University of California, Berkeley - Bachelor of Arts
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania - Master of Business Administration
Alissa says she enjoys meeting new people who are inspiring, so it only makes sense that she found a job where she can bring out the best in others. As a professional life coach, motivational speaker and author of "Living in Your Top 1%: Nine Essential Rituals to Achieve Your Ultimate Life Goals," she works with individuals and organizations to help them think bigger, redefine what’s possible and get results. Alissa’s business background includes 10 years in finance at such firms as Credit Suisse, a global investment bank; IPC, a former Goldman Sachs portfolio company serving the financial industry; and Guggenheim Partners, a boutique investment management firm. She was an All-American tennis player at the University of California, Berkeley and competed on the Women’s Professional Tennis Circuit, achieving a world ranking of No. 202 in doubles. She continues to challenge herself and completed a half Ironman triathlon and was ranked No. 1 in the USTA National Women’s 40 Doubles in 2008 and 2009. She has organized teams to help raise more than $50,000 for Cycle For Survival, an indoor team cycling fundraiser that has raised more than $8.5 million in support of research on rare cancers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. To learn more about Alissa and to take the Living in Your Top 1% quiz, visit AlissaFinerman.com.
There are people redefining what's possible every single day.
How did you discover your current job?
I was living in NYC and working in finance when I received a postcard in the mail from NYU about an executive and life coaching program. It piqued my interest to help motivate people and create their best life. I attended an information session, and the rest is history (as they say).
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
The thing that I love about my job is that I don't have "typical" days anymore. I create my own schedule, which can be great and challenging. When I worked on Wall Street it was the same structure every day -- I got in to work by 7 a.m. and was on the corporate bond desk the entire day on the phone talking to clients and traders until 6 p.m. Now, I create the day I want, which includes writing articles for several blogs including The Daily Love, The Change Blog and Virgin.com, interviewing people who inspire me, coaching individuals, working with corporations, giving presentations and talks, reading and learning so I can be inspired, and carving out time for myself to exercise and refuel. I get up pretty early and find myself working late at night or even on the weekends, but since I love what I do it doesn't feel like work.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of what I do is when I get an email or note on my Facebook Page saying, "Thank you for changing my life," or "Thanks for the inspiring work you do." It's better than any bonus I ever received. There's something very rewarding about helping people believe in themselves and step outside their comfort zone.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
I really don't look at the world in terms of sacrifices because I'm happy doing what I do, and it's my choice.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
I am continually reminded that anything is possible when you have a vision, stick to your values, and have the courage to turn your ideas into action. There are people redefining what's possible every single day.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
I don't spend a lot of time focusing on the inequalities or why something can't be done. I spend my time and the time of my clients focusing on "what if." There are always "challenges" and "excuses" for why something didn't happen or who is at fault. That being said, we need to have role models to help us dream and see what's possible. Barbara Walters talked about not having a lot of role models when she started her career and she plowed forward anyway. I think one of the biggest challenges facing all people, not just women, is our mindset and what we think is possible or impossible!
Who are your role models?
My role models are anyone who does the impossible, from famous people (Oprah) to ordinary people doing amazing things (Anthony Robles winning the NCAA wrestling championships with only one leg).
What are some of the rules you live by?
The values I live by include: honesty, gratitude, consistency, love and humor.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Very simply, follow your passion. If this is want you want to do then go for it. Start reading books, blogs and magazines in this space and go to conferences to learn as much as you can. Talk to people in the industry to learn more, and make sure it's a fit. Find your voice, and figure out what you bring to the table that is special. Take a few small steps and build a top 1 percent support team to help you grow and challenge you along the way.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Having completed my second book, hosting a TV show that interviews and features people living their best life, writing, coaching, and giving seminars/workshops (think Tony Robbins) ...