Equity Spotlight: Meet Daniela Frias, Founder of Joshua Stone Company
EquityCoin’s Director of Community Engagement, Michael McConnell, had the honor of connecting with Daniela Frias, risk management professional and owner of Joshua Stone Company to discuss insights from raising curious children to breaking down the basics of risk management. Listen to the interview on Youtube or check out the transcribed version at Equity Report.
For more information about Joshua Stone Company, go to https://joshuastoneco.com/
Q: (Michael McConnell, Director of Community at Equity Platforms): Welcome! This is EquityHaus on the Equity Report, powered by EquityCoin and I am very excited today as we have an extremely dynamic woman on the line with us. Her name is Daniela Frias. Daniela, can you introduce yourself to the audience?
A: (Daniela Frias) I am Daniela Frias, originally from Jersey City, New Jersey. In NJ, we identify ourselves by our exit number, I am from exit 14. More specifically, I grew up on Fulton Ave between Ocean and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. My parents are from the same area and moved to the are to become property owners. My father immigrated from the Dominican Republic in the 1970s and met my mother, who was also from Jersey City with roots in Puerto Rico. I attended boarding school in Massachusetts for high school and then returned to NJ to attend Rutgers University. Currently, I have been living in Arizona for almost three years.
Q: So let’s get to know you a little bit better. Tell us about some of your passions in life.
A: So I have a 13-year-old son. I enjoy spending time with him this year. He’s in his formative years, right? Personally, I enjoy art, but I’m also a foodie, I work out, play sports, and enjoy traveling. I’ve recently been to the Van Gogh and Monet immersive experiences in Phoenix and Scottsdale. I also saw an exhibit by Charlie, a blown glass artist, at the Phoenix Botanical Garden and one of his previous exhibits at the Bronx Botanical Garden. His work was breathtaking. My son is at an age where he’s into electronic social media and always looks at recipes on YouTube. We try them out and go jogging for workouts. Arizona has so many beautiful vistas, whether it’s the sunrise or sunset, it’s just gorgeous. I used to be a biking instructor and have done New York City bike tours. Out here in the west, my son is a fan of the Golden State Warriors, just like me. The Warriors, Giants, and Yankees are all sports teams. I’ve traveled mostly across the Americas, including Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, and up and down the East Coast. Since we’re now in Arizona, it’s huge, four times the size of New England. There’s no corner store or bodega. We’re exploring different parts of the state, like Lake Havasu City, a beach in the middle of the desert. We’re now getting around the West Coast.
Q: Nice. Travel is always good. And I heard the Jersey accent come out for a second! And now to jump into too, let’s talk profession. What do you do professionally?
A: I currently work at a Japanese bank. To be specific, my background is in accounting and I have a master’s degree in it. For the first two years of my career, I worked for accounting firms. About eight years ago, I transitioned into international banking, where I was able to bring my expertise in auditing and technical accounting from my public accounting firm experience to the bank. I am now a Vice President of Compliance, responsible for understanding all laws and regulations related to various types of risk. I assess the risk and develop protocols to ensure that the bank meets regulatory expectations, demonstrating efficiency and attention to detail in the process.
Q: Can you break down some of the nitty gritty details related to the risk management modeling for the audience?
A: Breaking it down, as I see it, everyday consumers, like yourself with a debit card, are considered retail customers. If you had a business account, you would be a commercial customer. Depending on the size of the bank, some banks offer wealth management services. This creates various client segments for what a bank may offer. The size of a bank is determined by its assets and assets under management, and is classified as small, medium, or large by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency or the Federal Reserve Board. These organizations have rules that banks must follow, and banks make sure they have processes and procedures in place to be in compliance with these rules to avoid problems.
In today’s culture, post the 2007-2009 recession, there is a greater focus on these issues in the banking industry compared to before.
Q: But there’s another business. This one definitely interests me because I was in the industry for a while. But can you tell us a little bit more about your family’s gemstone business and how it is selling?
