Cornell University (Cum Laude with a Distinction in Research)
London School of Economics
Harvard - Master's Degree in Finance
If you're a writer, or someone who's always dreamed of writing for a living, we can pretty much guarantee you will have a career crush on Ilana Greene after reading this profile. As a freelance writer, Ilana pens frequent stories for Business Insider, Forbes, MarketWatch (Wall Street Journal), Reuters, Boston Globe, Fortune, Christian Science Monitor, TheStreet.com, Fast Company, Mass High Tech and many more. Her articles receive more than 10,000 hits a month. Ilana also is in the process of writing a book and starting a new YouTube program on fashion and finance with fashion icon Barbara Glass. If that wasn't enough to occupy her time Ilana also is the founder of PowerDown, a clean energy startup.
Before embarking on a freelance career Ilana attended Harvard and previous to that graduated Cum Laude with a Distinction in Research from Cornell University. She also spent time studying abroad at the London School of Economics. Her resume also includes roles in equities trading at Goldman Sachs and William Blair.
Ilana loves to run in her free time. She loves it so much that she just completed a marathon. She also enjoys meeting new people, different events and since she's a self-proclaimed "total foodie" you will also find her trying new restaurants on a regular basis.
Nobody knows you and what you can handle better than yourself.
How did you discover your current job?
I was always more creative than most in investment banks. I wanted to find a way to combine my creative, spunky side. Writing was the best way to do that. I was way too interesting for typical finance.
Also, the company I started received a lot of media attention. We were featured on the Fox Business Network, The Boston Globe, Mass High Tech, Cambridge Chronicle and many more. I became fascinated with media. I loved being out front and in the open. Plus, when you publish an article, you receive immediate satisfication. This is very different than waiting months to get a contract from a client or an entire semester to get a paper returned. I may be like a 5-year-old kid.
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
Each day is different which is why I love the freelance lifestyle. Some days I have interviews, other days I spend my time writing, and others I spend marketing/building new relationships. I love meeting new people and expanding.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of my job is that people get to read about what I am thinking or feeling. I also get to do everything at my own pace. I never wanted a boss and I don't like to tell others what to do. I am happy being my own boss. I love not working in an official organization with a structure.
The biggest challenge could be that sometimes it is hard to motivate! I am my own boss and that means I have to tell myself what to do and when to do it. This can be hard sometimes.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
My biggest personal sacrifice is that my job is a risk. I don't have a steady paycheck. You never know how who is going to want your story/book. It's a high risk=high reward, but this can be scary sometimes.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
Believe in yourself and what you want to do. At the end of the day all you can do is trust yourself. Nobody knows you and what you can handle better than yourself. People are always trying to give me advice. I like to listen, but at the end of the day I have to deal with my own decisions.
Also, you can never have enough setbacks. Setbacks make you push hard and be a better person.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
Woman can never do enough. Any choice a woman makes is always debatable. If you work too hard and prioritize your career, you are not considered feminine. If you don't work enough, you are too traditional. It's hard to find a balance. You will never win. I guess you just have to accept that.
Who are your role models?
My parents are my role models. They have worked hard to create the lives they have. I like Ann Coulter; she always has a statement (whether it is her politics or her dress code). She is expressive and bold. I like that.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Always treat others how you want to be treated.
Work hard and never ever give up.
Always set high goals, and never stop believing that you can achieve them. You are your worst enemy. Each setback just means you need to find a new, creative solution to reach your goals.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Be bold, brave and try to learn as much as you can about yourself. Appreciate your strengths and weaknesses. Work on your strengths and delegate your weaknesses to others. But spend time to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are first.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I hope my book does well. More of what I am doing now? So much changes ... I am constantly reevaluating and setting new goals.