356 - Speak Up! With Christina Winters - How Women Can Step Up And Into Positions Of Power - John Laurito
Episode 356 Speak Up! With Christina Winters How Women Can Step Up And Into Positions Of Power Tomorrow's Leader Podcast with John Laurito

356 – Speak Up! With Christina Winters – How Women Can Step Up And Into Positions Of Power

In this episode, host John Laurito talks to Christina Winters, the CEO and President of Creating & Managing Wealth. They talk about how she got started, and how she inspires and helps women to speak up and step up to leadership roles in a male-dominated corporate world.

Christina emphasized the importance of articulating your ideas, standing your ground, and managing the inevitable stress accompanying leadership roles. With Christina’s raw and real stories from her journey and her invaluable advice on expressing frustrations productively, this conversation is a must-listen for every woman aspiring to break the glass ceiling. Christina’s journey is a testament to how confrontations can be flipped into stepping stones for success, offering a fresh perspective on women in leadership roles. 

Christina specializes in helping people with their retirement planning. She has been in the business of helping people plan their financial futures for 30 years and specializes in women who have become single through a death or a divorce. She also works with those leaving corporations to start their own business. Christina explains and demonstrates how positioning money in certain vehicles will assist you in securing not only your finances but also with a concentration on family, health, and succession planning.

Christina is originally a factory worker’s daughter and learned to take risks from her mentors. She grew up in a very simple household and puts the language of finance into very simple explanations and visuals. Christina loves art and enjoys projects like creating tile tabletops, painting on canvas, and making jewelry.

Connect with Christina:
Website: https://cmwfinancial.com
Email: christina@cmwfinancial.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christina-winters

[0:00] Intro

[1:54] How women can step up to positions of power

[5:01] How Christina learned to get out of her comfort zone

[9:14] Turning point

[10:55] Speak up and don’t let others steal your idea

[14:01] Tips on speaking up

[17:00] What stepping up means

[19:14] Women are good in times of stress

[21:25] How to connect with Christina

[22:31] Outro

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John: Over the last two decades, I’ve been in an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership, what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large over the last 20 years. Today, I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question.

John: My name’s John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to Tomorrow’s leader. Hey there, tomorrow’s leaders. So today’s guest, Christina Winters, runs a very successful wealth management business. But beyond that, she is a very significant influencer amongst women and is on a mission to help empower women to step up into leadership position.

John: She herself has a long career in leadership. We talked about some pretty fascinating concepts and things that get in the way of women who could be in great, great leadership positions, what prevents them and what steps they need to take to really fulfill their potential. So I think you’re really gonna like this episode Here is Christina Winters.

John: All right. Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we are gonna dive deep into leadership, all kinds of topics. I’ve got a great guest for you today, as you have heard so Christina, welcome to the show. Thank you, John. Yeah, it’s a pleasure to have you. I know you and I have gotten to know each other over the last number of months, and I’ve just been really impressed with your background, your career.

John: You’ve been somebody who’s been extremely successful, yourself in leadership. You’re now influencing thousands of lives and about to enter another chapter of your life doing speaking and writing. You talk a lot about stepping up women, stepping up and into positions of power, and I love that. Topic. So what is, what is that all about?

John: What share some of your thoughts around that of how women can step up in, into more positions of power? Well, we women no matter what color I. Have been at 16 to 20% saturation in the leadership realm for the last 20 years. We’ve been stagnant. There is, and there’s no reason why we, there’s so much opportunity.

Christina: So the only reason is women themselves, we are our worst enemies. And it’s unconscious. It’s an 

unconscious process because from the beginning of time women have been taught to be submissive in every culture. And I know that there are some books about matriarchal societies, but I’m not sure if those are factually based or not.

John: Mm-hmm. But let’s just say for this conversation, we’ve been taught for millennials not the, not the section of. Society, but for millennium that we are lesser than. And little girls need to be seen and not heard. And at the dinner table we are taught to be quiet and that carries over it.

