Podcast

Stephanie Cohen: The Business Case for Inclusion

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Stephanie Cohen quickly rose through the ranks at Goldman Sachs to become one of the youngest members of the bank’s senior leadership, joining just a small handful of women at that level. In her new role overseeing consumer and wealth management for the organization, she shepherds a vision for diversity and inclusion that prioritizes broad consumer access to high-quality financial solutions. In this episode, Jennifer and Stephanie discuss how the bank is leveraging fintech and personalized solutions to meet diverse consumer needs, while empowering clients and customers to reach their financial goals.

Stephanie Cohen

Stephanie Cohen

Stephanie Cohen is global co-head of Consumer and Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs, a member of the firm’s Management Committee, and global executive sponsor of the Women’s Network. Prior to her current role, Stephanie drove strategy, M&A, strategic investing, and partnerships as the firm’s chief strategy officer. She also spearheaded Launch With GS, the organization’s $500 million commitment to invest in diverse-led companies and investment managers, and GS Accelerate, the firm’s in-house innovation engine. Stephanie joined Goldman Sachs as an analyst in 1999, was named managing director in 2008, and became a partner in 2014.

Episode Transcript

Learn more about Marcus by Goldman Sachs and check out additional episodes of EMERGE Everywhere.

Jennifer Tescher:
Welcome to EMERGE Everywhere. I’m Jennifer Tescher, journalist turned financial health champion. As founder and CEO of the Financial Health Network, I’ve spent my career breaking down silos by engaging with innovators across industries, and now, I’m sharing those conversations with you. Meet the forward thinking leaders challenging the status quo and unleashing creative new ways of improving financial health by seeing their customers, employees, and communities in 3D.

My guest today is one of the most powerful women on Wall Street. Stephanie Cohen quickly rose through the ranks at Goldman Sachs to become one of the youngest members and one of only a few women on its management committee. As the bank’s chief strategy officer, she brought clarity and focus, including a new commitment to diversity and inclusion. And just a few weeks ago, she was asked to jointly lead the bank’s global consumer and wealth management division. Stephanie, welcome to Emerge Everywhere.

Stephanie Cohen:
Jennifer, it is great to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Jennifer Tescher:
So, you’re just moving into this new role as global co-head of consumer and wealth management and this puts you in charge of the consumer bank and Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Tell us a little bit about where you expect to focus most of your time and attention this year.

Stephanie Cohen:
Well, I think I’m biased, but I think I have the best job at Goldman Sachs. I’ve run, as you said, the consumer and wealth management business with my partner, Tucker York. And we are lucky because we get to spend our entire days focusing on people. Our goal in our vision, in our people, is to empower our clients and customers to achieve their financial goals and we think help them live better lives. And what we’re doing in our division is we do it a couple of different ways. One, we have our advisor led businesses. We call those businesses, private wealth management and personal financial management. And then we have this great program where we work with companies on financial wellness for their employees and we call that Ayco. And then as you mentioned, we have a digital consumer bank. And in that business, we have two different pieces, one, which is Marcus, which you mentioned, which helps customers save, borrow, and soon invest and spend. And then we have another part of that business where we embed our capabilities into the ecosystems of our partners and that’s basically what we’re doing with the Apple card.

And you asked me about the focus. We obviously have a lot going on and we’re excited about so many things and hopefully we get to talk about them, but what I’m most looking forward to and where we’re spending most of our time is of course on people because we’re the division that focuses on people. And that starts with our own people. We have more than 7,500 people in our division globally. And at least I believe and I think it’s fair to say that they’re amazing. It’s been really fun getting to know all of them. Unfortunately, we’ve been getting to know most of them over Zoom, which is not nearly as much fun as getting to know people in person, but we get to visit people’s homes through Zoom and see their kids and their pets. And so we’re having a great time, really engaging with our team.

