The Impact of the Investment Observer Experience: A Personal Testimony
by Zarriea Crawford
Hi! My name is Zarriea. I’m a senior at Wake Forest University and, more relevantly, a previous intern at She’s Independent. Prior to August of this year, I had no idea what She’s Independent or who Natalie was. Back in 2019, I joined Colorado-based Greenhouse Scholars, a scholarship organization made up of “a community of leaders using education to transform underserved communities in our backyard and around the world.” Fast forward to this year at our annual Summer Symposium where we had our first women-only session on the agenda, which was exciting in and of itself. As a rising senior on the cusp of job applications to enter the world of finance, I was especially drawn to the session topic “Navigating Power Dynamics” taught by our very own, Natalie Levy.
That hour was incredibly impactful for me. Whether it was learning about the power of silence and the importance of negotiations or just how astonishingly disparate the equity funding and board advisory gaps are, I found myself being exposed to real “life skills” and information that extended far beyond classroom usage. But nothing was quite as impactful to me as Natalie and her story. I don’t know if it was her long blonde hair and shiny gold belt- two things women in finance are looked upon poorly for– or her willingness to be completely vulnerable in a room full of strangers, but the introvert in me felt moved to hang back after the session and ask Natalie to be my mentor. A hearty but time-constrained conversation later and I was offered an internship!
Since my time with She’s Independent, I can confidently say that I have grown in unmeasurable ways. Prior to signing up for the Investment Observer program, I had little to no knowledge of what angel investing actually was. However, in just a few short months, I had the pleasure of sitting in on pitch meetings from some mission-driven and impactful companies, hearing the concerns of women in the working world about their own compensation packages, and seeing the very real ways angel investing changes people’s lives.
In college, I learned how to reconcile bank accounts and project sales, but I was never taught how to sell the most valuable asset I have–myself. Through the She’s Independent workshops, I feel equipped with the tools to advocate for myself, maximize my compensation, and path to success on my own terms. I am surrounded by women who are passionate about making an impact and creating real change for the women in their worlds, and that inspires me in ways I never knew I needed. As I reflect on my time with She’s Independent, I can only share my gratitude for the people I have met and knowledge I have gained. I will cherish them forever.
Zarriea Crawford comes from a background in banking, real estate, non-profit work, supply chain transportation & logistics, and most recently, an internship with She’s Independent. She is a rising senior at Wake Forest University majoring in finance with a minor in bioethics, humanities, and medicine. Prior to Wake Forest, Zarriea earned her AAS in accounting as well as another in business technology and has 5 business and accounting-related certifications. In her free time, Zarriea enjoys trying new restaurants, spending time with her friends and family, and adding to her candle collection.