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Louise M Empowerment series with Louise Matson and Fran Hughes

Posted on September 12 2021

Louise M shoes Empowerment series with Louise Matson and Fran Hughes

Louise M Empowerment series is delighted to present to you Fran Hughes, financial planner and wealth advisor and Director and Head of Wealth Solutions at Nexia Perth.

The host of the Louise M Empowerment series is Founder of Louise M shoes, Louise Matson. As a former flight attendant she developed a luxury shoe brand for airline cabin crew and corporate women Louise M. Made in Italy they are known as the most comfortable corporate shoes on this planet!

To feel empowered shop shoe range at www.louisemshes.com

When a person feels empowered, they have influence over their own life, which leads to better judgment and actions in pursuit of his or her goals. Empowerment, on the other hand, must begin somewhere. Some people have had a sense of empowerment since they were young, while others have just experienced it as adults. It's wonderful to feel empowered all of the time, regardless of how you got it and there are many ways to do so.

In today’s episode, we will be joined by Fran Hughes. Fran authored her own hero's journey, one shaped by need, grit, and attitude. As a 14-year old finding herself in a financial predicament, Fran chose to fight, using her lateral thinking approach to rise above the fore. Paying her way through private school, she complemented school learning with financial education and in doing so, discovered her passion for financial planning. Today as an award-winning financial advisor, a business owner with 30 years of experience, Fran uses knowledge and communication skills acquired to educate and empower, ensuring clients are well-positioned to write their own success stories. 

A well-respected active member of the community as the FPA Chapter Chair, future2 foundation ambassador, and finance columnist for the West Australian newspaper. In 2020 Fran was awarded FS Power Australia's Top50 most influential financial advisor and is currently the Director and Head of Financial Solutions Nexia Perth.

Listen to this episode now and learn how Fran has learned to empower herself in the best way!

 Transcript:

Louise Matson:

Today on my empowerment series, I have Fran Hughes, Fran Hughes authored her own hero's journey. One shaped by need, grit and attitude. As a 14 year old, finding herself in financial predicament Fran chose to fight using her lateral thinking approach to rise above the fore. Paying her way through private school, she complemented school learning with financial education and in doing so discovered her passion for financial planning. Today as an award-winning financial advisor, business owner with 30 years experience Fran uses knowledge and communication skills acquired to educate and empower, ensuring clients are well positioned to write their own success stories. A well-respected active member of the community as the FPA Chapter Chair, Future2 foundation ambassador and finance columnist can never say that word for the west Australia's paper in 2020, Fran was awarded FS Power Australia's top 50 most influential financial advisor. I'm very pleased to welcome the Director and Head of Financial solutions at Nexia Perth, Fran Hughes. Hello Fran.

Fran Hughes:

Hello Louise, thanks for having me.

Louise Matson:

Oh, look it's my absolute pleasure. And I'm really interested to hear about your empowerment journey. Firstly, let's go straight into what's your definition of empowerment?

Fran Hughes:

Well, my definition of empowerment is to be able to make your own decisions based on your lived experience and your skillset and your knowledge, but more importantly, it's about your drive and your passion and by doing so, you take ownership of every little single decision that you make. That's empowerment, it's all yours to own.

Louise Matson:

Well on that note, I'm really intrigued to find out where that empowerment started for you. So that's really what my interview is about where it starts and where it goes to helping you transition into adulthood and beyond. So, as a child, I believe you're one of six.

Fran Hughes:

Yes, that's right. I was the youngest of six.

Louise Matson:

That's a lot of children for your parents to deal with. Did you feel empowered even though we didn't really know that word at the time. Did you get a sense of being confident and I can do anything kind of attitude as you were growing up?

Fran Hughes:

Yeah, that's a great question. You know, as I look back, at that point in time, I didn't really think that was the definition of empowerment, but on reflection every little step, put me into that space. And so what I mean by that as the youngest of six you say, I come from a background of a traditional Asian family. So the eldest pretty much got the role of the leader within the group or within the siblings. And that particular, the eldest of six children was pretty much groomed to have everything. So to understand a little bit more about my background, I guess, I was the youngest of six children of migrant family. So I came to Australia when I was 12 years old. My eldest brother was 18 at that time. And so as the youngest also, I guess you kind of get a little bit forgotten if you like.

