The Washington, DC area is full of amazing moms: working moms, stay-at-home moms, single moms, moms of multiples, foster moms, adoptive moms, etc. We want to highlight some of those moms like Elina Cannon! Each month we will feature one special mom as the mom of the month. Know a fellow amazing local mom here? Nominate them here!
Meet our April Mom of the Month: Elina Cannon
Elina is a confident and savvy divorce financial advisor, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, Chartered Financial Analyst®, and entrepreneur. She is also a single mother of two young boys.
Elina was born in Ukraine in the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion. When she turned three years old, she immigrated to the United States with her parents. Watching her parents struggle to build a better life is what drew her to financial education.
Studies and Career Beginnings
Elina studied economics at the University of Virginia before beginning her career in corporate finance in the Northern Virginia area. She quickly climbed the corporate ladder to become the Director of Capital Markets Strategy at a Fortune 100 Company. In that role, Elina led teams that analyzed and communicated the strategic implications of investment opportunities and capital management practices to the Board of Directors and Executive Committees.
After going through her own divorce, she left corporate finance to specialize in divorce finance. Elina started her own advisory firm, Divorce Money Strategies, to provide tailored financial support to her clients. She also launched a YouTube channel, Ms Divorce Money, to provide free educational videos on divorce money matters.
In her free time, Elina loves to swim with her kids, workout with her girlfriends, travel to the beach, and ski out West.
Here is our Q & A with Elina:
1. What motivated you to leave your comfortable corporate job to start your own business?
My divorce taught me that marriage is a financial contract that it is very complicated and costly to undo. This is especially true when you have children, a house, and financial accounts. There aren’t enough resources that explain the financial considerations of divorce in direct digestible ways.
In my corporate job, I was recognized for my ability to explain complicated financial issues in simple clear terms that informed and empowered the Board of Directors to make decisions. I wanted to apply this skill to supporting and empowering moms going through the traumatizing experience of divorce.
I launched Ms Divorce Money to make divorce financial education more accessible and I started Divorce Money Strategies to directly support clients going through a divorce.
2. What advice do you have for other moms that are considering divorce?
First, being a “single mom” is challenging, but it is better than being a “married single mom”.
Second, divorce can feel very lonely and overwhelming so you will definitely want to find your support network – either friends or relatives you can trust, or a therapist if you can afford one. You can also message me (seriously – DM me on my MsDivorceMoney Instagram).
Third, get organized and get informed. This is a critical step that will help you take ownership of your divorce and keep your divorce costs down. I have lots of free resources that go into the details of how to get organized and informed on both my Divorce Money Strategies website and my Ms Divorce Money YouTube channel.
3. After becoming a mom, what is the best career advice that you have learned?
Monotask! Focus on one task at a time; it is the key to success.
Multitasking is something that us women have been socially conditioned to do, as a means to “have it all” by doing it all, all at the same time. I was very guilty of being a serial multitasker pre-kids and earlier in my career as a new working mom. During the week, I’d race out of the office early to have four hours with my sons, but I would spend that time trying to finish a memo while cooking dinner and playing hide-and-seek. This would result in me not getting more than two words added to the memo, drying out the baked chicken, and not feeling connected with my sons. Multitasking made me feel overwhelmed and burned out so I made a very conscious shift to monotasking. Sometimes that meant that I worked later, picked up dinner, and only had 2 hours at night with my sons. But I found that I became significantly more productive when I focused on work during my working block. I was also a much happier parent when I fully engaged with my sons during my family block.
4. How do you manage your own business while being a single mom of two?
I constantly evaluate where my time is best spent, which is mostly running my business and spending quality time with my sons. For everything else, I ask for help and accept help when it is needed. I outsource what I can.
As a refugee that came to the United States with no money, I struggled at first with the concept of paying for services that I could do myself – like house cleaning or lawn care. But as an economist, I know that it is best for the local economy for me to specialize in my area of expertise and to support local service providers by hiring them to execute on their area of expertise. I’ve also turned some “tasks” into fun games that my sons get very excited to help with – like baking, gardening, and mulching.