My Story -
During the summer of 2008 I was sensing the intense need to dive deeper into finance. I had spent four years in home mortgages and had reached a plateau. My learning curve had flattened.
I had stepped into home mortgages with the ultimate goal of getting lending experience which I could later use in the microfinance field. Much of what I was learning in the housing industry was indeed a great stepping stone toward being effective in the microfinance space.
Yet, in my research, I was beginning to gather the importance of having a deeper finance basis to quickly escalate to levels of influence in the microfinance industry.
It was time to go right into the heart of the world of finance. I would dive head first into Manhattan.
I contacted my friends living in the city.
I booked my flight.
Then the market crashed. Three weeks before I was to arrive Manhattan was in utter chaos. All financial firms were either on an immediate hiring freeze or were even laying off highly qualified employees in droves.
Now was not the time to try my hand at a new career in the eye of the storm.
I resolved to go back to the drawing board.
Instead of going to New York City, I would stay right where I was, but I’d immediately begin planning my exit from the mortgage industry, leaping into the microfinance industry in South America.
I began lending loans to women in Cusco, Peru for every home loan I was originating in the states. Soon I had a nice size portfolio of loan recipients in Cusco.
My home loan clients were shared the news. They got behind me. Some even started lending themselves.
I dreamed about heading down to Cusco and meeting them all, hearing their stories, and expanding outward. On the ground floor I would make contacts, someday being able to bring groups of others down to meet those they’d been lending money through Kiva.org.
The research began. People learned of my interest and started sending me information, stories, and contacts.
Two years later the chips were beginning to fall into place. I would apply for the Kiva Fellowship and ask to be assigned to Cusco, Peru.
As life would have it, the final round of Kiva Fellow interviews was as far as I got with this initial attempt. They chose someone else.
I had to create my own microfinance experience.
A conversation with my manager about the my desire to go to South America to carry out microfinance work led to her recommendation I not quit my job at Bank of America but take a leave of absence for personal travel.
Brilliant! I’d no idea this was even possible. Companies support this?
I can return to a job after four months in South America during a shaky economy?
And have medical coverage while I’m gone? And have someone covering my desk to close loans still in my pipeline?
Things couldn’t have worked out better.
I contacted friends and friends of friends and soon booked my going and returning tickets.
Arrival to Curitiba, Brazil on February 2nd. Returning out of Bogota, Colombia on June 1st. I’d figure out the rest of the details on the ground floor.
Aside from a few minor traveling hiccups, which we all must expect, the entire experience went perfectly while in South America. A friend of a friend connected me with an American, which eventually led to me volunteering for KIVA in Cusco. I was able to meet all those ladies I had been lending to. And Bank of America kept to their word, supporting me upon my return.
I came back with a nice extra set of tools and incredibly new viewpoint on the world, my place in it, and the creativity it calls us all to live out.
For this reason, I’m fired up to serve you in your journey abroad. I’m here to do whatever it takes to provide you the information, experience, and, most importantly, the tools to take your own sabbatical or gap year.
It can be this incredible for you two.
No longer will only the corporation you work for be multinational. It’s time for you to become multinational.
Let me help you get there.
If you haven’t checked out the “Start Here” page, be sure to do so.
The rest of my life in a nut shell:
Northwest USA Born and Raised
Bay Area Educated (Santa Clara University – A Jesuit Institution)
Spanish Engaged (Alicante, Spain. Cuzco, Peru.)
Santa Barbara Balanced (Hometown)
Aspirations to Be a Person of the World
Athletics are a Pillar (Past Coach – Team in Training - Marathon Training for a Cause)
Personal Growth and Understanding Obsessed (Life Long Learning. Ted.com)
Pursuit of a Common Goal Inspires and Energizes
Inventiveness Starts with the Entrepreneur (Catalyst for Thought. KIVA.org)
All Should Be in the Bone Marrow Registry
Bring Joy to the Daily Monotony
Addiction to Day-Dreaming
Attracted to Wit
Meditation Found in Rhythm and Consistent Noise (Tribal-esque)
Appreciation for Life
Freedom Felt in Action (Sports, Trail Running, Horseback Riding, Tennis, Not So Serious Dancing)
Healthy Living (Without Ones Health, One Can Never Be Free)
Believer in Compounding Benefits of Good Acts
Travel Offers Life-Long Benefits Both Personal and Professional
Always Connect One-Self to a Steep Learning Curve