Williams Investment Group vice president Nora Yousif says she has found the perfect fit in a career. As a Certified Financial Planner and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, this means having earnest interactions that allow her to connect with people across the table from her while crunching numbers and offering sound financial advice.
Yousif, age 32, talks confidently about finances and ways to save. She’s also motivated to help as many people as she can, including women like herself. Most importantly, she is an empathetic person helping other people through significant and difficult transitions in their lives.
“I’ve got the tissue box in my office,” Yousif says while we chat at a cafe downtown in Boston. She often helps women going through divorce, and she recently helped an elderly couple in their 60s get an extra $1,400 each month in Social Security.
Show What You Know
Yousif is not content to sit in an office all day long. In an effort to give financial advice to as many people as possible, she speaks on panels and presentations. She has appeared on conference stages alongside other influential women, including Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post. She runs her own workshops, which are tailored to women, called “Women Wine and Wall Street,” and she plans to expand her presentation to couples.
If you own a television set, chances are that you’ve seen her on it. Yousif has been featured on NBC Boston and Yahoo Finance. She recently did a segment on back-to-school shopping with NECN.
“It’s an honor to be on Yahoo Finance, NECN and NBC Boston. They can choose anybody in New England, so it’s very humbling that they use me,” she says. “And again, it’s just a way to educate more people.”
“On a business side, obviously, it helps expand your personal brand and get your name out there and so forth,” she continues. “It is an extra effort. It is extra hours. But, you know what? If it educates more people and betters their lives, great.”
Yousif’s parents left their native Lebanon as Christians escaping religious persecution. Her father died in America when she was still a young child.
So, it’s her mother that she looks to for inspiration.
“I guess it’s so cliche,” she says, when asked why she looks up to her mom. “She’s always been a very strong, independent person who also is very giving and compassionate.”
Finding a career that was both “analytical and numbers-oriented” helped her decide to take a job in consulting right out of college in 2009, explains the self-proclaimed nerd.
She was consulting for big-name biotech companies in Boston, such as Amgen, Merck and J&J.
“I liked it from a numbers standpoint,” she says. “It was very strategic, very analytical, which I enjoy. But, it was also cold, and it was lacking a personal connection.”
At the same time, while she was working remotely from home, she was able to witness her stepfather and his father interact with their own clients giving financial advice in a way that she hadn’t expected, often seeing them share warm moments with each other.
“I saw in finance the hugs that they got and the thank yous. I thought, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize finance could be warm,’” she says.
Women in Finance
While she acknowledges that, in general, women are doing quite well financially — they are in control of about 60 percent of the nation’s wealth right now, according to Yousif — she says it is necessary to have more programs for women and by women around finance.
“I find that women are entirely underserved, because the industry for the most part is created by men, for men,” she says. “There’s a total underserved base for women in terms of the content and delivery.”
At the Boston Business Women Conference in the fall of 2016, Yousif recalls speaking on stage with Huffington about “how to be your own Sugar Mama.” As she puts it, being financially independent and “bulletproof for whatever life throws your way.”
When she’s not in meetings, on TV giving financial advice or speaking at an event, Yousif finds time to hang with family and to combine her love and her guilty pleasure — working out while watching Bravo!
Although we’re not sure she’ll have much time for that as she has begun taking weekend courses through the MIT Sloan Executives MBA program.
Her Monday through Friday, though, is often scheduled in blocks and her team keeps her organized to ensure that she’s hit all of her marks and met all of her goals for the work week. She does most television recordings in the earlier hours of the day.
“It’s no secret: I work a lot,” Yousif says. “But when you enjoy what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like work. When it’s a business that’s yours and your family’s it’s a different approach.”
Yousif hosts her next “Women Wine and Wall Street” event at the Quincy Marriott on January 30, 2020. She also offers a complimentary “financial gut-check” via telephone by reaching out to the Williams Investment Group at RBC Wealth Management at 508-230-8960 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.