JWRP Sister Spotlight: Jennifer Sabin
After Jennifer Sabin graduated from college with a liberal arts degree, she bought a seat on the American Stock Exchange. It was the 1980s, and Jennifer was the youngest woman to own a seat in an environment that was mostly male. Some men refused to do business with a female broker, and others taunted her, “Go home and make babies.” But, Jennifer was determined to succeed. We spoke with Jennifer, founder of the Growth Management Group, about her tips for working in male-dominated industries and making bold, professional changes.
Why did you decide to travel with the JWRP to Israel?
When I learned about MOMentum, I was a single mother in my late 40s, my daughter was three, and I didn’t have a village that could step in to help. I knew that it would never be a good time to go, and yet, the trip was calling to me. It sounded like an amazing way to experience Israel, and so, I made it happen.
How did MOMentum impact you?
MOMentum impacted me in so many ways. I began studying Torah on a weekly basis with other women from all over the world. I also realized how important it is to be proactive. The majority of my consulting clients were always men; however, after my MOMentum experience, I started working with more women. This year, I am launching a nonprofit, which seeks to provide education and support for women who are starting or growing their businesses. Like the JWRP, the nonprofit’s concept is based on Jewish values. I hope to help build our next generation of Jewish wealth with women entrepreneurs, which will lead to civic engagement and charitable contributions.
What is your advice for women who work in male-dominated industries?
Thankfully, women have broken the glass ceiling in many, many fields. But, if you find yourself in a male-dominated industry — or even a male-dominated office — be the smart, savvy woman you are and use your voice and discernment. Also, please don’t apologize. Unfortunately, women tend to apologize a lot. Professional environments can be riddled with landmines and politics, so get to know the lay of the land. Do you have a game plan or are you waiting for someone else to decide what’s next for you?
Recognize that people’s attitudes toward you don’t always have to do with who you are as a person. Notice if you are internalizing or letting go of people’s responses to you. Are you willing to stand out? Use common sense and stay connected to your authentic self. Do not run on fumes; make sure that you do things that fill your tanks and give you energy. Recognize what you enjoy in your work and where you want to go with it.
What are some tips for women who want to revamp their careers?
The first step is to breathe. Many people decide what they want to do next based on what they don’t want or where they’ve already been. Instead, take a moment and look at what pulls you forward. Also, consider the following questions: What do you really want for your future? What’s causing you to revamp your career? What worked for you in your last job? What didn’t? If you are creating what’s next, really create it by design and not by default.
If you are looking to create something from scratch, share your initial ideas with someone who is unconditionally supportive. It is a vulnerable and raw stage. Once your ideas mature or you are ready to learn and grow rather than defend your ideas, solicit the opinion of people who may ask hard questions. You do not have to agree with them; however, be open and listen for the gold.
Finally, learn how to ask for what you want. Make requests. People may want to help — so let them!