Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: Brynna Wilson

Brynna Wilson is a professional wealth creator, real estate investor, entrepreneur, and coach. She is on the board of the Denver based Queer Business Alliance as well as the Jamin Fund.

The Queer Business Alliance is a non profit dedicated to raising the queer community by providing education around business and through mentorship. Brynna leads the membership committee and loves connecting  with business owners in the community. The Jamin Fund is also a non profit started by Brynna’s family in honor of her oldest brother, Jamin Wilson, after his passing in 2006. The Jamin Fund supports education both locally (in Denver) and globally. The Jamin Fund has helped to build schools in Kenya as well as provide education funding in other parts of the world.

Brynna, a Colorado native, enjoys the outdoors, and loves dogs. Her top values are connection, creativity, authenticity, wellness, and adventure. She has a BA from the College of Charleston in South Carolina and constantly seeks out opportunities to learn.

When was the first time you thought about money?

The first time I thought about money was when I was told that I could get paid to pull dandelion flowers out of the grass. It was something small that I can’t remember, maybe 10 cents for a bucket full. I was so excited to find a way to make some money and it worked really well for me because I got to be outside which is still to this day my favorite place to be.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

I think I have had a lot of “aha” moments with money because I am constantly learning new things that work for me. A big “aha” though was realizing we all have a money story that we run over and over again without knowing it. Most money stories are something that we learned or took on as children. After doing some self work I realized that my money story was that I was being over generous so I will fit in with a group. When I was a child, I felt as though I was known as the “rich kid” simply because everyone I went to school with knew about my family’s business and it was successful. I didn’t feel like I fit in so I would get rid of my money, buy things for others in order to fit in and not be an outcast. It’s amazing what can change when you are more aware of why you do what you do. I now know that I can find other ways to have deeper connections with people and I can take control of how I spend my money.

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

The biggest impact for me in regards to being LGBT+ is that I haven’t seen a lot of role models with money in the community. We all have seen the movie stars who have made it but there are not many LGBT+ business owners or successful ones who are also out. We as a community want to see people who have made it to where we want to be. It’s easier to picture yourself as successful in the world of money when you can also see someone who is like you that has achieved it.

What are your financial goals for the future?

I have a lot of financial goals and they change as I grow. As a big picture I want to be that role model that I have been looking to find when it comes to being LGBT+ and being wealthy. I want to be a multi-millionaire so that I can then use the “power” that comes with money to help my own community thrive. I want to see more LGBT+ businesses start and succeed. I want to make sure that nonprofits that help our community get the donations that they need in order to do their best work. I want to be able to have money go towards our fight as a community in the political scene. The best way for these things to happen is for all of us in the community to learn the rules of the game so that we can then use it to our advantage and make more money to support each other.

On a more specific level, one of my goals is to own multiple rental properties. Ideally, a few of these would cater to people in the community that are just starting their own businesses so the rent would fit in their budget as they start out. I was lucky to have support when starting out and I want to be sure that others have the same even if it’s just a safe space to live.

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or ILR)?

I have a lot of LGBT+ businesses I love, particularly businesses that my friends have started and grown. There should be more businesses owned by the LGBT+ community. One of my favorite organizations that supports this is the Queer Business Alliance, a non profit that specializes in mentoring people in the community into starting and sustaining their own businesses so we can have even more! I know it’s important for a lot of people to feel like they have freedom to be their authentic selves including myself. One amazing way for that to happen is to have business owners who can employ people in the LGBT+ community so that they no longer have to worry about losing their jobs just because of who they are.

Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: Nektarios Liolios

Nektarios is Co-Founder of the Future Farm. Over the last 10 years, Nektarios has worked closely with hundreds of entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses. He co-founded Startupbootcamp FinTech to address the relationship between corporates, startups and investors in London, New York, Singapore, Mumbai, Mexico City, Dubai, Amsterdam and Melbourne. He also co-founded Rainmaking Innovation, the global cooperative of entrepreneurs and led SWIFT’s Innotribe Startup Challenge, the first global FinTech startup competition, facilitating interaction between startups and financial institutions. 

Driven by entrepreneurship, collaboration and the desire to improve the lives of the people driving change in this world. Nektarios is a global nomad, travel geek, and sneaker freaker.

When was the first time you thought about money?

