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Female Disruptors: Angelica Prescod On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

I’m intentionally accessible to people at whatever income level they are at. I give them actionable items that they can use to improve their financial future. I enjoy proving the fact that at every income level you can find your ideal client.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Angelica Prescod.

Angelica Prescod is a top black female financial advisor and expert in complex management and generational wealth building located in Scottsdale, Ariz. She is actively disrupting the norm by increasing financial literacy across multiple cultures and wealth demographics. Prescod is a key leader and influencer nationwide and is heralded for her expertise in the financial planning industry.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Initially, I believed my life’s purpose was to be in the medical field. However, due to my father’s illness and untimely death, I found myself being asked to step in and increase our family’s financial literacy. When only one parent is left, and their death is looming, there’s a sense of urgency concerning loose ends and the drive to protect the next generation is great. Thanks to my mother, who told me I could achieve anything and everything I set my mind to, I took a leap of faith and pursued a completely different industry in my 20s. I decided to take a risk in 2007 and entered the financial industry right before the market had its worst crash in history. Even with everything going wrong in unprecedented numbers, I pressed through, learning and leaning into the knowledge gained through this market disruption. Now, as an expert in my industry, I’m glad it all happened that way.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Intentional accessibility is my focus. I believe everyone can win. We can all be financially free. If everyone could have the opportunity to work, yet not need the income they’re generating from work, their world would be infinitely changed for the better. Now if by default, people were already wealthy or are on their way to sustainable wealth, what would that look like? If generational wealth planning was a default scenario for everyone, and every family was able to know their ABCs when it came to money management, it would level the playing field. If you can make it through 2nd grade, financial literacy is already instilled.

I’m intentionally accessible to people at whatever income level they are at. I give them actionable items that they can use to improve their financial future. I enjoy proving the fact that at every income level you can find your ideal client. Your smallest account can refer your biggest account and your biggest account can refer you the smallest account that may have more impact to business than any of your largest accounts. We need not measure a person’s worth based on their current net worth.

My goal is to humanize my industry, to make this conversation available and proactively presented to every wealth demographic in a way that causes action.

We won’t check the box when it comes to building true equality and equity until financial literacy can be achieved by all demographics. I believe that if someone’s willing to learn and act on sound advice, it should be available to them. Tailor-made solutions are irrelevant to a client’s educational choices or previous financial choices. I choose to meet my clients where they are and help them be financially free.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

He was an OBGYN and his nature reminded me very much of my father, who had passed away years ago. I was afraid to offer my services and for three years never approached the conversation, even though working with him would feel like an atonement towards wishing I could have been my parents’ financial advisor.

So, I stayed afraid when it came to him, even while growing my practice and accomplishing many goals for my clientele. By the fourth year, I mustered the courage to ask him if he could benefit from my services. “I would have done business with you years ago if you had just asked,” he said. Hindsight, I was afraid of nothing at all. We’ve now been together for over a year and he still makes jokes about it. I use this experience as an example to remind myself, “no matter what, no matter who, always let them know what you do.”

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

There are so many people who were part of my journey. Some are still alive and some are long gone, but their impact is still felt today. Individuals like Kim Covington, Summer Fausette, Robin Reed, Vanessa Halim, Crista Johnson Agbakwu, Alyssa Harper, Rodney Bahr, as well as many others, played a huge role in helping me walk through my journey from point A to now.

It was one of my worst days. I swore I could no longer continue in this industry. I had the sequential hell week and previous to that I probably had six months of the worst luck ever. I was up to my head in reasons why I should leave the business and every attempt to find a positive light ended up in chaos again and again and again. Then my mentor came by to visit. She always seems to come at the best time and in my worst moments. After I vented for three hours, she asked me the simple question, “so what’s next?” That’s when I learned that instead of focusing on the problem I need to focus on solutions.

After that moment, every complaint, every problem, every chaotic opportunity I had in my life impacted me differently. I started looking at — and reacting to — life differently. This changed how my career went from then on, it even changed my personal relationships. I can comfortably say that my life today is a direct result of that moment. I know my future took a completely different direction after that day.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disruption has no benefit when it’s there for the noise and not the action of the activity. The idea of disruption can sometimes come across as something that creates attention but it doesn’t always lead to positive results the disruption was intended to achieve. We are on this Earth to create disruption. Disruption creates an action that changes a future for the better and helps boost the empowerment of others.

If we were to offer financial literacy at the elementary school level, but only provide it to districts in high-income areas, we have missed the mark. Even though there’s disruption, it’s not equally attainable. Also if the lesson in financial literacy is explained in a way that it is not truly actionable for the individuals learning from it, again this disruption has missed its mark.