And then on the other side of the people equation is our clients and our customers. And that’s really the most exciting thing about being able to run this division. One of the first people that called me after the announcement that I was going to be the co-head of this division, was a friend and they wanted help managing their financial lives, but not just theirs, but their family. And I really got to know them on a totally new level because they were talking to me about their lives and their goals and their dreams and how we could be helpful. And so the main thing I’m focused on is people internally and externally.

Jennifer Tescher:
I find that being in the business that I’m in, similar things happen at cocktail parties, I get random questions, financial questions and I think it’s clear that I am not a financial planner. I’m not certified to be helpful, but we do get a lot of questions and it helps you to understand just how many people have these questions and how many people could really use help in managing their finances. It’s really complex.

Stephanie Cohen:
No question. My husband and I were talking about it last night, we all still need a lot of help. It’s complicated.

Jennifer Tescher:
Yeah. You mentioned Marcus, I think it’s fair to say that four plus years ago when Goldman Sachs launched Marcus, it wasn’t exactly what anyone was expecting to have a titan of Wall Street, all of a sudden building a business to focus on the financial needs of everyday people. And it’s been so fascinating to watch the frankly, explosive growth of the business. You started out with a very simple proposition, which was, let’s help you refinance the credit card debt you have and really make sure that we’re doing that in a high quality way that really puts the customer at the center. And since then, you’ve begun offering all kinds of things. You’ve begun offering credit beyond debt consolidation. You mentioned the Apple card. You’ve mentioned the fact that soon you’re going to be launching a new set of investment options and opportunities. There’s a savings portion of Marcus. Talk a little bit about how Marcus has evolved and where you see that business heading now that you’ve reached, say adolescence.

Stephanie Cohen:
Well, I guess we’re not going to be on the human schedule because we’re in our fifth year, not quite adolescence, but as you said, time really does fly. And it’s interesting though, because when we think about it and we talk about it and what we focus on every day, the mission is still the same. We want to use simple, transparent and valuable products to help people manage their financial lives. And as you’ve mentioned, we’ve been through an evolution and the reality is we had to start somewhere so we started with loans as you talked about and we really felt like we were doing that in a different way and we’re proud of what we launched. And then we did savings. And then we did the Apple card. And this year we’re going to launch Marcus Invest and checking and a credit card partnership with General Motors. And so I think it’s embedded in your question, but I think it’s a fair question. How does this all fit together?

And so what are we? And what are we trying to become? And what we are and what we’re trying to become is we have these two self reinforcing strategies. One, we want to be the bank on your phone. We want to be your primary bank. And in doing that, we want to fundamentally change the way people experience financial services and in doing that improve their lives. And that means that we need to go from being about a product, to really having solutions and building holistic relationships with our customers and by building that entire product suite and making it something that’s simple and transparent, easy for millions of people to access, we think we’re going to do that. And then because while we can access millions of customers, the way that we can really have impact is by taking those capabilities and embedding it into the ecosystems of our partners.

And so we’re doing that with Apple, but also we’ll do it with General Motors. And then we’ve also done that with Walmart and Amazon in terms of providing credit to their merchants. And so we think this idea of really starting with a clean sheet of paper and building financial services that puts the customer at the center, is something that we can do directly through Marcus and we can do through our partners. And you talked about that mission, and I want to come back to it because it really is there every day when our people design our products. They’re sitting there every day and they’re trying to figure out how they can do things in a really complex financial world that are simple and transparent and valuable. And so hopefully people see when they go on our app or go on our website, that our language is easy to read and clear.

Now we’ve put a bunch of features into our products to help people make better decisions. Whether that’s direct disbursements in our loans, meaning when you sign up for a Marcus loan, we can directly pay off your other debts. Things like auto pay. And by the way, if you take all of that and everything else we’re doing, we’ve now found that two out of three of our Marcus loans customers, after they take out a Marcus loan, their overall debt does decline. And so what we’re trying to do is no different, we were just doing it with one product and now we’re going to try to do it with a holistic product suite.

