My words of wisdom to young ladies thinking about entering a STEM field is that you should go for it as long as what you choose for your career aligns with your purpose and passion.
Who is Shehara L. Wooten?
Hello!! My name is Shehara L. Wooten and I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Since my name is unique and rare, many are unfamiliar with how it is pronounced. It is pronounced “Sha-Hair-Rah”. I am originally from Columbus, OH and graduated with a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University. Soon after working as an engineer and taking on various roles, I decided to truly seek God for my purpose.
Through this process, I realized that part of my life’s work was connected to promoting financial literacy for teenagers. In 2004, I decided to pursue my passion by changing careers and began working in annuity sales with a global financial institution. In 2009, I started working with women who were professional, business owners, married and single as a financial advisor with a national broker-dealer firm. During my time with this firm, I acknowledged that my enthusiasm for promoting financial literacy to the youth extended to adults, specifically women. I also realized that creating financial success for clients was not only correlated to the numbers in the plan but having an understanding of the individual stories behind the numbers. This is where Your Story Financial, LLC was born.
I am located in sunny Orlando, FL. Your Story Financial offers financial planning virtually, meaning we can work together no matter where you live in the United States. I have a passion for creating financial success stories one chapter at a time. In addition to helping clients achieve financial success, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, hosting events, reading a good non-fiction book, watching historical documentaries and spending time with my wonderful husband.
B.S. Electrical and Computer Engineering
AMP Achieving My Purpose Award Recipient, Dale Carnegie Leadership Award
Did you always have the desire to work in this field? If not, what was your intended field? Why did you change careers?
When I graduated High School, I knew that I would become an engineer. My first internship was at IBM in Rochester, MN during the summer after I graduated high school. It was right before my freshmen year at OSU. When I graduated from college, I read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and it was life-changing. I was so inspired by Robert Kiyosaki’s insights and perspectives in the book. I knew from reading it that I would become a business owner, eventually. A few years later, I decided to read Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and “What Color is Your Parachute?”. These books led me to financial advising. After some deliberate soul searching and prayer, I decided to make the leap to change careers and live out my purpose. I have been on an amazing journey of helping people with their financial planning since 2004.
What do you love most about your job?
I truly enjoy the people that I work with and the lives that I’m able to impact as people reach their financial goals.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your job or career?
When you see a financial goal accomplished and you know that the client is making a change for their family and legacy. It’s truly inspiring.
What things would you change about your job?
Recent data from the CFP® Board indicates that less than 3.5% of the 83,000 CFP® professionals are black or Latino. I would love to change that by providing more exposure to the profession whether the profession is exposed to the youth or career changers.
What has been the most difficult or disappointing aspect of your job?
Financial Literacy is a big job and when I discovered that in the last 35 years or so the net worth of the black community has reduced. It really makes me sad but it is also fuel to continue to share video content, provide financial planning and other resources to the community.
How have you combated the stigma of being a “woman of color” in STEM?
Being in the engineering profession was extremely difficult. Being in the financial services profession is also extremely difficult. As a black woman, I am sure I have had some negative experiences but it was really hard to pinpoint if it was due to color since many experiences and setbacks were not blatant. I will say that getting mixed up with another black woman in both fields has occurred with my colleagues quite a few times. I have learned that this psychological case of mistaken identity is called the cross-race effect.
What tips would you offer for anyone thinking about entering into your profession?
I would definitely recommend seeking out mentorship. It is a much easier journey when you work with someone who has been through what you’re going through and can assist you along the way.
What advice would you give your younger self about your career journey as a “woman of color” working in a predominantly white, male-dominated field?
I would say make sure you have a support system. You need someone to share your experiences with so that you know you’re not alone. Also, remember that you’re unique and use that uniqueness to your advantage. Make sure you embrace the fact that you stand out and stay confident because you deserve to be in whatever field you desire.
Can you provide some words of wisdom to young ladies thinking about entering a STEM field as a career choice?
My words of wisdom to young ladies thinking about entering a STEM field is that you should go for it as long as what you choose for your career aligns with your purpose and passion. I want the young ladies to also realize that life doesn’t go in a straight line and don’t be surprised if your path changes.
What is your favorite Quote? How do you apply this to your life?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I have applied it to my life since I was a little girl. I apply it to my life by speaking it out loud or meditate on it in my mind whenever I find myself doubting my abilities.
What are your future goals related to your career?
I plan to write a book regarding financial literacy and continue engaging and teaching audiences how to achieve their financial goals.
How has your family influenced your journey and provide support?
Both before and after marriage, my family including my husband, mom, dad, and sisters have been amazing. I know that without the support of my husband, mom and dad I wouldn’t be where I am today. As a child, my parents were my biggest advocates and cheerleaders. They helped me believe that I could do anything that I set my mind to. My husband has been instrumental in my success in this chapter of my life with his support and strategic ideas.
What are some interesting facts about yourself that you would like to share?
I learned that no matter where I live, dance is always an aspect of my life. I love to dance. Prior to moving to Orlando, I taught line dancing and hosted line dance parties. It was such a fun outlet to share with my friends and the community.
Contact Shehara L. Wooten for any further questions:
We hope you enjoyed learning about our latest “STEMsation”, please comment about how her experiences have inspired you, how your experiences can inspire others and nominate our next “STEMsation to spotlight their amazing accomplishments.