If these classes were given not only to elementary schools in high net worth districts, but to all individuals at all elementary schools across the entire country and the lessons were given in such a way that even the lowest denominator could understand what was being taught, now we’re truly creating a good disruption. Knowledge, opportunity for a solution, and a process to act on the solution where many actually do good it is a positive disruption. The results will not only be seen immediately but they’ll be generationally felt.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

  1. Always apply. You can do anything you set your mind to. This is how I came to Edward Jones in the first place. This was not my dream job. It was my dream and duty to understand the topics covered by this career but I didn’t grow up wanting to be a financial advisor. This required an instilled truth passed on by my mother, “you can do anything, but are you willing to pay the price to do it?” She loved making sure we knew nothing was free. There’s a fee for excellence and it’s paid for every single day irrelevant of what you see before you. As the first black female captain in the Panama Canal, she didn’t just preach it, she lived it. She died of cancer when I was in my preteen years, nevertheless her guidance gave me the courage to reinvent myself. That was truly the courageous act. So, when my father, who then had cancer, asked the question, “could you do this?” My answer was ingrained, even before the question was asked. “Of course, I can! Anything for you, dad!”
  2. Never give up. You’ve come too far; we must break through the pain into the privilege of the victory. I found it quite common to be the only person that looked like me in a room of excellence. I remember being questioned many times throughout my career concerning the validity of my statements. But even so, I remember the words I received from those that came before me. “It’ll be 1,000 times harder to get into the room, and 10,000 times harder to stay in the room but whatever the price, take it gracefully because you’re on the shoulders of those that came before you. The price they paid gave you the opportunity to be even consider being in the room.”
  3. See it from their perspective. This sentiment leads the way I teach my financial literacy classes, the way I lead my team, my branch, my parenting, my relationships and my life. Each time I was asked to present about my expertise, I made sure to inquire about the audience. Once I know that, I can transcribe my information into their language and can present in a way that’s understandable. For example, explaining investments from the perspective of a carpenter involves understanding what carpentry is all about. Once I’m able to do that, every time the carpenter acts in his normal job, he’ll remember how it relates to investing and therefore be more interested in continuing the behavior necessary to build financial wealth. The same applies to my kindergarten teacher, my physicians and my engineers. Their business language becomes my language too. As a financial advisor I find it fun to explain my information in the customized way it applies to each of my client’s lives. Then the knowledge will last forever.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I believe in creating this type of customization for every individual who works in corporate America as much as individual business owners. I want this type of financial literacy to happen with a high emphasis on individuals who are going into athleticism as a career or entertainment. I believe there should be an emphasis on the lowest income earning community within the corporation as well as a higher income owner. If individuals could attend work and actually practice what their gifts are because they’re financially free, I think it will provide us all a better community to live in.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Women disruptors usually have to validate the right to be disruptive because there’s an innate assumption that a woman’s role is to raise a family. If the disruptions are not happening within the framework of a household or advocating for her children, anything outside of that range is seen as problematic. In the financial sector, being a woman, from a different country, with a different skin tone, a single parent, first in her family to be in this field, with a faster track and more success than most and being disruptive for the benefit of the underdogs, is not always looked upon kindly. It’s seen as rebellious, ungrateful, unsatisfied, restless and almost disrespectful. But that’s ok with me. I don’t mind that reputation. The more millionaires of every race and income level that we’ve got in this world, the better.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

Podcasts:

Pivot Play with Jerry A Thompson
The Community Collaborative with Robin Reed
Venus Clapback with Coco and the Muse
Girl, we need to talk with Charity Bailey
Of Sound Mind with Ashley LaRea

Books:
Next Move, Best Move: Transitioning Into a Career You’ll Love by Kimberly B. Cummings and Lindsey Pollak
Allies and Advocates by Amber Cabral

I heard for the first time that I was excellent in my field, irrelevant to my gender and race, from
a key leader who knew my reputation and accomplishments. It was the first time I felt like I was actually seen. After over a decade of making history in my field and firm, honing my craft with a relentless passion to help everyone willing to attain more freedom, I still didn’t feel seen. I made history as the first black woman to be a million-dollar producer in the history of my firm and still I didn’t feel seen. Until Robin Reed and Jerry Thompson said those words, “you’re one of the best, period!” I didn’t feel validated. It was mind blowing because I didn’t realize there was a lack of validation within me until the rush of emotions overtook me. I am worthy, but I still felt unknown by many.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I want to create a space for everyone to be educated in financial literacy. I want for the requirement of learning the ABCs and balancing a budget to be within the same framework. I want others to understand interest in compound growth in the stock market before the age of 10 and for those who may have not learned it for it to be a requirement while they work and participate at their jobs.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Always be curious and lead with love.” This prevented me from being afraid of breaking ceilings or approaching individuals that you would presume may not want to work with me. This freed me from any expectations or limitations that others may have imposed on me and allowed me to re-create myself over and over again for the sake of those I was trying to help. Leading with love opened my eyes and encourages me to never assess someone based on their current circumstances. I always look at a situation from the position of an opportunity and as if I was the only one available to help that individual. That’s leading with love. I’m trying to be the financial advisor I wish my parents had all those years ago.

How can our readers follow you online?

Angelica F Prescod, Financial Advisor | Edward Jones

Angelica Prescod | LinkedIn

Edward Jones — Financial Advisor: Angelica Prescod | Facebook

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

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