Episode 30: Shannon McLay

Get Financially Naked

After spending years as a financial adviser for Merrill, Shannon McLay grew tired of working solely with the wealthy — the majority of whom didn’t need her help in the first place. Realizing that 78 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, McLay found her true calling: helping the everyday person get financially fit. 

And so the Financial Gym was born. McLay sought to provide a service that didn’t prioritize selling products over people. Money is emotional, and the brick-and-mortar Financial Gym provides a welcome change of scenery for one of the most taboo subjects of all: personal finance. You’ll get all that and more on this episode of SheVentures.


Key Moments

  • 04:33 — Find out how McLay landed five job offers before she even graduated.
  • 06:39 — How did she cope in male-dominated industries? When the climate didn’t change after 13 years, she said, “Really? You couldn’t find any women?”
  • 09:02 — McLay shares her theory about why these industries continue to be dominated by men: “It’s like deciding you want to move to France.” You don’t want to miss this one. 
  • 13:01 — Listen as she describes the sexual harassment she experienced on the trading floor from a young age, and how she coped.
  • 17:50 — Most of McLay’s mentors were men, as is the nature of the beast, and it was often other women who were the more critical of her. 
  • 22:00 — McLay discusses her disgust with the financial services world and what it was that caused her to pivot.
  • 25:17 — Ever wondered what happens at a financial gym? Or why people go there? There is a myriad of reasons. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that money is extremely emotional.”
  • 29:50 — How do you become a certified financial trainer? McLay reveals the rigorous training process at the Financial Gym.
  • 34:52 — Watching your brainchild grow from one location to a total of six in as many years is incredible. Listen as McLay tells us what it means to her. 
  • 40:08 — Only 2 percent of venture capital goes to women each year. Find out what advice McLay has for others (women or men) about raising capital.