We had the good fortune of connecting with Mahalene Dulay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mahalene, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I chuckled a little to myself when asked about “work-life balance” because it has changed so much for me after having kids. Prior to motherhood, there was a lot of flexibility to be more spontaneous and do things on a whim. The perks of being a wealth advisor and creating my own schedule gave me the opportunity to take last minute out-of-town trips with little notice. It was nice to have no one but myself to worry about in that season of my life! Now, as a mom and business owner, work-life balance is much different. For example, any trips, whether on my own or with my family, planned or unplanned, requires more prep time (and definitely a lot more patience when my kid can’t find the shoe I literally just handed to him!).
I love my role as a mom, but I’ve also had my struggles with finding where this “balance” truly lies. Aside from the expectations that I place on myself to be 100% in all areas of my life, there are inherent societal pressures to fill the many hats I wear. The realization I’ve come to is that this work-life balance as a mom and business owner is a false narrative. So if it doesn’t exist, how does one juggle it all? Instead of focusing on finding this unicorn of a true “balance”, I strive to be more intentional about where my time is spent and being aware of whether or not that moment, person or task brings purpose to my life. Here is what I’ve learned:
1. Setting healthy boundaries helps me and everyone around me. Though I’m still learning the art of time management, I’ve implemented tools to help me prioritize my time. Self-care and my family come first, so I’ve been able to model my business schedule around them. I dedicate block times to help me create those boundaries. More importantly, I communicate these boundaries with my family and business team, so they know when I can be fully present for them. I’ve also become more comfortable with saying, “No” both with myself and others, so I don’t stretch myself too thin. Of course, it’s not always perfect (hello, A-type personality), but it helps to have a foundation for me to work from.
2. Lean on my support systems. As the old saying goes, “It takes a village.” I’m incredibly fortunate to have a very supportive community of family, friends, team members and mentors to make sure I don’t stray too far in one direction or the other. It also helps tremendously to have other mom business owners who relate to what I go through; they celebrate my wins, share in my frustrations and are genuinely there to lend a helping hand in both my personal and professional growth. The people I surround myself with is important; good vibes and being with others that want to help me succeed comes full circle when I can support them right back.
3. Delegate, delete and deliver. A large part of being intentional with my time means I have to acknowledge that I am one person, and my time is valuable. I’ve learned the importance of what aspects of my business and home life can be:
*delegated or outsourced to someone that can do just as great, if not a better job, than I can with certain tasks;
*deleted because that task (or person) was not bringing purpose to my life;
*delivered by my strengths to bring growth to my business and more time with my family and myself.
4. It’s OK to love many things at one time. A friend of mine once told me, “You make time for the things you love.” This helped me put a completely different perspective on where I should dedicate my time. As a multi-passionate person, I can easily find myself taking on more than I can chew. Though it’s perfectly OK for me to be a part of many things, it also means constantly asking myself if these activities (or people) help make me and those around me a better person.
5. How I spend my time is ultimately my choice. Different seasons in my life will require more devotion and time to one area over the other. At the end of the day, I am still the one that makes the conscious choice of how I spend my time. Though a true work-life balance may not exist, I really believe that there can be harmony in the time for both these areas to be successful and exactly how one envisions it. I’m constantly learning and re-affirming these lessons, but have embraced the conscious effort of being present, intentional and authentic in both my personal and professional life.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As a proud daughter of Filipino immigrant parents, I grew up watching them start with little to their names to become successful entrepreneurs. Though they worked hard to create the life they always wanted, my parents did it all on their own without much financial guidance. The stress of having to figure it out themselves inspired me to take the entrepreneurial path where I can be a trusted wealth partner for others, and to help them thrive in the lives they envision. I graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Business Administration/Finance, and started my career with a larger firm in San Diego in late 2007. When my second son was born, I realized that to grow my business and create a greater impact on my clients’ lives and the communities I serve, I had to take a leap of faith and start my own firm. Thus, Vista Del Mar Wealth Management was created in 2018.
