My life changed with a simple interaction. At the beginning of my career nearly 20 years ago, I was working in an insurance agency as a customer representative. Although I enjoyed the interaction with policy holders, I knew I wanted more from my work. Fortunately, the manager of a local bank noticed me, and made me a job offer to be the assistant branch manager. A bank didn’t seem to be the place for me, so I declined.
About 18 months later, that same bank manager called me from a Raymond James office to tell me about his career change. He moved to Raymond James to become a financial advisor, and he thought this was the kind of career I was looking for. He shared that the role of an advisor is so much more than investing. This it is an opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of clients, while helping them reach their financial goals. I felt that I should talk to my boss about my future, before I made any decisions. It turned out that my boss didn’t see me having a significant role beyond what I was already doing, so I knew it was time to make a change. I accepted the position at Raymond James, and have always appreciated the effort made by a few key people to enlighten me about this all-encompassing way to work with people. I may not have had the courage to talk to my boss about my future if I had not had the encouragement that I could become more.
As a female financial advisor, I’ve faced challenges, including the assumption that a man must have helped me build my business because, “Girls just don’t do this kind of work.” Although many men have been role models for me, and I’m sure for other women, it’s perseverance and a passion for the business that has been the foundation of our accomplishments.
When I look at my career path, there’s no reason I should be where I am today, as the branch manager of the Crystal River office of Raymond James & Associates. One of the keys to my success is that one person took the time to call me and ask if I was interested in learning more about the industry. That’s why I’m involved in the WLA, and what I want to be for others – the person who sees individual potential, and acts on it in a meaningful way. I believe, in order to grow the number of women in financial services, we need to share our stories.