Fran Hughes:

So that sense of empowerment never really came to me. I had to find it for myself and how that came to be the wonderful gift though, I have to say that my father gave me and I thank him to this day. He's 88 years old, by the way. And I thank him that one, the one gift that he did give to me was Fran my past is not your future. So what my learning is just the start of what you can achieve your future is for you to own. And this was the age of 12. And so that little seed in me allowed me to just forge my way forward. And the wonderful thing about my parents is they allowed me to, to be who I was. So here I was, but I had to put a little bit, a little caveat here. My mum, if you can imagine a mama and come from an Asian background, so my mum is what you would traditionally call a tiger mum. You know, those where, you know, I come back from school and I've got my, my school grades. I go up to mum and I go, look, I've got 93% on my exam. It's like, oh, that's wonderful dear but what happened to the other seven percent?

Fran Hughes:

Now, I love my mum to bits. And it was those little things that really started to, to push you. And although at the time it felt like I could just, I could never please my mum, I also look at it. I look back at it as a gift because in her beautiful one kind way she was just encouraging me to be the best I could be. So at a particular point when I was age 14, see mum and dad, that they're beautiful human beings. They trust others explicitly. When they came to Australia, they pretty much invested everything that they had in feeding their six children, but also try to be, to build a business of their own. Now they're one of many statistics where after four years their business failed. So as a teenager, I thought, well, what could I do? What could I do to help? And what I did realize is actually I'm good at numbers.

Fran Hughes:

I've got pretty good grades in accounting is also my forte. Maybe I figure this one out with them. And so here I was asking my tiger mum, mum do you think it's okay if I took over the budget because it was at this point in time, they were probably down to their last hundred dollars they lost all their savings and all their money in this business venture gone wrong. And maybe the youngest of six children, I was still at home and I asked mum, if I could take over the household budget, can you imagine that? Louise Matson: And the response Fran Hughes: And the response was okay, go for it. You've got the next 12 months to see how you go with handling the budget. And it was at that time, I realized that mum and dad unknowingly empowered me to be able to take responsibility, put also the use of my knowledge and skills and put it into practical terms, how I can turn the household budget around goodness

Louise Matson:

That's amazing. And I assume you did turn the budget around.

Fran Hughes:

I'm glad. I'm glad to say. I also went on to pay for my own private school fees, and today mum and dad are in a beautiful home and fully retired, 88 and 80. They're you know, in a wonderful place.

Louise Matson: Do you think your dad saying that your story doesn't have to be the same as his story. Was that the moment you felt empowered going forward? Because what 14 year old does what you did?

Fran Hughes:

Yeah, I guess, I guess so. You know, we never know what, what particular, what happens when, when we've been given a particular gift, now gifts can come in a form of what we know is present, but gifts can also come in a form of inspiration with wisdom or for someone speaking into your future self. And what I didn't know at that point in time, dad annoyingly was actually speaking into my future. We think every one of us we've got that, just that bit of courage to take us one step further. Now, if we failed and we take ownership of it, it's okay to fail because it's just a learning experience on what we shouldn't do again. And we just forge ahead and forge ahead to your point, I think absolutely. That was gift from my dad. And I thank him every single day.

Louise Matson:

Yeah. But even your mum saying what happened to the other 7% Fran. I mean, she must have said that in a somewhat nicer way, or you were able to take it as, okay I'll do better next time. Whereas it can, it can either be, I'm never good enough or dammit I am going to do that other 7% get another 7% next time. It's a very fine line as a parent, isn't it. And, do you think it's the tone or, what is it that can deliver the same sentence, but you can either feel one way or the other, what is it, the us or their tone, what do you think might be the difference?