The beginning of my career was definitely not an easy road. Like many small businesses, I had to start from scratch with putting in anywhere between 60-70 hours a week in the first 1-2 years to build my foundation. There were a lot of times where I felt discouraged not just from myself, but even from family and friends that said I wouldn’t make it through the first year. Instead of giving up, I turned the negativity into a driving force to prove to others that this career was my calling.
When I founded Vista Del Mar Wealth Management, I realized that there was a greater purpose to my role as a wealth advisor. A lot has changed over the years, but there’s still a gap in meeting the needs of women in wealth planning, especially for women of color. Female financial advisors make up about 15-20% of financial services, and even less than that are female advisors of color. Though I worked just as hard as my colleagues to build a successful business, there were many moments throughout my career where I felt I had to do more to prove myself as an expert in the field. It is because of the adversity I faced that Vista Del Mar Wealth Management strives to change the narrative for women investors of color to thrive in their businesses and lives. Vista Del Mar Wealth Management is a safe, inclusive space for women of all backgrounds to achieve financial success. To serve our community in the best way possible, we take the time to understand their own challenges as women of color, and thoughtfully design their financial planning strategies to help them overcome wealth inequality. We strive to achieve this with three key core pillars to money management: wealth, impact and purpose.
Wealth. Our goal is to build and preserve wealth for our clients, their family and their businesses. We believe in generational wealth, where we help create a meaningful legacy for future generations to come.
Impact. We believe in building wealth beyond the monetary value; money is a resource that can make a lasting impact for our clients and our communities. There is power in money, and making the wise decisions with what to do with it should not have to be done alone.
Purpose. Our clients are why Vista Del Mar Wealth Management exists. We want to build their dreams, not just their dollars. We protect what matters most, not just their assets. More importantly, we approach everything with their best interests at heart; our goal is to help them achieve the life they envision, and to do that with purpose.
Aside from my passion in serving others as a wealth advisor, I am an advocate for the environment and social equality. I do this through implementing sustainability practices in my life, staying active in my community by hosting clean-ups in my hometown of San Diego and volunteering with local organizations that align with causes near to my heart. My love for giving back is also integrated with my business; I designed a unique way for clients to be part of what I call #TheVistaDelMarDifference, where we donate money to charities on their behalf when they establish a long-term relationship with our firm. My passion for activism sparked my greater legacy vision to close the wealth gap in our communities; I’m a firm believer this starts with educational resources on financial literacy. I aim to create and implement a curriculum within the public education system where students learn the basics of money as early as Kindergarten, and can continue to learn age-appropriate money concepts throughout their schooling. Through Vista Del Mar Wealth Management, I believe that it’s achievable to create a successful business that aligns in harmony with my values and vision.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m incredibly fortunate to be a San Diego native; we’re graced with the beaches to the West, the desert and great hiking spots to the East, exploring another country to the South and the mountains to the North. Though I’ve lived in San Diego all my life, I’m constantly learning about new spots around my city! One of the most notable features of San Diego, other than the beaches, is the diversity of food spots. From tacos, In-N-Out and the best Asian food places, there are so many choices sometimes it’s hard to choose from. I also love that San Diego is one of the top craft beer cities in the U.S.; some of my favorites include Pure Project, Thorn St. Brewery, Harland Beer Co. and 32 North. I love that I can support local and that many of these breweries also give back in supporting other local small businesses in the community. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been out to Downtown San Diego, but one of my favorite neighborhoods close by are North Park and South Park. I love the vibe and seeing a blend of old San Diego with new San Diego. These neighborhoods are also close to Balboa Park, another well-known area in San Diego. Balboa Park has museums, beautiful architecture, the famous San Diego Zoo and is filled with festivals throughout the year. If you’re looking for more of a coastal vibe, North County coastal cities like Encinitas and Carlsbad have some of the cleanest beaches and laid-back hangouts. I love being a tourist in my own city, and seeing it through the eyes of my kids is like visiting some of these areas for the first time. San Diego will always be my city and near to my heart.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate my Shoutout to: my family for their unconditional support in the opportunity to pursue my dreams (and feeding me during late nights); my team members in being a huge part of my business success; other mom business owners, who inspire me in this beautiful chaos called motherhood; all the women and supporters who strive to move mountains and pave the way for future dreamers in this world.
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