About a year ago I received a press release for something called The Millionaire Bootcamp for Women.
I confess to being rather put off by the name and when the we were unable to work out a promotion model with the organisers, I promptly forgot all about it. However recently a colleague suggested that Stephanie J. Hale, co-founder of the event, had an interesting story to tell. I contacted Stephanie and am delighted to say that she was happy to share her remarkable story with readers of the3rdi magazine.
Stephanie was born in Bromsgrove, West Midlands and when her parents separated she went to live with her grandparents who, as you might expect, had a great influence on her life. On leaving school Stephanie went to university and went on to become a journalist and newsreader, worked part-time at Oxford University, married and started a family.
So far so good but it had been a paragraph from the biography that had accompanied the press release for The Millionaires Bootcamp that had caught my eye,
“Stephanie J. Hale was once a single mom on a street where hookers and drug dealers touted for trade. She learned to trade equities and eventually became a coach at one of the UK’s top trading schools.”
So this is where her story begins.
“When I got married I was happy to be a stay at home mum. I worked the odd shift as a newsreader but for the most part I was at home with my son. Things changed after my divorce. It was a very difficult time as while I’d been content to be at home I had also left all financial interests and control to my husband. After our break-up, I had no money and nowhere to live – I had 5 very difficult years..”
“I didn’t want to return to newsreading or to journalism as I was determined to spend time with my son, who was just 3 at the time of the divorce. I was still a director at Oxford, which sounds great, but I was only being paid for half a days work a week. The glamourous lifestyle of Oxford colleges was a stark contrast to the life I was living outside work. I was living in what was effectively the red light district with drug dealers a constant presence and the threat of violence an everyday concern. I knew that I had to do something to change my circumstances.”
“At this point I knew nothing about business and nothing at all about money – other than knowing that I needed to get some! The divorce had cost over £20K in legal fees, I was figure-phobic and risk averse. In desperation I went to the library and read every book I could find on money and finance. The more I read the more I realised that it wasn’t really about numbers, it was about patterns. For 2-3 years I studied these books and taught myself to trade equities. I met some influential people who were able to help me too. They told me what to do and at that stage in my life I simply accepted their advice and followed their instruction. It helped, I think, that I was the only woman and the male traders took time to explain and act as mentors.”
“And I found, not for the first time, that being around people who could do something, in this case trade equities and in my earlier life read the news, gives you the belief that you can do it too! Meeting traders and seeing that they were just normal people made it possible for me to believe that I could trade equities. Even so, the first time I placed a trade my hands were trembling!”
So where did Rich Writer Poor Writer, another of Stephanie’s business venture come from?
“I was still working at Oxford while trading and was always being approached by people wanting me to read and comment on their books. It was natural for me to think about putting the skills that I have to work for myself rather than solely for the benefit of other authors, and Rich Writer, Poor Writer was born.”
And a year of illness led to another burst of activity.
“I had been having problems with my vision and was in and out of hospital. The initial diagnosis was that I probably had a tumour that was pressing against the back of the eye. At this point I felt that my back was against the wall yet again and an e-mail dropped into my inbox for a mentoring programme in Cyprus. It was expensive and under normal circumstances I would have binned the email and thought no more about it. But not knowing whether or not I had long to live and very much in need of a break in the sun, I signed up. As it turned out the impairment was due to a disorder that is not life threatening but the programme became another turning point for me.”
“The programme was run by Mark Anastasi who became my mentor and who encouraged me to organise The Millionaire Bootcamp for Women. I had no experience of planning or running anything like this before and under any other circumstances I would have ignored anyone who wanted me to invest £20K in a new venture like this. But I trusted Mark and was prepared to go with his judgement. Together we hosted a hugely successful event for 1,000 women entrepreneurs in Autumn 2009 and we have another one planned for later this year!” Finally, I asked Stephanie about her hobbies
“I now have three lovely children and I know it sounds corny but my work is my hobby. If I wasn’t being paid for it I’d still be doing exactly what I’m doing. I love reading books, I love attending self-development events and I love being around entrepreneurs and authors. It gives me a real buzz…I love it!”
To find out more about this years conference, visit http://www.womenmillionairesbootcamp.com/