Jennifer Tescher:
So I heard you mention that you’re getting ready to add a set of investment tools for Marcus customers and that makes me think about what we’ve been witnessing over the last couple of weeks with the GameStop frenzy. I’m wondering how you’re viewing that experience in light of the coming launch of these new products for Marcus customers?

Stephanie Cohen:
Yeah, we’re really excited about the Marcus Invest product, which will launch this quarter. And the idea really brings together the reason by the way, why we have our consumer and wealth management businesses all together. I talked a little bit about all the businesses that Tucker and I are managing and they include these advisor led wealth management businesses that we have been in for decades. And if you look at those businesses, the thing that we have focused on in those businesses is providing holistic advice to individuals and to families and to helping them get the right diversified portfolio for them. And by the way, that portfolio is different for different people. It’s not a one size fits all product and solution. And the great thing about what we’re going to do with Marcus Invest and kind of in contrast to some of what’s been going on over the last couple of weeks, is we’re going to take that capability, the capability to provide this diversified portfolio from our advisor led business into our digitally led business and really bring the best of Goldman Sachs capabilities and products to hopefully millions of consumers.

And we think that this is a great way for people to think about investing. The reality is that investing can be intimidating for a lot of people. By the way, a lot of people who spend their careers in financial services. And what we’re hoping with Marcus Invest is through the content and through the ease with which people can go through the signup process and then the investment process, people are going to be able to interact with an investing in a way that’s understandable, but also is going to help them achieve whatever financial goals that they have. We’re really excited about our Marcus Invest launch and we’re really excited internally because it brings together the best of our wealth management business with the best of our consumer business.

Jennifer Tescher:
Yeah. In this article that I had written, I talked about how originally, the mob was after Wall Street, if you will. And then it turned on Robinhood and Goldman is in such an interesting place because you’re both Wall Street and you’re a FinTech in a way. It’s pretty amazing feat that you’ve managed to essentially build a homegrown digital business from inside this storied institution. Is the idea here that Marcus customers eventually become Goldman Sachs customers, if you will? That there’s sort of a graduation approach and that if I engage folks early with more basic financial products and services, they’ll ultimately become the wealth management customers of tomorrow?

Stephanie Cohen:
Maybe If you’ll indulge me because I was chief strategy officer, we’ll go up a level to the corporate strategy just for a second, which is that when we think about what we’re trying to do at Goldman Sachs, it’s to advance sustainable economic growth and financial opportunity. And so what we’re really saying is we’re really proud advocates for inclusive capitalism and there’s no better way to do that than to serve millions of consumers. And so that’s really what we’re trying to do with what we’re doing in consumer and in Marcus. And the question, which is kind of an obvious question is why now? Because consumer banking has been around for a really long time. And the reason why we decided now was the right time for Goldman Sachs is because one, technology. We think technology is in a place where you can really have a bank on your phone.

Secondly, culturally. I think people have gotten to a place, and there’s some good and there’s some bad here where the phone is kind of really the center of everything that they do and how they interact with so many parts of their lives. And that has definitely been sped up by what’s gone on with COVID. And this kind of idea of people wanting to experience financial services deeply embedded into ecosystems rather than being this separate action. The reality is, there’s basically two different states where people have some money and they either want to figure out a way to invest it or save it or spend it or they want to do something and they need to figure out how to pay for that. And we’ve turned that into a lot of different financial products, but the reality is we’re just trying to solve those problems for consumers.

And so we felt like now is the right time where we can then take our capabilities, which were you alluded to this, but our capabilities in technology, but we could do the consumer technology with a blank sheet of paper. Our 150 years of financial services experience and things like risk and compliance, our scale, which is our ability to invest, but also the balance sheet, which provides the ability to provide things like credit and great relationships with people like Apple and GM. And that’s how we ultimately came up with the strategies, which I talked about earlier in terms of going direct and what we call financial cloud.

