It was my grandmother who gave me my start. Even though she didn’t need the job, she worked as a receptionist for years so that each of her grandkids could get $5,000 when we graduated high school. That was a lot of money for her and that was her legacy. At age 18, I took mine and invested it. Seeing that money growing and using it to help fund college grew a feeling of empowerment in me.
My first job, right out of college, was in a call center at a credit union. It was 2001, the economy was terrible, and it was not a job-seekers’ market. But through work I started meeting financial advisors and in my free time I read everything I could – even self-help books like Suze Orman. The advice I kept hearing and reading was, “You should work with a CFP®.” So, I decided that’s what I was going to do, well, not work with one, but be one. When I enrolled in my first certification course, admissions asked me, “Do you have experience?” I was like, definitely! Thinking to myself that four years of answering phone calls on credit cards equaled investment experience.
I still work at First Tech Federal Credit Union, today as a financial advisor, thanks in part to some really strong women in management who have helped and encouraged me when opportunities arrived. Being ranked by Forbes as a “Best In State” Wealth Advisor for Oregon and making the Working Mothers Magazine list is an honor, but what I really love about my job is creating deep connections with my clients. In advising, you need to read between the lines and hear what your clients are afraid to say … then address that. It’s also nice to be well-compensated for something that I really enjoy.
I have two elementary-aged kids at home, so flexibility is really important to me. Even though I have a high-pressure job, I’ve been able to strike a pretty good work-life balance. For my son’s recent 5th grade tulip fundraiser, I blocked off a couple hours on my calendar and went to school to help. That night I did some work after the kids were tucked in bed. I love showing up at my kids’ school wearing a suit and heels. I dress to impress because I want the little girls, especially those in my 7-year-old daughter’s class, to see women who are professionals. I believe it’s my obligation to be a role model because I have received so much. And if I can help the WLA bring more women into financial advising, it will be like handing them the keys to being as happy as I am.