The Value of Investing in Yourself

Jill Griebenow
March 21, 2024

From my days studying accounting at the University of Northern Iowa to my role as Chief Financial Officer here at Cboe, I have learned a great deal about the power of investing in yourself. This year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Invest in Women,” couldn’t be better suited to how I’ve modeled my personal and professional life. 

Investing can take on many different forms. Of course, you can invest your money, but you can also invest your intangible resources. Investing your time, knowledge and energy in yourself or others can be just as rewarding, if not more so. 

However, it can be difficult to invest your time in yourself, especially when there are so many competing priorities. College was the first time I remember making an investment in myself and realizing the return on that investment. I spent a Saturday attending an off-campus informational session for a great internship program. As a college student, it was far from my idea of a fun Saturday, but I wanted that internship. When I was later offered the internship, I realized my sacrifice hadn’t gone unnoticed. The company appreciated my demonstrated interest, curiosity and determination enough that it set me apart from the other applicants.  

As my career progressed, I continued to make consistent, small investments in myself, such as networking and putting in the extra effort to make my work stand out. I also benefitted from others who saw my potential and invested their time and efforts coaching and mentoring me. Cboe’s previous CFO was a significant investor in my career and encouraged me to make the biggest and riskiest investment in my career – a move to London to serve as Cboe Europe’s CFO. Moving to a different country made me nervous, to say the least, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for the job. But I knew that stepping out of my comfort zone would push me to learn more about myself and reach my full potential.  

My move to London was an incredibly worthwhile investment, but when I look back on my career so far, it was all those consistent, small investments that really added up. That realization is what continues to guide my approach to my own career and the advice I give other women. Your actions speak louder than words and it is important to work hard and show up as your best self every day. You should always raise your hand when opportunities arise and be sure to advocate for yourself, but that only takes you so far. When you are continuously working hard and making small investments in yourself, you have the proof to back up why you are the best person for the opportunity you want.  

As Cboe’s CFO, no one is surprised to hear that much of my role revolves around investing in our business. However, I believe investing in our people is just as essential to helping Cboe thrive in the coming years. Investing in women is especially important to our future because data shows a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace is a stronger workplace.  

As we think about Cboe’s long-term growth, we have to be looking at the investments we are making in our associates. It is crucial to me that Cboe promotes transparency in hiring, has diverse candidate sets and encourages a culture of advocacy and inclusivity. I truly believe our leaders and associates are aligned on this vision, and everyone is committed to keeping DE&I at our core.  

Even better, lately I see associates finding more joy in their work than ever before. It isn’t hard to believe that people who are being invested in — and have the resources to invest in themselves and others — enjoy their work more. So, from a financial perspective, these investments in our people are just good for business!  

My advice for anyone running a business, managing people or even raising a family is to invest your time, money and efforts in the human beings that make it happen. From my experience, supporting and building up our people along with creating an environment of joy, fosters a well-rounded, dedicated team committed to helping the organization achieve its most ambitious objectives. 

I have had the pleasure of making investments in those around me throughout my career and I think it benefits me just as much as those on the receiving end. There is nothing more rewarding than watching someone grow their career on their terms, with the support of the people around them.  

Talking to younger generations especially, like my children, reminds me of the importance of making those investments early and working hard for the life and career you wish to have. As my daughter prepares to apply to colleges, I hope I have instilled in her the importance of investing in yourself and the people around you, and accepting the investments from the people who believe in you. You should always be able to count on yourself, but no one can do it all alone.