Fran Hughes:

I read something from Jeff Bezos at Amazon, and he talks about why the 5% of people succeed and, and the other 95% is happy to just live through life. And I guess the five percenters includes, say the Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey of the world, where, what is it that they have? Because if we think about Tony Robbins, he talks about the gifts that his mum also gave him. And in that, you know, she was what you would call cruel. She was, she didn't really pay too much attention to him, but what drove him because of it, what drove him, was that in a sense of just being better, just being better and striving to please mum. Then you've got Oprah Winfrey in a similar case where she could have absolutely turned it around to say wow is me the world's against me, as opposed to, you know, you know what I'm going to show them, I'm going to show them. Fran Hughes: I'm going to be better than this, and just basically talked about that the five percenters have kind of some characteristics that say it's about forging ahead, no matter what it's about not listening to the negative, but always looking at the positives of what can be done. And the inner child that said, I've got to please, whether it is your parents or whether it is an audience, whether it is your customers, whether it is someone that you admire, I've got to keep pleasing this other person so that I continue to strive and be better. And the wonderful thing about it is actually, you've got to please yourself. You've got to absolutely please yourself to be the better version of you each and every day.

Louise Matson:

Yes. Okay. So on that note, let's go forward and through to your early adult hood and then into your business. But did you do other things you've got your education now, so what else have you done to have, make Fran Hughes feel empowered and confident as an adult?

Fran Hughes:

Yeah, I truly believe that little light that you have within you to give you the courage to take this step forward also needs to be ignited by wonderful people around you to continue to your, you know, the days when you feel like you're in flow, you've got things going and you're doing everything right. And, you know, things are just all happening. And that's because you're getting what we call positive feedback from the things you're doing now, by getting positive feedback from the people around you suggest that actually you're on the right path to keep doing what you're doing. And so I looked back to when I first got my first job, and this was by the way in November of 1987 and I'm in the finance profession. So what it means for others that don't know what's happening November 1987 it was the month after the stock market crash of the big '87. Um, and then fast forward, we've got similar ones, the GFC of 2007. And of course, last year with COVID, we had a massive crash of the market. So what I found is that I was a young 18 year old in amongst a young 18 year old in a female, in a male environment. And I was the female around five male executives. Now I could've been absolutely gun shy and absolutely daunted by the fact that I was the youngest, but I also truly believe that you can't be what you can't see just for me to see these five amazing executives. Yes, they were male, but they almost took me on like the little sister. And that's the key. If you've got advocates, you've got a group of people cheering you on also mentoring you. They're the key things that will continue to elevate that little spark of courage you've got in you and give you that positive feedback.

Louise Matson:

So do you have particular mentors now, or are you just, draw on reading about others? You know, that's another way to be inspired and go forward. Do you have, do you use business coaches, mentors, business networks?

Fran Hughes:

Yeah, I, I do. Um, and I, I'm going to kind of summarize it in a particular way that I have various forms of mentors. Firstly, I have a group of wonderful women and including this particular group that is the Business Chicks group and they give me absolutely positive feedback. And I love it because every single time we get together, it's you know, we're cheering each other on, and that's just such a wonderful space to be in. You get affirmation that you're doing all the right things and you want to continue to do it forward. And also these are the women that you can really open up with and, and be, absolutely authentic. All of us would have really horrible, bad days. And you can lean on these women to say, look, I'm just having terrible days and they continue to lift you up.

Fran Hughes:

So that's one community that absolutely love. And in return, I truly believe in, in my, um, my mantra is I'm here to serve the community that's being of service to me. So what that means is stepping into the financial planning association Chapter Chair here in WA I continued to serve the top hundred advisors here in Perth because the profession that is financial planning has given me so much back in return. And also then looking into, into that space. I'm also part, or should I say, I'm the president of an emerging speakers community called speakers tribe and we're global. And for me, they've also given me the, the affirmation in continuing to cheer me on as an individual. So my role is to be of service to them all around the world. We've got a group in the UK, us, India, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, and of course all around Australia. Fran Hughes: So that's also another group. You know, they say that we are the average of the five people that we hang around. I say, I'm the average, the five groups that I serve instead of the third, the third group that I surround myself with, absolute to your point, mentors coaches, because I truly believe in order to be the best version of us we need, we need feedback. Now, when I say feedback, not just from feedback from anyone, but feedback from the people you love and trust that will also have your back and also have you front of mind when they put forward your feedback. So yeah, absolutely. My coach by the way, lives in Geneva. So really cool.

