Individual Success Story
“Joining Women in Finance, I started taking care of myself. The women in the cohort inspired me. Since I’ve started going to Fresh Start, I’ve changed my habits.”
It’s not every day that scrolling through Facebook changes a life. But for Patricia, one night looking aimlessly through her feed, was the spark she needed to get the future she always wanted.
A few months before that fateful night, Patricia was involved in a car accident that left her anxious and lowered her self-confidence.
“I felt like I was letting fear consume me because I legitimately thought every single car was going to hit me. The fear of, ‘here I go failing again on my kids,’” she said.
“My whole self-esteem just went down, and I thought, Thank God, I didn’t have my kids with me that day or Thank God, I didn’t take the smaller car that I usually drive. It got to the point of knowing I need to change. It just took that one click with Fresh Start to open my eyes.”
“One click on Fresh Start’s Facebook ad, and there was hope,” she continued. “The ad couldn’t have come at a better time. I was just passing my days with no motivation. Then I saw the ad, Are you interested in learning? and I clicked it and boom.”
To Patricia, the ad, which publicized Fresh Start’s Women in Finance program, felt like a massive coincidence because she had always wanted to make the jump from her career in the healthcare field to the finance industry.
“Everything was going kind of wrong (when I found Fresh Start),” Patricia recalled.
Patricia had a vision for her career, but she knew she needed that extra support in her corner to accomplish her goals. She applied to the Women in Finance cohort that night, thinking what’s the worst that can happen?
“I knew that the (Women in Finance) program would open up doors,” she said.
To Patricia’s delight, she was accepted into the first-ever Women in Finance cohort in late July 2023. She and her classmates would participate in the eight-week course, attending class every single day at Fresh Start in downtown Phoenix. Upon graduation, Fresh Start would host an interview day with local banks looking to hire employees.
“Learning about the program was amazing because now it’s like I’m here. I finished. It’s been eight weeks. I thought I wasn’t going to finish.”
Once the course began, Patricia’s trials didn’t simply disappear. Coming to class every day posed a major test for her.
“Driving here was a challenge because the year before I had been rear-ended and that took a mental toll, it affected me mentally. I didn’t want to drive out here (to Fresh Start). I was getting anxiety about the long drive. I was like, ‘Oh my God, do I really have what it takes to go?’ But I thought, I gotta do it, and I credit Fresh Start for lifting me up and empowering me to get where I’m at right now.”
“If you were to see me at my lowest point, that’s not me. But when you step through those Fresh Start doors, there’s people here who are always helping. That’s what it’s all about, and I’m so glad I found Fresh Start because it honestly uplifted my chances of getting hired and learning more about the banking industry. It also helped tremendously with my driving anxiety– it pushed me out there,” Patricia continued.
The benefits of simply being within Fresh Start’s doors trickled into other areas of Patricia’s life during her eight weeks in the Women in Finance cohort.
“After being rear-ended, my confidence changed a lot because I wasn’t eating as healthy, I wasn’t exercising, I wasn’t doing any of that. When I was checking out the Fresh Start website, I saw the empowerment for women course and classes for nutrition, and seeing all of that, I thought, What am I doing? Why am I not focusing on myself anymore? It’s always that I’m taking care of the rest of my family. But joining Women in Finance, I started taking care of myself. The other women in the cohort inspired me. Every day, they would show up dressed to the max and I thought, I want to be like that. I didn’t use to think, Let me prep something healthy. And now since I’ve started Women in Finance, I’ve changed my eating habits,” she said.
“Every single person that I have seen at Fresh Start, there is always a smile on their face. And I like that because back in the day, I used to be the one doing that. I stopped smiling as much after that accident.”
Patricia’s participation in the cohort opened new conversations about self-worth, confidence, and empowerment with her teenage daughter, who has taken notice of how Patricia now treats herself with more love and grace.
“My daughter said, ‘Why are you so empowered now?’ Patricia laughs as she recalls. “And I told her, ‘You don’t realize the generational curves that I had to come through.’ Even my own mom would say, ‘Why didn’t you finish high school? Why’d you have to get married so fast? Why’d you have a kid again? You were this close to finishing.’ I told my daughter, ‘I don’t want to be like that with you. I want to encourage you and empower you because in the end, I don’t want you to depend on anybody. I want to see you thrive and know that you succeeded because of me. Because I finally took care of myself.’”
On the second to last day of the eight-week cohort, Patricia was interviewed by several local banks looking to fill part- and full-time positions in Phoenix. She accepted an offer and is now working at BMO as an Associate Banker!
Patricia was interviewed on 12 News and has been busy sharing her inspiring story to help empower other women to go after their career dreams.
“I’ll be completely honest with you, I thought being an Associate Banker (teller) was going to be a bit boring but wow, it’s so much fun and exciting. I truly am enjoying my position at BMO!
We’re excited to also include the update that Patricia shared she now needs to update her budget again to account for her higher wages!
Watch Patricia’s interview with 12 News below!