Christina: It’s almost genetic, I believe, at least it was for me. Hmm. ’cause I, I did not learn how to confront and that, that I think is probably the most, mm-hmm. The most important thing con getting the ability to confront and to tell people exactly what you think. Mm-hmm. And also another trait women have, and this isn’t a, these aren’t bad things.

Christina: But you know, traditionally women want everyone to be happy and they’re the peacemakers in the family. They try to keep everybody, you know, oh, everything copacetic. And if it’s that way, they feel good. Mm-hmm. But unfortunately, In business. It’s not that way. Not because business is nothing but problem, problem, problem crisis.

Christina: Yeah. And you may have a little respite in between crisis. Yeah. But here it comes again. Problem, problem, problem. Crisis. So problem, problem, problem crisis. So you figured out how to, how to do that. And you said you weren’t always good or you, you had learned not to deal with confrontation and telling people what you think, but you learned how to do it.

John: How did you, how did you got a lot of listeners that are curious about that. Okay. So I’m not very good at it, but how do I learn how to get outta my comfort zone and do that? 

Christina: Well, I’ll tell you how I learned. I grew up in finance in the eighties in a corporation, and I’m sure everyone has seen the Wolf of Wall Street, right?

John: Mm-hmm. Oh yeah. 

Christina: It was really like that. It was brutal. And the first time I was told I started out as a salesperson in 1980 in finance and selling life insurance. And then I got into financial planning and the very first time The president told me my feelings don’t matter. I was stunned of, what do you mean my feelings don’t matter?

Christina: You know, a lot of times we women will have that be the crux of everything. You hurt my feelings. Well, in a corporation. You aren’t gonna get any sympathy for that. And no one’s going to sidestep the situation and help you out ’cause you had your feelings hurt. Mm-hmm. Now you can cry in the boardroom ’cause I have done that.

Christina: Okay. But you gotta be able to back it up with a hunch after you do that. Mm-hmm. So as an example I worked my way up through management and I was top salesperson, top manager and then became a vice president. And my very first presentation there were 12 vice presidents. There was one woman that was there for four years and she had a lot of degrees.

Christina: I don’t have any degrees in anything. Okay. I’m a factory worker’s daughter. Which is why I know that anyone can do what I’m doing. So I was not brought up to be in business. I was brought up, no one ever told me goals or anything. I. Gonna be a housewife. And that was what everybody, all the women in my family were and became, were housewives.

Christina: They didn’t work. No. None of the women worked and we were first generation European. Okay, so here I am. I got promoted to vp. And the reason is because I could produce results. I’m, I’m a very hard worker. I’m a factory worker’s daughter, okay? So, mm-hmm. We, we learn sun, sun up to sun down. You don’t stop, right?

Christina: Mm-hmm. So I’m giving my very first presentation and the men are ripping. Me to shreds. Okay. Everything I said I was doing, they told me that’s never gonna work. And who told you that anyways? It got very frustrating ’cause it went on for like an hour and a half. Hmm. I finally started crying. I said, you know, you guys are not being very fair.

Christina: Okay. So that wasn’t a good, a good thing to say because fair is, is difficult. Mm-hmm. You wanna be firm and fair. But in the eighties there was no fair. So And then one of the men picked up his pen and threw it down. Said, that’s why we don’t want women in the boardroom. We don’t need crying in the boardroom.

Christina: Well, that woke me up. So I mean, I went bristling down to his chair and said, listen here. You get used to it because when women get frustrated, we cry. When you get frustrated, you put your fist through the wall. So it’s just a matter of different expression, how you’re demonstrating your frustration, right?

Christina: It does not mean weakness. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So is that a turning point for you? Because I didn’t expect it, number one, I didn’t expect to have that kind of a welcome where they were gonna rip me up. But what I found out is and this isn’t a bad thing, this is the way men have operated for millennials.

Christina: Millennials they operate on a, a process of intimidation and they intimidate their opponents so that they back off and back down. And women have a very difficult time, not. Backing down or not saying anything. Mm. Another thing that happened to me, this was. Maybe six months into my vice presidency.