Louise Matson:

Oh, very good. Wow, from all that, firstly, I think how have you got the time, and then I think wow, you've really created such a community around you that's pushing you forward. And of course you're giving back to them as well, which you know, is, part of my next thing is that how are you helping others to be empowered? And, I believe, you know, there's an article in the West Australian about women in particular age group, my age group so tell me about that because that's really helpful to that group of women.

Fran Hughes:

Absolutely. You know, I also love the fact that I can give back and how I give back is to empower other women to step into their own courage and own power. And I write regularly for the West Australian in the Your Money section and this particular article that's coming up concentrates, talks about the challenges that women face in the their, in their older years or the mature years. And this particular article talks about the fact that 55, there is a rise in the trend in divorce rates for 55 to 60 year old women. What that means, some issues. So the first one is that how can they step into that space of comfortable retirement and with courage and put in traditionally for these women, they would be the nurturer, they would be the stay at home mums, or they would be, you know, that they might've picked up a part time role and haven't concentrated on their career as opposed to concentrating on their families.

Fran Hughes:

So then the runway to retirement is really short by the fact that has interrupted employment. They've had time, you know, they've had low income. And so trying to really, really get on top of that. But what I've also found is that women who have good control of their finances, more independent and have the courage to step into retirement because ultimately it's not the end. It's just the start. Ultimately, one of the feedback that I did get from a lot of these women that do actually step into divorce is that although painful going through the separation, I've come out on the other end being happier and more independent and confident because now I can make those decisions without having to check in with someone else. I can make it and own it and move forward into the time.

Louise Matson:

Sounds fantastic. Of course you're not only dealing with that age group and not only just women, you're dealing with both genders and all age groups. So, I think it's fantastic. You said in your bio that you educate and empower people. And I think that's really important in getting that situation that you just gave. That example is just one of them and it's really important for them to have someone you just, that you were talking about, you have tribes around you,. They've got someone that they can come to and get support from, which is really wonderful. Do you do any meditation or are you probably calling on conferences and things like that to get further educated, to do those, or you've sort of, I'm trying to put what, maintains your sense of empowerment going forward. We tend to always want to learn and grow. So, you know, what other things might, that other people might be interested to, you know, might resonate with them, that would be a great idea to do that.

Fran Hughes:

Every day is a day for learning more. And I think we never stop learning, but that aspect of curiosity continues to, to empower us moving forward. Uh, I, I live my life by a little framework it's called my ABC. And what that is is A is ask if you're any, any time in a position where you don't know, don't be afraid, because by asking you will learn and by learning, then you have the skills and knowledge to, to take it on board. The B is be curious, be curious about loss. So to your point, how to, what, what do I do around new learning? What do I do around, taking, taking on new findings? Well, in my profession, we do have to keep up with our professionals. So what we call a full 40 hours a year in professional development.

Fran Hughes:

So that's one area, but as I get older, I'm always curious about, well what's happening in the lives of, for example, 50 year old women. As I step into my fifties, I'm keen to understand what is it, what's this thing called perimenopause and menopause. What's going on in the lives of women stepping into 50 to 60. And then I read a lot of books, I do believe that we don't need to recreate anything. We just need to be in that space of, of learning from the past and understanding what the future might look like. So that's my, my B of my ABCs. And then my C is by doing your A's and your B, then you create credibility for yourself and you, by creating credibility as a result, how did I get to be a regular finance columnist of the West Australian, and also various other publications, like Money Magazine, money in life and Who Finance and so forth is that when I got into the space of being curious, I want to know how do I write an article? So I wrote one article and posted it and as a result, it gave me a little bit of credibility. So then that continues to snowball to let me write two articles, hang on. When you write three articles for three publications, hang on, let me write four articles for four publications on a regular basis, and then that's how you build your credibility.

