Like many folks who graduated during the Great Recession, Arden's career didn’t start off like she had planned. After completing internships at Smith Barney (now Morgan Stanley) and Barclays Global Investors (now Blackrock), Arden was offered a full-time role at BGI – only to have it rescinded because of a hiring freeze before graduation. After months of applying to jobs all over the country, Arden networked into a role at Stanford University where she was managed entrepreneurship programs. Through this experience she discovered the world of marketing and SoFi, an early stage fintech startup.
Arden joined SoFi as an early member of their marketing team where she was responsible for running the social media, content marketing and PR. "And while founding a startup wasn’t (and still isn’t!) on my bucket list, the Silicon Valley urge to “”quit your job and start your own thing” still got me!", says Arden. Since 2014, Arden has spent most of her time working as a freelance content strategist and writer working for big institutions like Capital One and numerous fintech startups like True Link Financial. Today, Arden work with inclusive financial brands to get their solutions into the hands of people who deserve them.
Today, Arden serves as the Founder and Strategist at Firefly Advising. "My work is driven by a desire to live in a world where people are prioritized over profit, where freedoms are more valuable than free markets, and where financial anxieties are replaced by financial stability."
Firefly Advising is helping the companies who are aligned in this mission reach the people who deserve their solutions. They do this primarily through writing, messaging, and content strategy by uncovering what’s extraordinary about a brand, founder, product, or service and communicating it in a way that builds trust and drives action.
Arden believes in sharing stories, and most of her clients are in the mission-driven fintech space. She helps her clients tell stories, position their products, and communicate with potential customer throughout their customer journey.
She also leverages social media to share her opinions on how fintech can be used for good, along with sending out a newsletter. Arden believes that fintech has the power to make our world a better, more equitable place – but we must be intentional about what we’re building, who we’re building for, and what the real impact will be.
Arden is passionate about both writing and financial expertise, and brings the two together in her professional life, and has largely built her career on the unique intersection.
Arden is passionate about how people are using finance and economic principles for the good, like alternative forms of credit making borrowing money easier, or alternative forms of credit building that help people access better rates (like Esusu whose founders just won the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Trailblazers award at Fintech Nexus)
Arden believes in "Don’t worry about how everyone else does it, just do it in a way that feels right to you.”
More on Arden
Where you currently live: Brooklyn, NY
Family at home: Penelope (my cat), many houseplants, and a husband
Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC
Favorite hobby: Picnics in Fort Greene w/ pals!
Favorite show to binge: Parks & Rec, West Wing, Insecure, I’m Sorry (can’t pick just one!)
What's the best job decision you ever made?
Deciding to work for myself is the best career decision I’ve ever made – but I also know it is not one that everyone can make (I’m married to a well-paid software engineer, I can be on his insurance… partner privilege is real!) I love the flexibility and freedom, and I find that it allows me to spend more time on work I really enjoy.
As for my time “in-house” I would say that I’ve never regretted asking for what I want. This doesn’t mean I always got it – but you can’t get what you don’t ask for.
Can you tell us about a time someone encouraged you to try a task or take on a project you didn’t think that you would know how to do/or be good at?
Getting tasked with PR for SoFi was a “you want me to do what?!” scenario, but I knew I could probably figure it out. I connected with other experts in the field, attended a PR conference in SF and ended up securing more coverage than our agency had (all while juggling other responsibilities).
What is the most important lesson you have learned from a mistake you’ve made in the past?
When it comes to mistakes, I think my biggest lesson learned is to give myself – and others – grace. We’re human, we won’t do things perfectly, especially when we’re expected to do so much, so quickly. In fact, one of the questions I encourage people to ask in the interview process to get a sense of the culture is “tell me about a time someone on your team made a mistake and how it was handled?” This can tell you a lot about what it’s really like to work there.
Do you have any productivity hacks? What keeps you motivated? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I like to joke that the Firefly Advising tagline is “More Time to Do Less.” I am unapologetic about my desire to not work that much. A lot of that is about creating clear boundaries for myself and my clients. I don’t have email or Slack notifications on my phone, I don’t check email after I close my laptop for the night (between 5 and 6:30pm), and I’m clear about what my clients can expect from me, and when. No one has pushed back on this, because the quality of my work speaks for itself – I’ve worked with one of my clients in this way since 2014.