Inspirational Female Leaders Series # 2~ Kara Perez, Founder Bravely

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After graduating from college in 2011, Kara Perez had $25,302 in student loan debt and no job to speak of. She went on to pay off her student loan with creative side hustles including starting a blog to help her track and attempt to budget and repay her debt.

Since paying off her debt she has gone on to found Bravely Go, they hold financial in person financial literacy events as well as provide online tools to help women take control of their money.

She is deeply passionate about increasing rates of financial literacy among women and works to give women the tools they need to get the pay they deserve, organize their money and control their finances.

Kara's writing on financial topics has been published on sites like Business Insider, Learnvest, and Elite Daily.

Whenever she feels imposter syndrome creeping in she keeps a list of things she has accomplished taped to her wall to remind herself that she’s got this!

“I keep a list of things that I have done that I’m proud of taped to my wall. When I feel like an imposter I look at it and think ‘damn, I’m the one who did those things. I can do this thing.”

What kind of problem is Bravely Go solving?

Bravely educated women about finance so that women can control their money. Money is power in our world, so understanding how to use it as a tool is critical to achieving gender equality.

What did those first steps look/feel like? (for example: the first 6 months)

The first steps are had to take, because you have no idea what you’re doing. For me, I started hosting events around financial topics right away. My biggest concerns were finding spaces to host events at and getting them marketed towards my target audience.

What has been the biggest contribution to the success of bravely?

Definitely being accessible at the events I host and interacting with people on social media and email. Money is very personal, so people want to talk to me one on one, whether in person after I speak or DMing me on Instagram. Really taking the time to listen and respond has shown my audience I really care about them and helped them to trust and follow me.

Do you have a favorite failure? What lessons did you learn?

I don’t think I have a favorite failure! I fail all the time, but you just keep moving. Sometimes I think an Instagram post will do well and it doesn’t. Sometimes I think an event topic will sell well and it doesn’t. You take stock of what happened and you make changes next time.

How do you define leadership? Or, what does being a leader mean to you?

I think being a leader is about being inspirational and about doing hard work. Good leaders are the ones who know the work they’re asking other people to do inside out. It’s the restaurant owner who also washed dishes in the opening days. Being a leader is about saying ‘I see the way forward, and I will help us all get there.

Do you have a mentor? How did you go about acquiring one?

I don’t have a mentor, but I think women SHOULD have one. Find women in the area you want to be in, and network.

What should women be doing more of to foster leadership skills?

To practice leadership is to foster leadership. If you’re reading this in college, try and lead a group project. If you’re at your first job right now, ask for an new project and be the lead. We learn best by doing.

Have you ever felt imposter syndrome, and how did you combat it?

Of course! We all do. I keep a list of things that I have done that I’m proud of taped to my wall. When I feel like an imposter I look at it and think ‘damn, I’m the one who did those things. I can do this thing.

What do you do when you're feeling "overwhelmed"?

I step away from the thing that’s overwhelming me. When I’m anxious or feeling overwhelmed, I lean away. There’s no point in wasting time and energy by wallowing in it. I find something else to do or think about and come back to it later.

What is one quote you live your life by?

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

What are you reading right now?

‘Profit First’ and "When We are Bold’

If you had one tip or life advice, or mantra to share, what would it be?

Hard work will go a long way, but smart work will go further. You don’t have to break your back for companies that don’t care about you, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to contribute to the world.

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