Louise Matson:

And of course the confidence grows because they're saying, yes, we like this. And yeah, the re I read is like this, and can you run another one? So your confidence is booming. Fran, what if you're not feeling so confident, if you wake up tomorrow and you're feeling pretty flat, is there like a quick fix for you? Fran Hughes: You, you know, they, they say that teachers appear when the student is ready. I have to share with you a story. And this is so, so relevant. It was only two weeks ago. I woke up not feeling confident whatsoever, as I just mentioned, you know, as a stepping by fifties, my body's going through a whole heap of changes as part of menopause. And I woke up feeling okay. Um, my brain, my head is still a 20 year old. I feel like I've got full of energy. My body's just not wanting to work.

Louise Matson: I totally understand!

Fran Hughes: Do you know what my 21 year old daughter, by the way, I have two beautiful daughters. They're 22 and 21. And they're in that space where I want to be the best version of me for them. And that that's what drives me each and every day. And if I can be the best, not the best, but the kind of mentor that they're also looking for, that's exactly my role. So my 21 year old, I kind of woke up, no feeling the best. My 21 year old turns to me and says mum, the best thing you can do is start loving yourself. No matter what happens with your body, your body's just going through a change. I went through when I was in my adolescence. How good was that Louise?

Louise Matson:

Did you say that to her years ago, and she's just played it back to you or has she just come out with that herself?

Fran Hughes:

She came out with it herself and said mum you've got to love yourself no matter what.

Louise Matson:

That's fantastic. That's fantastic she knows that, you know, as a 21 year old and I mean, that's a really important thing for her to realize for herself. That's amazing. I know our children surprise us sometimes.

Fran Hughes:

They're fantastic. Yeah. Said that there will be times where we don't feel confident. It's what I refer to as a crisis in confidence. And I go back to leaning on others that you can absolutely trust and be absolutely open and say, look, I'm just not having it. It's not happening for me today. And they, if they know you in and out, they will lift you up. And it only takes a small word of advice. Louise Matson: You seem so blessed to have so many wonderful people around you. And of course, you know, you ask for help as well. You know, I know that recently that someone said to me, you know, cause I always think, oh, how do I do that? But someone said to me, rather than say that, say who can help me do that? And, oh my gosh, it's kind of just changed the way I go about things because I just procrastinate for so long because I think how do I do that. But now it's like, oh, who can help me do that? So, um, so yeah, that was a really important lesson for me. Fran, I've really enjoyed speaking with you today. And look, if anyone does want to get in touch with you, how is it best for them to get in touch with you?

Fran Hughes:

I would love to connect with any of your, any of your audience or any of your ladies or, or anyone really who would like to just reach out because it's the say I'm here to serve and the way you can connect with me is through my social media platform. So I'm very prominent in LinkedIn and you can look up Fran Hughes on LinkedIn you will see that I'll, I'll pop up very quickly on your social media page and on Instagram and Facebook is also another way to connect with me on Instagram, it's my play area. So if you want to play, have fun when they come to my Instagram page, but if you want to talk about empowerment and certainly about finance come to my LinkedIn page.

Louise Matson:

Yeah. Well, I'll put some links in as well, so people can connect with you. So thank you so much, Fran. It's just fascinating speaking to various women about their empowerment journey and yeah, I think you were blessed that your father, as a 12 year old encouraged you to be your own person and, and create your own life story. So yeah, very nice. It's been an absolute pleasure speaking with you. Thanks so much, Fran. Fran Hughes: Thanks for having me.

To contact Fran Hughes

https://www.nexia.com.au/our-team/fran-hughes
fran.hughes@nexiaperth.com.au

To shop comfortable and empowering corporate women's shoes, visit www.louisemshoes.com

Contact Louise Matson
louise@louisemshoes.com

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