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Meet Ri: The Founder of Wall Street Confessions

Are you one of the 80,000+ followers of the Wall Street Confessions Instagram account? I am and let me tell you, if you’re not, you’re missing out.

One thing you may not know about the account — it is run by a woman. As a woman working in corporate America not too far from Wall Street, I loved finding this out so much.

I had the chance to speak with Ri and she’s just as fun as her account is.

Interview with Ri from Wall Street Confessions on Instagram:

GenTwenty: What made you start the Instagram account Wall Street Confessions?

Ri: I was going to school in Washington, D.C. At the time, I didnʼt have many friends, and needed a creative outlet. Iʼve always been highly interested in finance, and for a while, I was following meme accounts.

I always thought that there was more to finance than Excel models and Patagonia vests. There had to be things that people were hiding – as there are with any operation thatʼs as big and complex as Wall Street. I thought of the women who couldnʼt share their stories, the people dealing with mental health issues, and decided that an anonymous outlet was what Wall Street needed.

GenTwenty: Have people always submitted things to you or did you start off just overhearing people talking?

Ri: My first few posts were things that my banker friends have said, or things that I made them tell me for the sake of #content. But it took a very short of time for the page to fully grow into what it is – once people started feeling represented, they started sending things in. The progression of this page has been organic, and thatʼs something Iʼm happy about.

GenTwenty: Are people surprised when they find out a woman is behind the account?

Ri: On occasion, new followers are entirely surprised, and itʼs funny to see their reactions. Iʼve been told that my dry humor and sarcasm resembles that of a 30-something male in investment banking.

I was quoted as “Gossip Girl for the Wall Street crowd” in another article, and I wear that title like a crown upon my head. Generally speaking, Iʼm extremely transparent about it. I love posting stories about my favorite bags, fashion trends, etc. I think a female perspective is much needed in any space, but especially in this one.

GenTwenty: I’ve gotta ask – do you work in Corporate America? If yes, whatʼs it like being a woman in that world?

Ri: I am currently an undergraduate student at a university in New York. I have work experience that I havenʼt listed on my LinkedIn for privacy reasons, but I have noticed that women are treated differently, no matter how progressive a work
environment can be.

Aside from that, Iʼve experienced misogyny from Wall Street bros in my comment section, DMs, and even anonymously. My personal favorite dig was when a man told me I was ‘ovary-reacting.ʼ

That was nice.

GenTwenty: Yikes! Well, with that, whatʼs one piece of advice you have to fellow women out there?

Ri: I donʼt think I can give just one piece of advice – so Iʼll give more.

  1. Never let a man make you feel inferior in any way, shape or form. You deserve to be where you are. Men love to say that we get where we are for a myriad of reasons – whether it be that we are ‘diversity hiresʼ, or whatever else. But we are conditioned to work harder than they do. At the end of the day, just remember that you likely had to work harder than the average male to get your position. The glass ceiling at the top of the skyscraper has yet to be broken, but I think that each time a woman gets into a male dominated environment, she breaks a glass ceiling of her own.
  2. Hold. Your. Ground. If you know youʼre right, donʼt back down. The easy way out of things is to cower. The hard way is to show why youʼre right, why what youʼre doing is effective, and why youʼre adding value. Going along with
    everything someone says and being a people pleaser will only get you so far in life.
  3. Make sure youʼre in an environment that you can thrive in – spiritually, emotionally, and physically. If you arenʼt, evaluate why youʼre still in that environment, and make a change. The biggest mistake Iʼve seen my fellow women make is think that things will get better if theyʼre consistently miserable. Iʼve thought this as well, and guess what? It didnʼt work out. Evolve out of where you are if you feel as though you arenʼt doing well, or figure out how to thrive in an environment that youʼll likely have to spend some time if the circumstances call for that.
  4. Make time for yourself. Seriously. Read a book, have a cup of tea, meditate, get a blowout (preferably when weʼre at the point of a ‘new normalʼ.) Take care of yourself and focus on your wellbeing.
  5. This is a personal opinion, but why do we always fall into the trope of ‘being one of the guysʼ? We should stop doing that. As far as relationship management goes in finance, it would sadly make sense to learn about stereotypical male interests, but seriously, why? Why do we spend our time catering to this? Do men not know how to talk about the weather, the news, or Netflix? One of my biggest pet peeves is when a man in finance messages me telling me about a female coworker who succeeded because she was ‘one of the guys.ʼ It would be so nice if the men could sacrifice the football talk in front of us. They would feel extremely alienated if we talked about stereotypical female interests such as clothes, blowouts, etc. Conversations shouldnʼt be gender biased. Change my mind. Donʼt bother being one of the guys. Be yourself. Thereʼs no one better.