As a Greek immigrant child in Germany, the earliest memories of money I have was hearing from my parents that we couldn’t afford to buy something I wanted because there wasn’t enough or because they were saving for something else.

People around me were better off and could afford more and nicer things and it made me very envious. As a young adult this led me to borrow a fair amount of cash from friends for fancy clothes and for going out – but the harsh realization that I would have to pay it back at some point was quite a wake up call.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

I had many aha moments around money:

  • Working in banking I was speechless when I first saw the sums that move around on a daily basis. And how after a while it becomes normal to talk about somebody else’s wealth in hundreds of millions whilst at home you are struggling to pay the mortgage off.
  • A lot of the wealth people I have met knew early on in their lives about money and about what to do to increase their wealth, how to plan for it, how to invest, etc. In my upbringing, having a savings account was considered an achievement…
  • When I started my own business I found out that it is ok to be paid for something that is so rewarding that it doesn’t feel like work 🙂

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

Whilst taking out my first mortgage in the late 90s I found out that as a gay man my access to mortgage products was very limited and they were more expensive. I was considered a higher risk because of my sexuality and some lifestyle assumptions. The fact that I was with my partner for 12 years by that time didn’t come into play at all. In the eyes of the bank and the insurance company I was a single man in his early 30s.

What are your financial goals for the future?

At 53, my main goals are around how to retire comfortably, making sure I don’t leave any ‘loose ends’ behind and there is a buffer to help family and/or friends in need if required.

How did you first get involved with Daylight?

I retired from my fintech life at the end of 2018. Six months later at Money 2020 I had a causal chat with Matej who was an old industry friend and we started discussing how great the world would be if banks would understand the distinct needs of a community and build their offering around those needs. Matej talking me into coming out of my retirement and join him in building a platform that, like a midwife, helps bring these new community banks to life. Both of us being LGBT we had a particular affinity for our own community of course.

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or ILR)?

I like supporting the LGBT businesses that are local to me, like Shirleys Removals. But there is also: Happy Endings. Ice cream always wins in the end!

Categories
Money Stories

Money Stories: Brooklyn Wright (Boi Society)

Brooklyn Wright (they/them) is an entrepreneur, speaker, strategist, and advocate for underestimated communities. For over 20 years, they have used the power of community, storytelling, and event curation to help top organizations engage with diverse audiences. Forbes magazine named Brooklyn “One of 5 entrepreneurs changing our world, after they amassed a global audience with content that spoke directly to the LGBTQ community. Brooklyn is an advocate for living a more authentic life and encourages all queer and intersectional people to invest in themselves and in their financial future.

When was the first time you thought about money?

I have thought about money all throughout my life. At the age of 7, I started my first business. I created a popcorn and koolaid stand to service all of the hungry children in the neighborhood. I don’t know what made me desire money at that time or if money was the main motivation, but I guess even at a young age I understood that access to money would make a difference. I also really liked the art of business and I understood that money played a big role in entrepreneurship.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

When I was 17 or 18 I was a big fan of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Robert was the first person to teach me the concept of “paying yourself first. The book taught me to save at least 10% of every single dollar I made. The key was to save that 10% before paying anyone else. This discipline was so key to my development and it really shaped my financial future. It taught me to invest in myself before investing in anyone else. The 10% I saved repeatedly over the last 2 decades has been used to start and invest in my businesses, it saved my family financially when I was in a motorcycle accident and needed 2 years to recover, and now it is used as part of my investment fund as we plan the purchase of our first investment property and invest in queer and black women business owners.

Over the years I have learned that financial freedom is not magic. It is merely a set of principles one lives by and those principles shapes one’s future.

How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?

My identity is so intersectional and it all affects my relationship to money. I am a black, queer, nonbinary woman, which means I live in a category of society that typically makes less money, and has fewer opportunities for financial freedom. We are hired less, paid less, and not usually invited to the investment table. All of that has a huge impact on my relationship with money as well as my financial future.

These facts have impacted me to make it part of my mission to push financial literacy with my friends, my community and my loved ones. Talking about money and investing together are just a couple steps my community and colleagues are taking to ensure positive financial outlook for all of us. Together we are attempting to lift all boats. We need banks and financial services that understand our unique perspective and are willing to partner with us to accomplish our financial goals.

