The Uncomfortable Fence I Straddle, or, I Am a Bridge Builder

Last week was a great example of this new, dual-careered life I’m living.

On Tuesday, I did a reading in Baltimore as a part of the Writers & Words series (which has been going on for 5 years!). I was a bit under the weather, so I sounded way sexier than usual as I read from my short story, I Help You. My in-laws even came out to hear me read! It was an amazing time of literary goodness.

On Thursday, I hopped an early flight to Chicago for a financial services conference, the GCM Grosvenor Small + Emerging Manager Conference. I attended a lunch for women in finance, then later, a happy hour sponsored by an insurance company, then a full-bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres reception at the Field Museum (which was incredible, by the way). Friday held a full suite of panels about best practices for starting a private equity fund and how to use analytics in a financial services business, then lunch and a keynote talk by Indra Nooyi (former CEO of PepsiCo), then another reception, because why not drink champagne at 1pm?

I am gifted with the love of both words and numbers, and this week could not have been a more energizing example. This was *ideal* in its allowing me to live both of my lives authentically.

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Me in finance mode during a visit to the New York Stock Exchange in fall 2013

But there are times in which this fence I straddle can be rather uncomfortable. I read on Twitter writers’ lamentations about not being able to make ends meet or, even more brazenly, that the concept of a billionaire should cease to exist. And then I read on finance Twitter about the newest VC funds being raised by women and people of color. I read about Elizabeth Warren’s wanting to stop private equity in its tracks. I read about a Black fund manager being able to buy his sister a house, something he saved up and worked hard for years to be able to do.

I know I have been given both of these gifts for a reason.

I am a bridge builder.

I’ve always sought to bring different worlds together, integrating the literary one with the investment one since I was in college. They’re not so different that they can’t coexist: I am evidence, as they both coexist in me.

Today, I’m going to my first Congressional hearing, of the House Financial Services Committee’s questioning of private investments. I’m not interested in political posturing, and I’m opening my heart to hear both sides that will be spoken for.

At the end of the day, as a Christian, I’m on this Earth to bring unity and peace. And as a Black woman writer and finance person, my calling is exactly the same.

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