Christina: We were at a meeting and we took a break and these corporate meetings go on for hours, by the way. And in the eighties, two, three o’clock in the morning and we’re still arguing about stuff. So We were taking a coffee break out in the hallway in the hotel and one of the vice pres, actually the vice president that I left to become a vice president.

Christina: We were chatting and I was sharing an idea with him that I wanted to bring up, and I asked him what he thought about it. He said, oh, it sounds like a. So, you know, after the break we went in and got settled and got back down to business and he brings up my idea and I sat there and sat back and thought what the.

Christina: And I was contemp contemplating credit. Huh? What do I do? Right? What do I do? And then I thought, hell no, he’s not taking my idea. So I said, I. Art, thank you so much. So you really thought my idea was that great? Huh? So what do you guys think about my idea? Because I was, I just shared that with art out in the hallway.

Christina: Mm-hmm. When we were having coffee. He never did that again. I’m sure no one ever did, but it’s a great point. You spoke up. Most people would not have spoken up. Right, right. Most women especially. Yeah. Yeah. S s, yeah. And what happened? How did that change, that interaction? Probably changed your relationship maybe with art.

John: Did that open a new path for you with everybody? Yeah, a new respect. 

Christina: Right. Yeah. Right. Because there I’m not a pushover. Yeah. I’m not going to hang back and go ahead and say, oh, well. Mm-hmm. Well, I’m glad he liked my idea. And the most, this is what women say, the most important thing is that the idea is being carried forward.

Christina: It really doesn’t matter who brought it up or who’s going to get credit for it. Like hell, it doesn’t, yeah, right. It’s your idea. That’s how you get promoted. Yeah, that’s a great point. Well, and, and there’s a, there’s a balance there too because, you know, part of it is is feeling like you can share your ideas and not have a situation like that happen.

John: And you wanna share ideas, but then if you don’t speak up and you let that happen, then you’re not gonna be sharing ideas. So it’s a lose lose all the way around. And if you speak up for yourself, that moment might be uncomfortable to get through to speak for somebody who maybe not, not, is not good at speaking up or dealing with con conflict, but the aftermath is so positive because it doesn’t happen again.

John: Right? 

Christina: And I’ll tell you, my heart was pounding. I could barely hear. Oh, I’m sure something like that gets you annoyed and frustrated and angry. No, I was worried about the ramifications. That’s what women worry about. Yeah. I got you. Okay. Men don’t worry about that. Yeah. They just say what they want. So, so the next, so the next time somebody, and you, you’ve got listeners here that again are, are, are definitely tuning into that message.

John: And you’ve got a lot that are saying to themselves, boy, you know what? I can now think of many situations I should have, I should have spoken up. When somebody is in that moment, is there something they can do to prompt themselves to just get it out and say something? Is there some kind of trick to get through the pain of that moment?

John: Or just do it? I, I can’t, I don’t, I, I can’t think of anything. You just gotta suck it up. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And the thing that I tell women is, look, childbirth is not easy. Okay, but you suck it up and you go through it. Mm-hmm. Because there’s a point, right? Mm-hmm. For it all. Yeah. Okay. There is a point for it all.


Christina: personally think the point is the end of war. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. The end of world hunger. Not for a matriarchal society mm-hmm. For a balance. Mm-hmm. But we can’t have balance when it’s 2080. Right. That’s, we have, we have to have a minimum of 40%. A long time ago, in the early nineties, I think Catalyst, catalyst wrote a white paper on, on women.

Christina: And power, and they stated that 40% saturation is what it would take. Mm-hmm. For there to be enough collaboration. I’m not saying that we should, as women, divorce ourselves of all of our feminine traits. No. That’s why I am impressed on that guy, that crying in the boardroom was going to happen again.

Christina: Mm-hmm. Okay. If I get mad or frustrated, I’m gonna cry. Mm-hmm. That’s what we do. Mm-hmm. That’s what women do. But I have been in corporate meetings where men have thrown chairs. Broken tables pounding on them. You know, of course, this was in the eighties. I, I own my own firm now, so nobody breaks tables or breaks chairs.

