Feb 21, 2020·4 min read
Continuing with our feature series on the members of TiE Boston, we spoke with TiE Boston Charter Member, Sangita Joshi Rousseau, a Financial Advisor at The Bulfinch Group, and what brought her to TiE Boston.
How did you get your start?
I grew up in Wellesley. I was actually the first one in my family to be born in the U.S. My parents came over from India in the late 60s. Until I was 12, we lived in Brookline and then we moved to Wellesley where I went to Wellesley High. I graduated from Boston University undergrad with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Business. I knew eventually I was going to go back and get my MBA, but I wanted to work for a little bit to get some experience and figure out what I wanted to do.
I was only 22 years old when I started as a financial advisor at Prudential Financial in Needham. When I started at Prudential, at the time there was me and one other woman in the entire office. It can be a challenge not only being young but being a young woman in a male dominated industry. From the start, I was building my own business. Originally when I took the job, I thought that I was going to be calling a list of existing clients or that there would be a process. I didn’t know that I’d be starting from scratch and cold calling. To me, it didn’t make sense. It was never the way that I had seen my parents do business.
When my parents came here in the late 60s, they formed their own little Indian community. Everything they did was referral based. Their attorneys, physicians, accountant, even the person they bought their first car from, were all people they had either met within the community or they were referred to by someone who was a friend. That was the way I learned to do business. I found it was more effective for me to get out and network to build those early relationships rather than call people I didn’t know.
How did you find TiE Boston?
Initially it was mostly my uncles, my dad’s friends, that were part of TiE. It was for an older generation, but really there weren’t a lot of professional organizations for South Asian women. At the time there was NetSAP, the Network for South Asian Professionals, and I was involved in that, but it was mainly a social organization. I was looking for a professional organization to join. A lot of people who were my parents’ friends had found a lot of traction with TiE Boston and I’d heard great things from them, so I started to go to the networking meetings.
What Initiatives were you involved with in TiE Boston?
TiE has changed so much over the last 20+ years. After a few years of trying to get involved and trying to network, I ended up working with the Executive Director of TiE Boston at the time to start doing TiE WIN events. There were a lot of women in professional positions that wanted to network together, which is why we thought it might be a good idea to have a separate women’s monthly or quarterly event. I ended up being the co-chair for many years of the TiE Initiative for Women. I think that was one thing that was different about TiE WIN, is that women didn’t have to be in the technology field, and there was a much wider net across industries.
Do you have advice for younger people who are starting their career and looking to build their own network?
I think the best advice is to just get involved. Over the twenty-two years I have been in the businesses, I have built it through networking. Friends that have become clients and clients that have become friends. If you can find a mentor, do so. A mentor should be someone that you can trust and look up to, who has done well in the industry that you’d like to excel in. Most people want to help young professionals. If you go and reach out to someone, very few people will say no. When you want to do something to help people, you will get something good back in return.
Also, I know it is cliché to say work-life balance, but it is one of the most important things for me in my life to have time with my children but to know that that I am growing a business that is also very important to me and helping people. There are days where it is hard. You can feel like you’ve heard “no” ten times in a row, but you have to know that after a while it is the law of large numbers; eventually you will have to hear a yes. You have to have faith that you put in the time and you put in the effort and you work hard, and you work with a good heart, eventually these things will work out. You have to know how to grow and learn from the people around you rather than being worried about being different.
Join us on March 5th for Women, Wealth & Wine to hear more from Sangita!