And just to go back to your very specific question on are we trying to take these customers and turn them into Goldman Sachs customers? They are Goldman Sachs customers. They are part of Goldman Sachs and we are really excited to serve them with the best of Goldman Sachs digitally. And of course, people want access to an advisor. We have businesses that do that and we’re really excited to do that as well. But in Marcus and in consumer, we want to bring the best of Goldman Sachs’ capability to them directly on their phone, wherever they are and however they want to be served.

Jennifer Tescher:
Great. That makes a lot of sense. I’m glad that you talked about inclusive capitalism because one of the more notable pronouncements from your boss, Goldman chair and CEO David Solomon, was that Goldman was only going to be willing to take companies public if they had at least one woman on their board. And it’s also, I think, no accident that you’ve also been anointed to the operating committee. I think Goldman has a growing number of excellent women at the firm. I know many of them, but it says something entirely different to have someone at the operating committee level. I wonder if you might reflect a little bit on how Goldman is really trying to make good on this idea of inclusive capitalism when it comes to forms of identity, gender identity, race and ethnicity, et cetera.

Stephanie Cohen:
It’s a great point. A great question. I’m glad you’re drilling in on it. Again, in my role as chief strategy officer, the way that we talk about it then, and certainly the way we’re talking about it now is that inclusion and diversity are absolutely strategic imperatives. They are not only of course the right thing to do, but it is the only way to run the business. And we’re going to be better if we do that. And in order to do that, you’ve got to do a couple of things. One, it affects how you manage your own people. How you recruit, you retain and you develop your own people and there are many things that we’re doing around that, but it also gets to the way of how you serve your clients. Because for us, this is a business and a strategic imperative.

And the thing I say all the time is that you can’t talk about these things in two different places. You can’t have two different meetings where you talk about market share and growth and margins and then you have another meeting where you talk about diversity. You have to talk about all that in one place, because it’s the only way to win, but it’s also the only way to serve customers and ultimately help them achieve their goals. And so, one of the things we certainly talk about is the board initiative, which was that we weren’t going to take companies public unless they had at least one diverse board member. It’s going to be two this year. And the reality is that is the right advice for our clients. If they want to build companies that are going to succeed, having diverse voices around the table is one of the most important things that they can do.

The other place that we’ve been embedding it is very deeply in our investing businesses, because what we noticed was that inclusive and diverse teams outperformed and they were under invested in. And so 85% of all venture capital dollars goes to all male founded teams. Over 99% goes to all white teams. And besides those numbers being kind of horrific, they are a misallocation of capital. And so we have this situation where you have an under invested asset class and they’re going to out return and you never see that. The world is awash in capital and you never see that.

And so we created Launch with GS, which was our commitment to closing the diversity investing gap, where we said we were going to invest in companies founded, owned and led by diverse founders and diverse management. And that we were going to invest behind diverse managers because you needed to get money in the hands of diverse managers so that they could get money in the hands of diverse companies. And that we were going to build an ecosystem around it. And I raise all of that because it’s really important that this idea of inclusion and diversity gets to every level of the organization and people realize how deeply embedded it is in your business and your strategy and Launch with GS is an example of, the board initiative is an example, but there are many others.

Jennifer Tescher:
Got it. I’m realizing through this conversation that you’re really a culture builder. That that’s clearly a very important part of your role and has been. You’ve only been in this new role for just a few months and we’ve talked a fair bit about the great work you did when you were chief strategy officer starting in 2018. And it sounds like you had to do a lot of learning because your time at Goldman, which is long, had largely been in a variety of M and A roles. And so you didn’t get into this chief strategy officer role with a real clear job description. And that you knew that you needed to listen and learn from the rest of the businesses, but that also you needed to learn about consumers, given that a growing part of the bank strategy was Marcus.

