact whether they’ll give you that gift again. 

While we all recognise that feedback is helpful, fear of failure can cause our lizard brains to initiate fight, flight or freeze mode. Our amygdala can’t tell the difference between physical and psychological threats and will jump in to ‘save’ us by overriding our logical brains – leading to an irrational (and sometimes embarrassing) response. 

We’ve all been guilty of defensiveness when hearing something less than glowing about ourselves – especially if it hits a little too close to home. Fortunately, the best antidote is mindfulness. If you feel your heart rate rising, start by saying ‘thank you’, then pause, take a deep breath and pay attention to the physical changes in your body. This will give you those vital seconds to gather yourself and convey your appreciation (even if you don’t feel it yet!).

2. Listen to understand

We all think that we are good listeners, but research shows we only remember 25-50% of what we hear. When it comes to feedback, active listening is critical to understanding the message, not just what you assume it might be. Not convinced? Watch Couples Therapy.

It can be hard to rearrange your features into a ‘tell me more’ expression when someone has just delivered an emotional sucker punch. So try this tactic: repeat back the key points as you heard them. It’ll force your brain to focus on listening to understand instead of thinking about how you’ll respond.

While some can immediately respond to feedback in an elegant manner, most of us are safer sticking with questions to ensure we digest the detail. It’s ok to finish the conversation with, “Thanks for the feedback! I’m going to think about it a bit more and get back to you”. Then take the time to go for a walk, drink, or cry because this stuff is hard. 🫶

3. Create and share your action plan

Your actions after receiving feedback are an excellent opportunity to develop your leadership skills. Even if you wind up disregarding some points (and that’s ok, you don’t need to accept everything!), you’ll likely identify a few things you’re happy to work on.

Firstly, validate the feedback. Opinions are always valuable, but they’re sometimes inaccurate. When dealing with a sample size of one, consider going over the key points with some trusted colleagues. It might be tempting to share your emotional response, or shoulder tap people who dismiss the feedback, but resist that urge! 

Secondly, develop a short list of improvements and start implementing them. Begin with visible actions, so your colleagues benefit from the immediate effects – they’ll respect your commitment to improving yourself. 

Finally, thank the person who gave you the feedback and share your actions. There’s nothing like creating a positive feedback loop to inspire more of it. 

Join the conversation on LinkedIn

30 Second action

Before your next meeting, identify one attendee you trust to be honest. Share that you are trying to improve your meeting effectiveness and ask them to spot something you might be able to improve. Put into practice what you’ve just learned about receiving feedback!

5 communication lessons from Queen of Pop, Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi, an Indian-born American businesswoman and one of the world’s most popular leaders, took PepsiCo’s top spot in 2006. The architect of Performance with Purpose, Nooyi transformed the company over 12 years – delivering 80% growth alongside pioneering strategies to improve the company’s impact on people and the planet.

Now retired, Nooyi is committed to helping other women reach their full leadership potential. She’s penned several books, released a MasterClass and shared countless lessons on climbing the corporate ladder. She attributes her immense success to a single ‘hip pocket’ skill: her ability to communicate complex problems succinctly and clearly. Supporting the theory that failure is a prerequisite for success, this superpower came out of a super flunk – Nooyi didn’t pass Yale’s communication course the first time. It was only during her second attempt that Nooyi learned the value of excellent communication and started honing the skills that became her biggest professional asset. We’ve bottled her lessons from numerous interviews to give you the cheat sheet:

1. Be ultra-prepared

It sounds counterintuitive, but Nooyi believes it’s nearly impossible to simplify information unless you deeply understand the topic. By being the best informed, Nooyi cleared her path to the top – making outsized contributions and gaining a reputation for being indispensable.

Before Nooyi made the tough decision to overhaul PepsiCo’s IT systems, she read 10 textbooks that spanned enterprise systems, process mapping, data warehousing, and data management (#yawn). While many leaders rely on advisors, she credits her often mind-numbing legwork with winning over sceptics and making better decisions. But preparation isn’t always boring – before a keynote speech to the Bowling Proprietors Association, newbie Nooyi boosted her credibility by knocking pins for a week.

2. Tailor messages to how people speak

Nooyi invests the effort required to craft simple, repeatable messages. Because human brains have trouble remembering lists of more than three or four items (we’re pushing it with 5!), she often condenses messages into succinct phrases.

When PepsiCo leaders wanted to coin their purpose-led strategy the “4 Ps: performance, product, planet, and people”, Nooyi disagreed. She wanted an impactful commitment, not fluffy PR jargon. “Performance with Purpose (PwP)” signalled the intent to take deliberate action to tackle rising health concerns and environmental issues. It was also memorable and repeatable – creating the intended movement.

3. Make it personal

Getting buy-in for change takes work, especially when things are going well. What is the best way to do it? Nooyi believes in making it personal.

After identifying industry-changing megatrends, such as a shift toward healthier eating and drinking, Nooyi knew PepsiCo needed to respond – but there was internal resistance to changing successful product lines. To get buy-in, “every part of the transformation had to be framed in a story or experience they were facing”. She talked to her team about executives’ eating and drinking habits and told the story of her daughter’s birthday party guest who wasn’t allowed to drink Pepsi!

4. Thank people (and their parents!)

A genuine and thoughtful thank you goes a long way to strengthening connections and building trust.

When Nooyi became CEO, friends and family showered her mother with praise. Realising parents’ sacrifices to support their children, Nooyi embarked on an epic ‘thank you’ note writing campaign to the 400-odd parents of her direct reports. Anyone who has unexpectedly received a letter will be unsurprised by the overwhelming and far-reaching positive response.

5. Start with the conclusion.

Nooyi learned that simplifying communication starts with the conclusion (or recommendation). A big, surprise finale may sound exciting, but in an attention economy, your audience wants you to get to the point… Something to think about when crafting your next email reply!

Want more?

For more insights from this inspirational leader, follow Indra Nooyi on LinkedIn (we loved her Women’s Day article!)

30 SECOND ACTION

Next time you hear an acronym, jargon or a concept that you don’t understand, Google it. Bonus points if you email us what it means.

Why an action? Big change comes from tiny habits that stack up over time. Yesterday, you may have ignored a term you didn’t know, but today, you learned what it means. Tomorrow? You could take the lead and replace jargon with plain english.

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