Christina: Here. I have all women in my firm because I’m a commitment to. Educating women and as many women as I can. So here in my corporation I, I really mentor the women in leadership because leadership I. Is for everybody. And I tell, I tell women, look, you don’t have to be the president of the United States.

Christina: That’s not what I’m saying. To step up and into a position of power is your own personal power. Mm-hmm. So when somebody in your family is saying something that you don’t like, say something right then. Don’t wait for the right moment. I’m waiting for the right moment to talk to him. No. Yeah, there’s a, there’s not gonna be a right moment.

John: There’s a zillion right moment conversations that never happened. 

Christina: Correct. And what happens is, as a woman, you start thinking after a while, if you didn’t say something right away, you think, well, it’s not worth bringing up now it’s over with, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. You bring it up.

Christina: I don’t care if it’s a month after it, especially if it’s your partner. Mm-hmm. That partner needs to know how you feel. Right. And. Looking at how we react to things as women, it’s not a bad thing. Crying is not a bad thing. Mm-hmm. It’s how we let off steam. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And you know, there’s a lot of different ways to do it.

Christina: I know one time when I my sales team, when I was a manager, I went to the dollar store and bought everybody a set of dishes. I. White, little white ceramic dishes, you know, fairly cheap. 10 bucks for service for four, and we went to the junkyard and put on goggles and then threw the dishes against the wall.

Christina: There’s very good feelings to do that. Like I, yeah, it’s, it’s a release. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. Of course you have to be careful, obviously, ’cause shards can shift and everything, so. Mm-hmm. You have to protect yourself, but yeah, you know, stress. Is expressed differently by different people. Mm-hmm. And one of the things that I think that we are good at as women is in times of stress because we’re tentative in the beginning, we, we kind of see things a little bit differently.

Christina: So we can read things differently. You know that old hunter gatherer. Mm-hmm. You know, men are very focused and hunting, and women are the gatherers and mm-hmm. You know, we prepared all the meat that they, that they hunted. So those things are good for us in today’s world. We just need to know, and men need to know too that There really isn’t that need for the protection, like there was back in the days of mammoths and bears and things like that, you know?

Christina: Right. We’re in different world. We, we had one of those at our corporation and one of the girls said, yeah. Bobby the next time I, I see a, a bear on the fourth floor, I’ll call you, but otherwise I think I’m okay. Well, Christina, so this, this has been fantastic. I know we’re, we’re almost outta time and you’ve, you’ve shed some light on some, some very important things and I think if listeners walk away with anything, it’s that.

John: You have to speak up, you have to confront, you have to be open and clear. It’s okay to still have the emotions and discomfort and fear and frustration and everything, but absent of being outspoken that doesn’t allow that. A woman, or really anybody but a woman for sure to get into a leadership role of being able to influence people the way that they can.

John: In reality, and I, I agree with you that 16 to 20% number should be 40%. There’s no reason it can’t. Right. Right. Excellent. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. I’ve loved this. This has been great. And thank you. Yeah. You you are an inspiration. Congrats on all the success you’ve had. I know you’ve got a lot of people that are gonna wanna potentially connect with you or at least engage with you or find out more about you.

John: Where do they go to do that? What’s the best way for them to learn more about you?

Christina: Go to my website, C M W Financial, Google, me Creating and Managing Wealth Christina Winters. I was also married for a short while. So my name was Gears back then, so you could. Probably Google that name.

Christina: But I’ve been in my own business for 33 years this year. Congrats. 

John: That’s tremendous. That’s, I, that’s absolutely tremendous. And yeah, I know you’re making a huge impact out there. We’ll have your information in the links, in the show notes as well. So this has been really terrific. I appreciate your time.

Christina: Thank you so much, John. It was a privilege. 

John: Absolutely. And thank you all for joining today on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. We’ve been here with Christina Winters. Absolutely check her out. We’ll have all the information in the show notes and as always, like, share, subscribe. Good envelope of a five star review, and we’ll see you next time.

John: Thanks. Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at john@johnlaurito.com.Thanks, lead on!

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