I wonder if you could talk a little bit about when you joined as chief strategy officer in that role, what you did to listen and learn about both the parts of the business that you might have been less familiar with, but also the end user, if you will, the consumer. Particularly consumers in Marcus, you’ve talked a lot about the role you’re in now is really about people. And I think there’s a lot to learn about how culture builders do that, because I think a lot about the importance of stepping outside of our silos, that that’s where, and that relates to the comments that you made about diversity. Getting out of our silos, hearing from other people, other perspectives we might not hear from otherwise and finding the interconnections. Talk a little bit about how you do that as a leader.

Stephanie Cohen:
Yeah. I love it and it’s the advice I give people all the time. When I started as chief strategy officer, I had, of course that realization that you said exactly, which is okay, I’ve been at Goldman Sachs 17, 18 years and I’ve been sitting in the investment bank and I’ve learned a lot, but there is a lot about what we even do at Goldman Sachs that I don’t understand. And then to your point, the clients and the customers in those businesses that we’re ultimately serving. I went on a listening tour. I did that internally and I also did it externally. It was a pre-COVID time period. Actually, I got on a plane a lot. And it kind of reminds you of how important getting on a plane and seeing people in person and experiencing them in their environment really is. And so I did that.

I did a lot of it and a couple of other things that I just think are a little bit of tricks in doing this. And I love learning. My mom’s a teacher and it’s just something. I’m a lifelong learner. But I would sit in meetings and just be like, “I’m sorry, I’m just going to ask this from the most basic level.” And to this point of financial services being really complicated, I think lots of people sit in a lot of meetings and everyone else thinks that everyone else understands something and they actually don’t. And so I would be that person that was like, “Please just explain this to me from the base level.” And when you get to that base level, you actually start to understand not only the products and how they’re all executed, but how it affects an end customer.

And so I did that and I mirrored that with my people. And that really created an environment where no one’s afraid to ask kind of the dumb question, because Stephanie’s always asking the dumb question because I really wanted to learn. And in this new role in particular, but I was doing some of this as chief strategy officer, but now doing much more of it, I think you really have to figure out how you can listen to customers directly. And the question is, how do you do that at scale? There’s the customer calls, which I love listening to. Some of my favorite ones have been, we created a customer assistance program right as COVID was starting to help people so that they could defer loan payments and credit card payments and just listening to why it mattered to them. How we set it up made it easier for them and then how it affected their lives going forward.

And by the way, how it made them actually better customers over time, because we got them through a really tough period. There’s just so many things that you learn from the richness of those individual conversations. But by the way, you can’t do that always at scale. And so the next question is, how do you listen to the data? How do you look at the data in a way that really helps you? And so now one of the things, we’ve tried and a new skill actually inside of Goldman, which is this experimentation. Figuring out how what you’re doing is affecting people.

And one of the things that we kind of put out there in the wild was this idea of being able to pay your credit card bill multiple times a month in the Apple cart. And also, we didn’t really know exactly what that was going to look and feel like, but what we figured out is actually people really do like it. And we think it does help people better manage their finances. That’s not something anyone told us to do so we didn’t listen in terms of having a conversation, but we watched the way that customers are interacting with our product and we’re learning from that.

Listening is the most important thing that I do. I’m doing it every day. We do it internally. We do it externally. And the last thing I’ll say on it is I love going to visit our offices outside of the US particularly in places like Asia, because they’re in a different place as it relates to the development of financial services. There are places where they’re ahead and there are places where they’re behind and actually seeing that in a different environment, I think is another really interesting way to listen to what the world may become and to listen to ways that we can do things differently and better.

Jennifer Tescher:
We could have a whole conversation you and me, just on this topic so let’s do that another time. I really enjoyed hearing about how you go about listening. You also have mentioned to me before that when you became the chief strategy officer, the very first book you read was The Unbanking of America. And I have to say, I was a little bit surprised that that was the book you chose. Tell me more about that choice and sort of what you’ve learned from it.

