Hey! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, it’s much appreciated! We love to read inspiring stories from millennial women in the workforce doing what they love. I’ll let you start by introducing yourself.

Hi! My name is Lisa. I was born and raised in New York, lived half of my life in Florida, and am currently enjoying residency in California (long story short). I am a proud Puerto Rican and Dominican-American, a life-long Alum Knight, and a former Teacher, learning an entirely new trade, because I can =)

What do you do for a living?

I work in banking compliance and help conduct fraud and anti-money laundering investigations.

How long have you been in that industry?

I’ve been in this field for approximately 1-½ years.

What were you doing before your current role?

Can you believe I was teaching prior to this?! I’m grateful for my teaching background and contribute a great part of who I’ve become to my teaching experience; however, it’s not often you hear of such a career transition. The looks on my co-workers faces can attest to that every time I am asked about my previous role.

Latina woman with white blazer on laptop

What inspired you to change career paths?

This touches a soft spot for me. The journey from “Teacher to Wall Street” so-to-speak was a long and emotional one (I’ll get into that later). Ultimately, my inspiration came from God, who showed me endless signs until I finally said yes to fear and made the drastic decision to uproot my life from Florida to New York, initially.

During this time, I met my now boyfriend who had recently made a career change and was given a short notice to move to Maryland from Florida. Watching him through his career change inspired me to take more risks, and so I did.

Subsequently, a best friend of mine who is also in the AML field and had journeyed with me through my college years and beyond, took me under her wing, mentored me, and helped me land a job approximately five months after my big move.

“God works in mysterious ways! “

All in all, I felt stagnant at a time in my life which stemmed from my personal desires of what I wanted out of life, with respect to all careers and ones personal ambitions. I was once inspired to be a teacher and so I was… but guess what I’ve learned along the way? It’s okay to change your mind! And the reality is that we never really leave a role behind-we use everything we have learned to become better versions of ourselves and that’s my inspiration today.

Latina woman with black shirt that says I love God

What were the challenges you faced during your transition and was it worth it?

This transition brought many challenges but it brought a lot more enlightenment, so YES, it was worth it! If I could sum it all up in one word, the word would be FAITH. People thought I was crazy when I explained that I would be leaving my career as a teacher, moving back to New York from Florida with no confirmed job, getting rid of everything in my apartment, driving to The Big Apple with anything I could fit in my car, and venturing off for the life I pictured for myself.

Yes I know, that was pretty drastic but that’s what faith is all about – the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen and often our faith is tested in both little and grand ways.

I’m not sharing this to advise anyone to change careers this way but it was my story and what I needed to do to make sure I didn’t fall back into the routine of the life I comfortably created for myself.

So to get down to the nitty-gritty, this career change came with financial and emotional challenges. I was jobless for five months and ran out of everything I saved – all while trying to water my relationships, including new/long distance love. This experience changed me and as a result changed the dynamic of some of my friendships (which in return taught me a lot as well).

Latina woman on laptop

What kind of skills did you have to develop to be successful in this industry?

Remember when I mentioned,  “we never really leave a role behind”? The reality is that the foundational skills I needed to become great at my job today and most- if not all jobs, I already portrayed and had tons of experience utilizing, thanks to teaching! Some of those skills are problem-solving, multi-tasking, and being detail-oriented/organized.

Other skills include implementing yearlong AML training and development and banking policies and procedures on a day-to-day. I am learning every day and sometimes my brain hurts but I love the challenge and growth that comes with it.

What advice would you give to someone looking to transition in their career?

I would say there’s a reason you’re looking into changing careers and its important to shut the noise from the world out and tap into what that means and what that dream will look like for you- the good and bad. If you’re a person of faith, pray and wait diligently but keep moving in the direction of your dreams. Do one thing a day to get to where you want to be.

Most importantly, make a plan and stick to it! Do not get weary when things don’t go your way. Sometimes “failure” is necessary, but I don’t see anything as a failure really- You either win or you learn. Keep learning (P.s. I used to tell my students that last part) and never forget where you came from!

Lastly, how do you and your guy find success as a couple while still achieving your career goals?  

Here’s how… we crush life together one step at a time, one day at a time! 

Lisa on Instagram!

Readers – Have you recently made a drastic career change that caused you to pack up and move to a different city or state? If yes, what was the inspiration and was it worth it? 

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