A: Sure. So, as I mentioned before, I enjoy art, botany, and earth sciences. I even have an award in botany, which people find hilarious. I love the natural beauty created by Mother Nature. My family business, Joshua Stone Company, was born from these passions for art and natural beauty. We aim to bring the elegance and energy of natural stones to your home or office. A few years ago, I moved to Arizona after a conversation with a friend who was a jeweler from back East. We talked about the difference between earth-grown and lab-grown diamonds and other synthetic precious stones. I realized that if there’s a market for synthetic stones, then there must be a market for real, natural stones in the precious stone category.
So the thing about the chords, there’s a whole variety of them, you know, like Amethyst, Citrine, Rose Quartz, Tourmaline, which are just beautiful. I’ve come to love these natural beauties. Research has shown that there is a large market for these natural stones, and that’s where the name Joshua Stone comes from. People often ask where the name originated. As a follower of multiple religions, I heard a sermon called “Make Milestones Count,” which brought my attention to the Book of Joshua in the Bible. The name is based on the Bible, and in this book, Joshua instructs 12 men to go and get stones and place them in the middle of the Jordan River, which they crossed, despite it seeming impossible. The stones are meant to signify the milestones in our lives and serve as markers of our achievements and greatness. And, like the stones, these achievements can last forever, so we can look back on them and tell others about them, because our time is not forever.
Q: That’s a fantastic story. And, you know, when you when you’re naming your company, you also have to be very conscious because it is something that will live forever if managed properly. Let’s get in the weeds now. How do you feel about generational wealth and what issues have kept black and brown people from achieving it?
A: We focus a lot on generational wealth in our series. Right. And it’s all about education. I know that, for me, when I think about generational wealth, I think about perhaps being a first-time or first-generation wealth builder. I want to teach it to my kids so they can tell their kids and develop a legacy that really carries on. And I don’t just want to think about myself or my son, but I want to think about the continuity of my family’s legacy, for generations.
As for the second part of your question, you know, what has gotten in the way of black and brown people developing generational wealth, I think the word wealth has this connotation that we’re just talking about money. But wealth is more than that, it’s mental, spiritual, educational, and more. There’s a lot involved in developing a positive legacy of generational wealth, even when we talk about mental, spiritual, or educational wealth, things that are outside the control of money. Right. There are a lot of things that have kept black and brown people from achieving positive legacies.
As opposed to having wealth, we actually have deficits: monetary, mental illness, spiritual, and educational inequities. When we talk about systemic structures that institutionalize these inequities, it’s hard to develop a legacy of generational wealth if one lacks access to basic needs such as clean water, quality food, healthcare, education, housing, justice, and employment. The disparity in access to these resources keeps us from achieving generational wealth. For example, the water crisis in many of our cities is an example of how institutionalized inequities can create a domino effect. If people don’t have adequate access to water, they can’t cook, maintain hygiene, or attend school or work, which makes it difficult to develop generational wealth.
Q: What are some of your favorite investments looking ahead for 2023, given the fact that there’s this impending recession? Right. What are some of your favorite investments for 2023 that you’re looking at?
A: You know, I think one of our previous get-togethers was about preparing or securing the bank during a recession. When we talk about finances in 2023, no one has a crystal ball, so I don’t think we can time the market just by labeling it 2023. We have to trust the market. I also think it’s important to understand the math behind investing. If you’re a long-term investor, you’re guaranteed a certain return over a set number of years. Personally, I invest with the mindset that it’s not a quick flip. I look for entities that I know will be profitable for perpetuity from an accounting perspective.
When considering an investment, I always ask what the purpose of the business is, and that goes into how long I expect the business to be in operation. I prefer to invest in businesses that will be around for a long time, not just meme stocks that are volatile and too stressful. I want to develop a long-term strategy where I trust the market and leave my money invested in profitable entities for the long run, even during recessions.
