Katherine’s Path to Financial Planning

Katherine’s Path to Financial Planning

Like Dad, Like Daughter

 Katherine’s aptitude for wealth management may have been “DNA destiny”: her father Joe is a longtime advisor and Senior Vice President of the firm they co-founded. In addition to her CFP® credential, Katherine earned a B.S. in Business Administration and Management from San Diego State and previously held roles at D.A. Davidson & Co and Crowell, Weedon & Co.

Horse Sense

 Although she grew up around the family business, Katherine’s first love involved equines, not equities: “I was nine when I started riding horses. That’s all I wanted to do. My parents put me in gymnastics, softball and all sorts of things, but all I ever wanted was ride.”

Naturally, when it came time to choose a career, Katherine considered turning her passion into a profession: “I always thought I wanted to be an equine vet,” she says. “I just love spending my day with horses – until my vet at the time moved her horse out to the barn where I kept my horse, and I noticed I never saw her out there riding!”

Balancing Act

 Like many Millennials, Katherine longed for more than just an all-consuming, 24/7 job: “I kind of put the pieces together before I even knew what the words ‘work/life balance’ were. I started asking my parents, ‘Is there a career that you can enjoy, but that also gives you time to do the other things you love?’ That’s when my Dad suggested I look into financial advising.”

Is there a career that you can enjoy, but that also gives you time to do the other things you love?


Ask…And You Shall Believe

To determine if financial advising is right for you, Katherine tells women to reach out to people already in the field: “At 22, I just called up all of the top advisors at my firm,” she explains. “I did not have a single person turn me down. People love to talk about themselves! I find that while the men want to tell you how successful they are, the women really want to see YOU become successful, and will help give you the tools to do that yourself.”

Does Katherine have any regrets about trading saddles for securities? Not at all. In fact, her career allows her to have the best of both worlds: “Now that I’ve been at it for seven years, it’s much easier to build the flexible schedule I want so I’m able to do the other things I like.”

Learn how you can help the WLA attract more women into the field of financial advising by clicking here.

LinkedIn tease: Horses were her passion, so why didn’t Katherine O’Leary, CFP® make them her career? Hear how this Millennial advisor went from equines to equities…(add video link)

Michelle Danielson
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Michelle brings nearly 20 years of experience in the financial services industry to the role of executive director of the WLA. She began her career at Northwestern Mutual Insurance, then joined Raymond James as a branch operations manager where she spent seven years overseeing the branch’s operations and compliance activity.