GenTwenty: How did you grow your account and gain this massive following?

Ri: I interacted with bigger accounts, networked, and once people started liking me, they shared my content organically. It was a lot of luck, but it was also just a lot of authenticity. Being transparent about being an undergrad. Transparent about my place in the world. Learning from my mistakes and growing from them. Once people realize that Iʼm a blunt person who doesnʼt like to beat around the bush, they either respect me a lot more, or unfollow me. Iʼm fine with either, and I would hope that the latter makes people think.

The purpose of this account is to not only post anonymous stories of people who canʼt speak publicly, but to make people think about things – whether itʼs the way they treat their female coworkers, or how they look at their coworker who takes mental health leave. Itʼs all about perspective.

GenTwenty: Do you have any tips for any of us wanting to grow an Instagram account?

Ri: I think the problem with Instagram now is that people focus too much on sticking to a theme, or theyʼre fixated on being the next big influencer. Thereʼs so much audience exhaustion with the person posting flat lays of their outfits, or where theyʼre going to brunch. It always devolves into brand deals for fitness tea (which is terrible for you), or something else.

At this point, my advice to anyone wanting to grow any Instagram account is be your most authentic self. Donʼt put on an image. I tried that, and people saw right through it. Talk to people with interests and content that are similar to yours, and grow alongside them. Create a network of people that you can reach out to for any given situation. Graphic design, video editing, photography, etc. Make sure that youʼre sticking to what youʼre like when youʼre crying at 3:00 AM on a Friday night versus what you see on tv.

GenTwenty: Have any of the confessions ever backfired?

Ri: Multiple times, people have disagreed with the confessions that I have posted. I never take that to heart, unless of course itʼs someone sharing a #MeToo story and people are commenting that the person is lying.

Speaking of #MeToo, there was a time where I was posting a fair amount of content about it. What shocked me was when a woman got upset and said that I was portraying all of the men on Wall Street to be predators, and that I was highly
irresponsible, because I canʼt verify the stories.

If I could ‘verifyʼ the stories, hardly anyone would want to talk about these situations. Anonymity is key, and if someone does want to submit something false, thatʼs on their conscious. I try hard to make sure things are plausible in confessions generally, but do people really expect me to sit here and say ‘no, I canʼt post this, because this person probably didnʼt get sexually assaultedʼ? Seriously.

Sometimes, people have been upset with my captions, so lately, Iʼve been very mindful and neutral. This account started off with my snarky humor and wit, but at times, I was admittedly a bit too harsh or mean for anyoneʼs good. Iʼve toned down. Iʼm much nicer and more empathetic now. Thatʼs not to say I‘m not holding my ground, but before I learned the gravity of my own words, I was reckless.

GenTwenty: Is there a memorable story you can share that has to do with the account?

Ri: Last semester, I made the executive decision to post a picture of myself. This one picture led to me being recognized on Bumble, Hinge, and The League by many single finance bros in New York. The most memorable and borderline funniest
experience was when I was at P.J Clarkes with my friend, and someone was staring at me. Instinctively, I stared back, and they not so quietly said to their friend “Is that Wall Street Confessions?” I laughed, we bantered, and they asked for a picture. Turns out that the person in question had submitted a confession that I posted. Iʼve been asked for a picture on a night out a few times, and it always just feels surreal.

Itʼs laughable, actually.

Iʼm just a girl posting anonymous confessions.

Thank you to Ri for taking the time to speak with us. Make sure to follow Wall Street Confessions on Instagram!

About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.