Stephanie Cohen:
Yeah, I think it’s this idea of being a learner. It was in some respects kind of an embarrassing realization to have worked in financial services for almost two decades and to realize that I didn’t understand how the financial system operated and there were really complicated parts of the financial system that I understood from a capital markets perspective, but from a day to day, how does an average American experience the financial services system? I really felt like I hadn’t learned it. And so I found the book and it was incredibly interesting, but also devastating in so many different ways, because it was very clear that the financial system was not working for most people. And so, while there’s a lot of sadness in that, we’re hopefully, the idea is turning that into opportunity.

My team, I talk about this all this time, it’s getting to yes way, which is you see a problem and instead of showing up with a problem, you show up with a solution and you work your way through the solution. And so reading The Unbanking of America was kind of an emotional journey for me, which was that I can’t believe I don’t know this. Wow, this is so devastating. And then, we’re going to be part of fixing this and we’re going to have to work with a lot of people to fix it because the financial system is this intertwined organism. And so we’re not going to do that on our own. And there are so many different organizations and Jen, your organization is one of them where, how can we all work together to try to fix this?

Jennifer Tescher:
Yeah. I love that you had that visceral experience from the book and particularly given the role you’re in now. And it will be interesting to think about how you leverage your vast capabilities and capital. I suspect that there’s only so far a brand like Marcus can go in terms of meeting the needs of underserved consumers. And so I would expect that some of this will end up being, as you said, not necessarily directly, but through partners. Do you have any ideas or things you’ve thought about in terms of how to leverage your capabilities in this regard?

Stephanie Cohen:
Yeah, I think that is, as we think about these two self reinforcing strategies that we’re pursuing consumer, that’s one of the I think the really hopefully great ideas we have around it. Which is that there’s a specific type of customer that’s the Marcus customer. And hopefully again, that’s millions of customers that we will speak to and we can be helpful to. But then there are customers that are General Motors customers and that are Apple customers and that that’s much broader and what do they need? And how can we serve them? And how can we serve them where they are with the capabilities of Goldman Sachs?

Because maybe the content, or for example, we have something called Marcus Insights, which helps people aggregate their accounts and really provide insights into how they’re spending their money and better budget. And there’s a way to do that for a Marcus customer, but maybe there’s over time a different way to do that for a General Motors customer or others that we partner with. And so I do think this idea of bringing the best of Goldman Sachs, this corporate franchise and the relationships we have with those brands and then taking these in many cases, digital capabilities we’ve built in the consumer business and embedding them into those ecosystems in a way that serves their customers, I think is one of the ways that we can access this much broader audience.

Jennifer Tescher:
Well, this is one of the most exciting versions of quote unquote embedded finance that I’ve heard about in a long time. I’m excited to see how that develops. Now I have to turn the conversation a little bit back to you for a minute, because you’re a lifer at Goldman Sachs. You went there right out of graduating from the University of Illinois and you’ve experienced a tremendous amount of success. I mentioned at the top, you’re the youngest member of the bank’s management committee. You’re one of the few women who’s risen to that level. Talk to me a little bit about how that’s happened. Certainly you’re gifted and talented. I suspect there’s also something to it about the moment we’re living in, the era we’re living in. And how do you feel about essentially being a change agent in this way?

Stephanie Cohen:
I’m going to start by saying that I’ve gotten to where I am today because there are amazing people inside of Goldman Sachs and outside of Goldman Sachs who have been tremendously helpful to me. I often say that feedback is a gift and I had a lot of people who gave me a lot of feedback along the way. And I thought a lot about this because as you change into a new role, you have to think about what are the things that have helped you to be successful? And then how do you take that into your next role? Because you can’t do things exactly the same way. And I talked to you about three things that I think have helped me and the teams around me be successful.