For example, I often use Starbucks as an example of a long-standing business. If you look at the value of a Starbucks share compared to the number of coffees or beverages it represents, it shows the equity in investing in the company. The same goes for household staples like Amazon, Louis Vuitton, Remy Martin, Hennessy, Nike, cocoa, water, and Coca Cola. These are names that have been around for a long time and will continue to be profitable due to consumerism.
Q: How do you decide what’s your process of deciding on a good investment?
A: So for me, I’ll look at how they’re doing, and I examine both their short-term and long-term performance. I look at their curves for the last five years and expect to see a positive trajectory. However, it’s important to remember that the value of the dollar changes over time, and that affects a company’s success. We also need to consider the financial challenges, like recessions and inflation, that impact everyone. I prefer to focus on companies that have been around for a long time, have demonstrated resilience and have continued to succeed even in new, emerging markets.
Q: I know you’re an EquityCoin® token holder – What are your thoughts on blockchain and real estate tokenization?
A: So this is a good question. As I mentioned, I’m an accountant by trade. When I think about entities like those we just mentioned, they have had to withstand changes. I believe that blockchain is the future of accounting and a more sophisticated system than we have previously had. As someone who studied accounting and accounting information systems, I have learned about the evolution of blockchain and how it is the wave of the future.
One thing I learned about accounting is the importance of vocabulary and seven words used in business. Many people confuse blockchain and cryptocurrency, but they are not synonymous. Cryptocurrency is a currency distributed on blockchain, which is a distributed accounting system. It’s like a ledger, similar to a bookkeeper’s ledger before the use of computers. Blockchain is a highly sophisticated accounting system that elevates what was once a ledger to more than just an Excel spreadsheet or database, but a shared database that allows for the automatic transition of funds.
The blockchain technology is young but impactful, allowing for cryptocurrencies and real estate tokens. Real estate tokenization allows for the use of blockchain to distribute an immutable accounting ledger, making it possible to develop generational wealth through real estate. Before, real estate required a large cash outlay, but now, real estate tokenization allows for shared ownership and decreases barriers to developing wealth. It minimizes the hurdles of cash outlay and assets under management.
Q: You know, I believe the children are our future – to quote Whitney Houston. So, in your opinion, how can more young people become financially empowered?
A: Oh, you know, this is a tough one. And, you know, my son is 13 years old. But even before I had a teenager, I was part of a program called “Earn Your Future.” We used to go into local public schools and teach kids from kindergarten through high school seniors about finances. We covered topics like financing education, credit cards, debit cards, and interest rates with a full curriculum that was tailored to the students’ ages. I think it’s important to educate young kids about finances at an early age because it gives them the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. With the rise of social media, it’s crucial that kids learn how to distinguish between real and fake information. I believe that if people want to be successful and build wealth for future generations, they need to focus their attention and efforts on a specific goal. For me, getting a master’s degree in accounting was valuable because I learned about the accounting equation, which is the foundation of financial statements. If we want to increase our equity, we need to manage our assets and liabilities wisely. By keeping an eye on our equity, we can make informed decisions in our daily activities and grow our financial stability.
Q: Lastly, I want you to name one person who inspires you and why.
A: One person. There’s definitely a lot of people who I look to for inspiration on, but a gentleman who I subscribed to and listened to a lot passed away this year. His name is Bob Proctor. It’s all about the energy and vibe. If you put in good work, you’ll get good results. I focus on attention, energy, and positivity, as you can attract positive things if you maintain a positive focus and vibe.
Q: I want to thank you for taking the time this evening to speak with us at EquityHaus via the Equity Report. This website, this platform is all about elevating our game, not just financially but mentally, spiritually and creating community around those pillars. So, Danielle, where can they find you if they want to get in contact with you, if they want to learn more about your family’s business?
A: So, contacting me is best done on Instagram. My handle is @simplydee1920. If you’re interested in the gemstones and minerals we have to offer, you can find us @JoshuaStoneCompany on Instagram. I’d be happy to speak with anyone on site about any of the items we discuss.
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