What are your financial goals for the future?

Currently my family and I are planning for our early retirement. We are acquiring income generating assets (assets that provide cashflow). We are very interested in developing land spaces and investing in black and women owned businesses. We are also really looking at our philanthropy. We are extremely committed to giving away 10% of our time, talent, and treasure. We know how hard it is for intersectional people to raise money and grow a business or an idea. We want to be early investors in companies with a proven track record and ones we think have the potential to make a huge impact on underestimated communities.

Favorite LGBT+ business (online or ILR)?

I am constantly rooting for black queer businesses so shoutout to the following:
Haute Butch
Good Tree Capital
Zafa Wines
Queen Hippy Gypsy
VDOM
SoukBohemian
Magnitude and Bond
Style is Freedom
Project Q
Stuzo Clothing
Feelmore
BLK MKT Vintage
Queer In Oakland
Q26
Crazy Plant Bae
Chisel Tech Lab

Want to be featured in Money Stories? Email me at billie@joindaylight.com

Categories
Team Spotlight

Team Spotlight: Ethan Teng – Product Lead

Ethan is the Product Lead at Daylight. He studied Computer Science at Stanford and has worked in both tech and non-profits for the past 20 years. He was most recently the Head of Growth at Recurly where he helped lead the company to a successful acquisition. He’s thrilled to join the Daylight team and combine his work experience in Product and Growth with his lived experience as a gay, immigrant, Chinese-American to build the first digital banking platform for the LGBT+ community.

What steps led you to Daylight?

It’s all thanks to Billie and Out in Tech! I was just starting to consider changing jobs after my last company got acquired when I happened to stumble upon a job posting Billie had shared in the Out in Tech Slack community, saying Daylight was looking for a Product Manager. It was the first time I had logged into that Slack in months, and Billie’s post just happened to be the first one I saw. To whatever cosmic forces were at work that day, I’m forever grateful!

When was the first time you thought about money?

My family was quite poor when we first immigrated from Taiwan to a cramped studio apartment in Dallas, TX. One of my first memories as a child in the US was sitting with my parents around a cardboard box that served as our dining room table, eating a homemade cake for my birthday. But, no matter what our financial situation was, my parents worked hard to raise me in an environment where I never had to worry about money. I only appreciate now as an adult how stressful it must have been for them, but they did an incredible job; I never wanted for anything growing up. For my parents, their priority was that I do well in school and get into a good college; they would take care of everything else. So, I never really thought about money till I graduated college and had to pay my own bills — including $100K in student loan debt — for the first time in my life.

What was your “aha” moment with money?

When I graduated college, Google was “just another startup” in a sea of startups, and the job opportunities seemed endless. But, after only a year of working at a medical tech startup, the first dot-com bubble burst and I found myself unemployed along with so many others. The few companies that survived were only looking for people with far more experience than I had, so not only was I unemployed but I was also unemployable. As a result, I quickly blew through whatever meager savings I had. I didn’t know there was a thing called unemployment insurance, so I didn’t apply for it. I was paying full COBRA rates for health insurance because I thought I “had to”. And I still had $100K in student loans to pay off. So, not knowing what else to do, I took out a bunch of credit cards and soon found myself living off of nearly 100% credit for more than 6 months. It would take me nearly 10 years — and eventually, credit consolidation — to learn how to budget and live within my means, and slowly dig myself out of that hole.

What do you do outside of work?

I’m a classical ballet dancer! I discovered ballet very late in life: I was already in my mid-20s when I started, which is when some professionals are already considering retirement. I happened to live next to a ballet studio when I first moved to San Francisco, and decided I wanted to try something new to meet people. I got hooked from day one and haven’t stopped dancing — and performing in an erstwhile Nutcracker — since.

Favorite LGBT+ business?

I’m fortunate to live in a city (Oakland) with so many vibrant, thriving LGBT+ and Black owned businesses. With so many to choose from, I’ll focus on some favorites in my immediate neighborhood:

Alchemy Coffee Collective: an amazing coffee collective that is 100% black and brown worker-owned. And they make a legit flat white.

Nick’s Pizza: Nick grew up in this neighborhood and came back after 4 years working in fine dining and pastry in NYC to set up his own shop here in his hometown. His rotating, seasonal sourdough pizzas are a staple of my diet.