One is this mindset about making everyone around you better and that we’re kind of better together and it’s this really focused teamwork partnership orientation that I think I learned at Goldman Sachs. I’m certain that I had it before, but it’s really deeply ingrained in the Goldman Sachs culture, but I happen to naturally be, I guess what Adam Grant would describe as a giver. I didn’t have that term before, but as a giver. Meaning I end a lot of conversations with, “How can I be most helpful to you?” And I do try to give people really direct feedback because I think it’s the way to make them better in their own careers. And so I think that I’ve learned over time that while being an individual contributor and being really fantastic at what you do, actually the way to really get stuff done is make everyone around you better. And so I would really, I would kind of exclamation point on that point.

The second thing is this kind of get stuff done attitude. It’s funny because as chief strategy officer, people do this, “Do you sit around and just have really big thoughts?” No, ideas are really nice, but it’s about execution. And when I was in my role as chief strategy officer, we created this thing called Accelerate, which we call our internal innovation engine. What it really was, was it was where people went when they had really great ideas and they just wanted to get it done. And so this real focus on execution, which I no doubt learned by being a mergers and acquisitions banker inside of Goldman Sachs.

And then the last thing was what we’ve already talked about, which is being super curious and kind of asking a million questions and really want to learn things from the base level. Ultimately, I think that’s, to your point on this moment in time, I think we’re in a place where the world is changing so fast that knowing every single about history is important. And my mom who is a history teacher at some point and really cares about history and I love history and read it. It’s important, but the world is changing so fast that just being someone who analyzes what’s happened historically and trying to put that on the future, I think doesn’t really work. And I do think we’re in this moment of have a lot of people around, have them continuously getting better, be focused on execution and kind of getting stuff done, but being constantly learning in the process. I do think we’re in this moment where that’s this really perfect combination for the type of world that we’re in. By the way, that’s only been sped up over the last year or so, given everything that’s gone on.

Jennifer Tescher:
Yeah. I’m a big question asker too. I’m actually a former journalist. And I think in some ways, this podcast is an outgrowth of my curious nature. You, it turns out I learned, were once a competitive figure skater growing up. How has that influenced you? Or what lessons have you taken from that and in your leadership roles at Goldman?

Stephanie Cohen:
So much. In so many ways. One, it’s this kind of practical thing, which is that if you’re a competitive figure skater and you’re going to school and you’re trying to do other things, you’re waking up for the 5:45 AM skating, skating before school, going to school, skating after school, getting homework done. You pack a lot into a day. And so I think it’s this, how do you do that in a way where you’re excelling at things and doing something that you really love, but combining it with all the other things that you have going on in your life and balancing it. I think I learned that at a really young age.

Second, in kind of a funny way, there’s not much things that are hard and scary after you’ve lived with the you alone center of the ice, audience in front of you, judges behind you, couple of minutes to do something that you’ve practiced for hours upon hours. Not much is scary after that.

And then, I think the most important thing is this idea of being willing to try and realize in the act of trying it’s not going to be perfect right away. And so in skating you fall all the time. I used to get off the ice from practices and be soaking wet because you just are cleaning up the ice falling because it’s the only way to learn a new skill. And I remember these moments of falling really hard and your parents, your coach is like, “Oh my. Wow. Are you okay?” And being really happy because you could tell that you were almost there. You’re just one more inch and I would have landed that jump. And so kind of being happy with that rather than it being a negative, it being a positive I think it’s one of the most important life lessons and figure skating teaches you that in spades.

Jennifer Tescher:
Stephanie Cohen, culture builder, lifelong learner, thanks so much for joining me on Emerge Everywhere.

Stephanie Cohen:
Thanks, Jen.

Jennifer Tescher:
This has been EMERGE Everywhere, a Financial Health Network production. I’m Jennifer Tescher, and I’d love to hear your ideas for future guests and your reactions to the show. You can connect with me on Twitter @JenTescher. If you liked this episode, please review the show and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. To learn more about the work and research we do, please visit emerge.finhealthnetwork.org. See you next time.

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