Celebrating Moms in Business & Finance

Nikki Sitze

Trader and Instructor

Trading AcademyUrl

What is your background, and how did you get into finance?

My background is in science and computers. One of which I loved and one I did because the money paid the bills. I had actually quit working to be a stay-at-home Mom before my son started attending school. As time marched on I realized that I needed to either get back to work and get an income or go back to school to change careers. During this time, I was trying to decide what to do. Primarily, I didn’t want to take a full-time job or go to school full-time with a young school aged child. It was at this point I found OTA. I knew as soon as I saw trading from the OTA perspective that this was for me.

What obstacles did you run into and how did you persevere?

As with learning anything new, especially a language completely foreign to anything I’d ever done before, I struggled in the beginning. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I just kept signing up for retake classes. I’d do okay for a bit but I never really could get ahead. Being a scientist by training I knew that I could figure out what I was doing wrong if I could just get enough data together, look at the right pieces, and then change what wasn’t working. The one thing I knew: I wouldn’t quit. I could see that people were making money at trading. I was going to be one of them whatever it took.

Can you tell us a little bit about your current career and what you do?

I’m currently a trader and instructor for Forex and Core Strategy at OTA. I really had no intention of teaching. I really never thought it would be something that I would love doing nor that anyone would think that I was good at. I introduce myself as a student of OTA, not former. I sat in these chairs and struggled to learn the language of trading. I remember vividly what it felt like to sit in my first class excited beyond measure to learn trading and end up feeling so completely confused that I wondered what I’d gotten myself into. Trading was work for me. I dove in, studied, learned, traded and repeated. There came a day in my life where I was having a discussion where someone asked me what I really wanted in life. For once I didn’t have to think about it: I wanted to be a trader, not just any trader, an excellent trader. When asked how I was going to accomplish that I knew what the answer was: I was going to be Student Support at my local center so that I could be in class and around traders at all times. Complete immersion in the OTA system until I figured out what the missing pieces were. I managed to get hired into the team and everything else just built from there. Now I walk into the classroom in any center, look around at the setup and how students are organized and then usually get busy setting up for class. In that brief moment when I first walk in, regardless of the location of the class, I feel at home.

Do you have any secrets for balancing being a mom with a successful career?

Balancing being a parent and being career focused is a challenge for anyone, not just moms. More traditionally, it is dads who have to make this balance work. In my opinion there is no secret. If you love doing what you do it shows. Also, if you’re making a difference, not just in what you do but in other’s lives, it also shows. I believe it’s important for young people to see commitment and passion for both family and career. One does not have to be a sacrifice for the other if the priorities are worked together as much as possible. The beautiful thing about trading for a living and then teaching trading on the side is that both promote freedom for the individual. There have been times when my son has said, “Go work, I’m in school right now.” When I asked him why he said that he responded with the message, “When you’re back, you’re mine.” As adults we often times make things more complicated than they need to be. Sometimes we just need the innocence of a child to make things as simple as they are. When I’m with him and playing or parenting I am entirely his. When it comes time to work, he understands what the commitments are and is self-confident enough to cope. As a parent I cannot ask or hope for more. I’m truly blessed.

What advice do you have for moms aspiring to become business owners and/or trader?

Advice is worth what you pay for it. My experience: be able to meet your commitments and do something that pushes you to excel. Loving your work is fine, but if it doesn’t pay the bills you’re eventually going to come up short and have to sacrifice something. In my case, sacrificing family for a career is something I was not willing to do. I cannot think of anything I would rather do than trade and teach people how to change their lives.

What keeps you motivated?

I’m motivated by my son, by trading and continuing to learn, community at OTA and by my students. When it comes to personal goals, nothing pushes me more than being able to spend quality time with my son. Time to do whatever we want to do, not worrying about how the utilities are being paid or whatever other necessity it is. Trading allows me to spend that quality time with him. Learning is next on that priority list after the needs are met. I love keeping my mind active and working on the next thing. That learning keeps me in the open mindset that I need to expand my trading strategies or prune those strategies down to the ones I’m focusing on. The community and fellow students at OTA allow me to continue learning and working on trading strategies to improve my trading. In doing all of that it keeps me grounded in what our students are going through every day. I work hard to put myself in their shoes, I also knew nothing, so that I can be more effective in communicating or in how I teach a concept to someone who’s never heard it before. I also work to be patient with students. What I know is, someone took the time to be patient with me when I asked the same question again, the same question that thousands of other students have asked in the past and countless students will ask in the future. No other company has a community like OTA. I am proud to be a small part of something so much greater than one individual can hope to accomplish.

Can you share a little about your family with us?

I am blessed with one beautiful son. I had my child late in life and he is my everything. I live for our time together. I miss him when we are apart for any time. Everything I do is to make sure he has all he needs to be successful in life going forward as balanced as anyone can be in life.

I’m the middle of three daughters whose parents were both only children. Since we had no aunts, uncles or cousins, we learned early on to adopt aunts and uncles or cousins along the journey. This means that I value family and relationships above others. I’ll do anything to protect family, adopted family and friends more than average because I never took them for granted. Most of my classes have heard me comment, “I don’t care who you are or how old you are: once you’re in my class, you’re my kids.” The OTA community is where my home is. Everyone here speaks my language: trading. I walk into a classroom after any time off and I am instantly home.

My sisters and my Mom are my lifeline, my best friends, my confidants. My Dad died in an accident in 1999 less than 1 month after retiring. As devastating as that loss was to our family it taught us all one very important lesson: life is precious, live EVERY minute as if it were your last. You never know what time you have left so treating every moment as precious means that you’ll never regret the time you spend doing things that are important to you. I live my life based on these beliefs and protect that precious time that I have. I watched my Dad live his life for my sisters and I. Do I think he regretted any of it? Absolutely not. But he did have lots of plans with my Mom that he didn’t get to do. Since then I’ve strived to be sure that each decision in my life is meant to maximize each moment of time. I want to be able to look at what I’m doing and say, “Yeah, that was a great use of my time.” The beauty of what I’ve learned as a student of OTA, I’m more able to say that each and every day I’m currently living. Life is good.

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