Written By: Rzan Swaidan
Welcome to WFE’s inaugural news series where we will feature a member each month. This month meet Margaret Ceconi, founder of the WFE!
Read on to learn more about Margaret:
How did you get involved in the WFE and how long have you been a member?
I was part of a group of women in Atlanta in the late 80’s who wanted a forum that could provide mentoring and nurturing for women in professional services. There were many “good ol’ boys” groups that not only didn’t include women, but if they did, still did not treat women seriously in their professions.
So about 15 of us got together at someone’s home, and over cocktails, we strategized and came up with the outline for the WFE in 1989. The nickname for the group was “Deals on Heels”! Our first meeting had 35 women attending a lunch. The response from the men in our profession was quite interesting. They felt it was unfair that they were being excluded and felt like we were discriminating against them!
When I moved to Houston in 1994, there were no groups focused on women in this space, so Adrienne Bond and I started the Houston WFE Chapter. When I moved to Dallas in 1996, once again there were no women’s groups, so I started the Dallas Chapter in 1997.
So technically, I have been a member for almost 27 years!
What is your favorite thing about WFE?
Camaraderie! I have forged many business and personal relationships through WFE. I have not only gotten referrals for business, but also have been mentored by women in the group, and I have also provided mentoring. Some of my closest friends I have met through the WFE.
10 Quick Questions:
1. What was your first job?
I was a field examiner for Heller Financial in Chicago
2. What do you like most about your current job?
Helping CEO’s and CFO’s work through their financial distress. It lets me come up with creative solutions to solve their problems.
3. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Work twice as hard as anyone else (especially men), but always make sure the bosses know how much you are contributing. Pat yourself on the back to managers.
4. If you weren’t a Turnaround Consultant, what would you be doing?
If I won the lottery, I would do volunteering with girls organizations, like Girls, Inc, or YWCA.
5. Do you have any pets?
I have a high-maintenance cat named Maria.
6. What are you currently reading?
“The Little Road to Dribbling,” by Bill Bryson and “Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life,” by John Arden.
7. How do you handle stress?
By playing tennis, and binge watching TV.
8. What do you make time for no matter what?
Tennis (weekly), massages and facials (every four-to-six weeks), and girl time!
9. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am addicted to “Walking Dead” (the TV show)!
10. What “lesson from mom” do you still live by today?
Never leave the house without make-up, never run out of food at a party you are hosting, (my added rule is never run out of good wine either!).
11. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
This question for me should be what is the best advice I got and didn’t follow! LOL…
Unfortunately, it is that you have to play the politics and bite your tongue more often than you would like. Women do have to communicate and play the game differently than men, but I have always been more like a man in my communications, and unfortunately there is a double standard for women, and you can get penalized for that depending on the organization. Know the culture of your organization; if it doesn’t fit you, find one that does. Most organizations will not accept people who are outside of their “culture zone” regardless of how well you perform your job, or generate money for the company. Find one that values your unique set of qualities, personality and ethics.