We are celebrating our silver anniversary this Woman’s month.
hat is your favourite position?” “CEO.” – Lauren Conrad.
2021 marks the quadranscentennial anniversary of PBA Financial Services. In less pompous terms, it’s been 25 years since we have been up and running. Given its Women’s Month, it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate the silver anniversary of a company entirely made up of the fairer sex!
At PBA, we’ve enjoyed some great accomplishments and our fair share of challenging times that we’ve overcome and emerged stronger for. Therefore, we would like to spend this milestone honouring the trust-based relationships we’ve built with our clients and staff and celebrating 25 years of being part of an inspirational community and contributing to its story, that is, women in business.
As we celebrate our anniversary, we can’t help but get a little nostalgic and reflect on where we started, which helps us appreciate just how far we have come. It all began with Vivian, “the pit bull” Alcock, venturing out to single handedly establish her very own brokerage.
Her first clients consisted primarily of family and friends before she moved on to the arduous and intimidating method of cold calling and going from store to store at shopping centres. You have to commend her for her chutzpah.
From then on, PBA grew from one person working from her home office to a company made up of 13 women operating from a corporate office park. As we are celebrating 25 years of being operational this Women’s Month, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to ask Vivian a few questions about her experiences of being a female business owner.
What was the main challenge that you experienced as a female business owner?
Balancing personal and professional responsibilities. Like most women in the workplace, I was not just an entrepreneur or a career woman, but also a mother and a wife with countless other household responsibilities.
What’s more, in addition to having to balance my family roles with my duties as a financial advisor, as the owner of PBA, I have to run and oversee the day-to-day operations of the actual business. This includes managing a team as well as all business processes, systems and finances, you name it! It can get quite overwhelming at times.
What has been the greatest reward in your professional career?
My greatest reward would be getting the opportunity to educate and empower young women. We have staff members from all walks of life who each came to PBA with varying degrees of experience in the industry. It is a very proud moment when I step back and appreciate just how much each of us has learned and how far we’ve all come, myself included.
How do you think having an all-female team is beneficial in your industry?
As cliché as it may sound, it would have to be our teams’ sense of empathy. In cutthroat industries, empathy is often viewed as a soft skill that’s mistaken for weakness or passivity. But nothing could be further from the truth. Insurance is an extremely sensitive and emotional industry as, every day, we are helping our clients out when they are going through some of life’s worst events, be it death, disability, or illness. Our ability to genuinely put ourselves into clients’ shoes drives us to put their needs front and centre and assist them in any way we can.
How can you encourage more women to start their own company or pursue senior leadership roles in their career?
Firstly, don’t let the naysayers make you feel inferior for whatever reason. Prospective entrepreneurs or businesswomen will without a doubt receive comments from the peanut gallery that may cast doubt on their ability to be successful. Don’t let that deter you, and remember we all started from the bottom.
I find that women just starting their careers often question their abilities as they tend to compare themselves to people who have been practising their respective craft for years. You need to believe you are more than capable and be willing to put in the work.
Needless to say, it has been an exciting and a rollercoaster of a ride. So here’s to all our clients, staff, our fearless leader and another 25 years of promoting women in the workplace!
Phone: 011 803 9686