And also play to your weaknesses. I think that time and again, we hear people say, "Play to your strengths, play to your work strength." Well, I think actually play to the thing that you're doing most. If you're tweeting, don't be mad at yourself about doing that, figure out a way to monetize it, figure out a way to be a Twitter ambassador. Or if you are potentially interested in a fashion brand, and you find yourself on their site all the time, don't hate yourself for it, contact that company, and ask them to be a brand ambassador. I think having the right bit of chutzpah, and asking for things is the recipe to not feeling depressed by all the jobs numbers and student debt.
Has that chutzpah helped you succeed? Any stories you could share?
Yes, I think chutzpah is my middle name. For my first internship, I was shuffled around through HR because I was too young, and I finally showed up at Asa Aaron's desk, and I said, "I'm your summer intern." He said, "If you could get through NBC's security, I'd say you're a good intern." So I cut through the red tape of everybody telling me no, that I was too young, and I just went and asked for it.
I didn't have a Rosetta Stone for financial information, which I hope to be, but I had a lot of chutzpah. I was in high school and my boyfriend said that he wanted to be a hedge-fund manager, and I just smiled and nodded, and I was like, "That's great, you want to be in gardening, babe."
Obviously, you've come a long way since then. How did you learn about Wall Street and investments?
I begged a broadcasting company in Chicago to put me on the air in Milwaukee because I thought that was a big market, and I would take the train from Northwestern and do whatever I could do be on the air. They said there was a new business station they'd opened in Chicago. Did I know anything about business? I was like, "I will learn." I was 16 or 17 at the time. And so I was thrown on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and there's no way to fake it there. I learned very quickly. And then I came up to CNBC, talking about the wonkiest of wonky macroeconomic finances on a global show on CNBC. So I learned the language, I taught myself.
In my family, we didn't grow up reading the Wall Street Journal. I grew up in an immigrant household, and we didn't talk about that stuff. My girlfriends didn't talk about money, so it's always like a dirty little secret, a taboo. And so I wanted to break that, break the cycle.
What's your advice for other young people on learning these concepts?
Join the conversation. Stop smiling and nodding. And I think to really be educated on some of the terms that are thrown around not only in business news, but in general news.