As an eight-year-old child, I remember going to the local bank with my grandmother to open my own bank account. She wanted me to keep my own savings book and understand the value of money. She was fiercely independent, loved me, and played a major role raising me from the age of five. It was my grandmother who encouraged me to go to college, where I majored in Finance. My grandmother remained my staunchest supporter throughout college; it was she who truly gave me my start.
Early in my career, I took an operations position at Raymond James and stayed for 17 years. Over the years, I was promoted and eventually moved from a branch office to the home office. One of the things I love about the industry is the ever-changing landscape. Whether it’s the stock market, politics, or world economic conditions, there is always change, so that made it an exciting career.
After much consideration, I decided to leave Raymond James in 2006 to focus full time on raising my then two-year-old daughter. In the years since, I’ve worked with industry-related organizations to promote the mentoring and hiring of women. As Executive Director of the Women’s Leadership Alliance, I am passionate about changing the conversation and exploring new initiatives to reach more young women and girls in high schools, colleges, and universities to create awareness about the value and meaning a career in this profession can bring.
Ultimately, this is a relationship industry. I’ve talked to many people, including other financial planners and advisors, and while there appears to be a genuine interest by all to hire more women into the profession, there also appears to be uncertainty as to how to actually accomplish this. In my opinion, it is going to take a wholesale shift in evaluating how women perceive their role in the industry in order to make a real impact on the number of women financial planners.
While I work to change the financial services industry, I’m also passionate about giving back to my local community. My husband is a veterinarian, which has brought my family the opportunity to become involved in animal rescue. Over the past ten years we have fostered (and failed a few times!) many animals, including well over 100 cats and kittens. It fuels my passion to change the world.