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Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez: The Ambition Penalty

When we’re talking about the things women need to do to empower themselves, there’s usually a penalty attached. Women are more likely to face social penalties that manifest in tangible and financial outcomes such as denial of tenure, promotions or even raises. Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez refers to these as ambition penalties and today on the Redefining Wealth Podcast, we sat down with Stefanie to discuss women, money, power and ambition.

Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez is the host of Real Simple magazine’s ‘Money Confidential’ podcast, the founder of Statement Cards, a line of greeting cards that celebrates milestones beyond marriage and motherhood, and the co-founder of Statement Event, dedicated to connecting the dots between gender equity and financial power. 

Key discussion points from this episode include:

  • Things We Tell Women To Do To Empower Themselves – 4:36
  • Articulating Equity & Internalized Tension – 10:38
  • Dismantling Organizational Penalties – 17:07
  • Curate The Community You Want – 20:47
  • Ambition Vs. Hustle Culture – 32:26
  • Healing From Trauma In The Workplace – 40:41
  • Celebrate Your Ambitions With Statement Cards – 41:52

Connect With Stefanie:

Instagram: @stefanieoconnell


Statement Cards:

Money Confidential Podcast:

This episode is brought to you by Speak With Purpose! Are you ready to become more powerful, more magnetic and more memorable on every stage you step on? Your story is powerful, your voice matters and your message deserves to be shared. I’m hosting a FREE webinar called Speak With Purpose designed to help you own your story, find your voice and deliver your message with confidence and power. If you’re ready to command every stage you step on? Then sign up TODAY and join me LIVE Thursday, December 9th at 3p PST / 6p EDT as we Speak With Purpose! For more information visit:

The Ambition Penalty Takeaways

  • “When women do negotiate, they are less likely than men to get what they asked for.” – Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez
  • “Negotiate more, but understand that ambition penalty exists.” – Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez
  • “The opposite of penalizing ambition is celebrating ambition.” – Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez
  • “Biases are built into every social construct.” – Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez
  • “Hustle does not equal ambition.” – Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez
  • “You can have the vision, and you should have boundaries.”  – Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez
  • “Women perpetrate patriarchy.” – Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez
  • “Being a wife and being a woman are not the only things about a woman worth celebrating.” – Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez

Redefining Wealth Rapid Wisdom Questions

And with that, let’s dig into Stefanie’s responses to our Redefining Wealth Rapid Wisdom Questions.

Define Success:

“Being able to spend my time in a way that I value.”

Define Wealth in 3 Words or Less:

“Security. Joy. Opportunity.”

One Book that Has Helped You Redefined Wealth For Yourself:

Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women’s Changing Lives by Anna Fels

Fill-in the Blanks … “My name is ___ and the truth about wealth is ___”:

“My name is Stefanie OConnell Rodriguez and to me the truth about wealth is that it’s about optimizing value as opposed to the bottom line.”



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