But the young woman, Fitts said, had reservations about accepting the position because “she told me when she showed up for the interview there were no women there,” Fitts said.

“I told her, ‘You have to take that job. We need you in that job,’” Fitts said. “And as the plane landed, I said bye and I thought to myself, uh, there is no mentoring for her and that was kind of the seed of me doing the podcast.

“We need more women in the leadership rank in financial services. And I just want to inspire, encourage and empower by bringing either examples of women who are badass working in the industry or people doing research around gender judo and women’s constrained emotional life in the work arena,” Fitts said.

“So when I am recording it, I am picturing that young woman in my head and thinking, ‘How can I help her to be successful? How can I bring resources and information and inspiration as well to women in this industry?”

Fitts said another reason for creating the podcast “was the need to validate women and what they are feeling in the industry because you are really isolated, and you wonder if you are crazy on some occasions. You just don’t get any feedback. You don’t know,” she said. 

Those feelings certainly resonated with her. Fitts became a little exhausted throughout her career in the financial services industry. While she enjoyed her roles, she couldn’t help but notice that the more she advanced, “there were no women in the room,” she said. “I started to be very aware of the limitations placed on me when I was at Standard Insurance,” she said. “They were doing strategy work and I was not at the table.

“I would come home and rail against it. Interestingly, my husband thought I was the problem. But then finally I think as the whole #MeToo thing started to happen, and when he heard about other women and what had happened to them, he began to understand that I was not the only problem. I work in a male-dominated industry,” she said.

Fitts said at that point, in order to survive, she actively began to manage her career. “I started looking at my job and asking myself, ‘How does my job serve me and how am I going to extract maximum value out of this?’” she said.

One of the things she did was to start a biweekly webinar series in 2008 at Standard, which she said gave her a platform and provided extraordinary value to the sales force and garnered her respect. At around the same time, Standard flattened its marketing operation, leaving her without a job. This, she said, gave her the chance to think about actively managing her career. “I started looking at my job and saying, ‘How does my job serve me and … what can I do?’” she said.

She invested in a business coach, which she noted was popular in the mid-2000s. “So by having a coach, I feel it really validated me. He was kind of like a business therapist focused and intent on growing my career,” she said.