I’m excited to bring you this interview with author Cin Fabré. This was a bit of a pivot for me on my podcast, Modern Mentor as I typically interview business authors. But Cin’s new memoir, Wolf Hustle: A Black Woman on Wall Street, was a story too compelling to pass up.
Cin Fabré is a New Yorker born and raised in the South Bronx and Queens. At the age of nineteen, she joined a brokerage house on Wall Street, eventually becoming a high-earning broker at a top firm, before leaving in search of a more meaningful life. Cin wasn’t “SUPPOSED TO” end up on Wall Street as one of the few Black women in finance. But in this memoir, she describes the journey that took her there. She shares what it felt like so often being the only Black woman in rooms full of White men, how she learned to use her differences as a competitive advantage, and how she claimed a seat and used her voice at every table she sat at.
I was moved by Cin’s story and I took a beautiful blend of insight and inspiration from our conversation.
As a black woman on 1990’s Wall Street, I certainly wasn’t supposed to be there.
I refused to accept that. Why couldn’t I have a seat at the table? If I wasn’t gonna receive an invitation I was gonna keep showing up until a seat was made available for me. I showed up to the boardroom every day with an, ‘I have nothing to lose’ mindset. And that was as strong as a White man’s privilege.
If I’m different, I’m actually at the advantage.
The disadvantages anyone tells you that you may have are not necessarily your own. It could be someone else’s that they feel. And I think always in my life that I’m different, I’m actually the advantage. I can be the dark horse, I can be the person people don’t see coming. And so for me, that excited me. When I saw these guys, I’m like, ‘Oh, this is great. I have an opportunity to do something different and just be represented where I should be.
This described how Cin felt as a young woman in the 1990s, and decades later her perspective remains unchanged.
We have to seize and create opportunities
People like the comfort of having something they’re familiar with. And it’s scary to try something different because we don’t know if we’re gonna fail or if we’re gonna have success and how long it will last. And I’m all about just seizing the opportunity.
As a kid, Cin was always the first to volunteer—didn’t matter what was being asked! She jokes that sometimes it was a great opportunity and other times it was…not so much. But it didn’t matter. Because sitting with the fear of discomfort would hold her back from chances she didn’t want to miss.
I don’t wanna take the time to know what that is. I’d rather just the feelings I’m feeling, but at least I’m not sitting on the sidelines wondering. So create your own excitement and create your own story!
We need to own our whole stories—not just the shiny parts
Though Cin’s story is all about Cin, make no mistake, she is not always the hero. She shares anecdotes in which she’s not the one you’re likely rooting for. But she’s reflected a great deal and here’s what she shared.
The way to write a story for me and anyone that’s trying to tell [their story] is they consider the truth. I share the good, the bad and ugly. How could I write a story like this and just put myself in this light where I did everything right and I was led astray? No, there were times I knew what I was doing, but I made a decision based on the information I had and what I thought I needed to succeed. I’m a human being and I think that’s what is gonna come through at the end of the day.
So what do we need to take away?
As we began to close, I asked Cin for some of the pearls of wisdom she hopes readers take from her book. Here are just a few I took with me:
- Follow your passion. Life is too short to do something awful.
- Laugh at yourself. Every day.
- Reward yourself for a job well done.
I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Cin Fabré. And if you did enjoy our exchange, trust me when I say her writing is gorgeous, and you should grab a copy of her book, Wolf Hustle: A Black Woman on Wall Street.