Looking for a Shortcut to Growing Talent Within your Firm?

Looking for a Shortcut to Growing Talent Within your Firm?

Mark Smith is a supporter of the Women’s Leadership Alliance. But that’s not surprising – he’s the son of an inspiring woman. 

“Everything I have I owe to my Mom,” he says. “She worked so hard to give us a solid upbringing. Because of how hard you saw her work, and the love that you felt, you never wanted to disappoint.”

So, when Mark heard about the WLA’s fledgling mentorship program, he liked the idea, but admits, “I wasn’t quite sure how it applied to me.” Fortunately, Mark had recently coached a female associate at his company and knew how beneficial it could be. Having experienced the merits of mentoring, Mark gave the green light to his employee Alexa to became an inaugural mentee.


Meet Alexa Kane, CFP®, CDFA

When Mark tapped Alexa to participate in the WLA program, she had just earned her CFP® designation. While praising Alexa’s value to the firm, Mark hoped to boost her assertiveness.

“Alexa had always been, not only an extraordinary worker, but also a delightful personality,” he explains. “Yet I had noted in meetings with clients, she was very shy.”

Matched with Melissa Joy CFP®, President of Pearl Planning, Alexa flourished under her tutelage. Because isn’t that what a good mentor does: fine-tune strengths already there?

An Investment in Human Capital

“Melissa helped Alexa not only work on communication skills with clients,” Mark reports. “She helped her take the initiative to get her CDFA™(divorce certification), which we’ve already seen bear fruit with clients. Melissa’s also helped Alexa think about business development opportunities.”

The result? Alexa’s professional growth has been like “night and day,” according to her boss.

Making Time to Make a Difference

Becoming a mentor sounds daunting. You’ve got a business to run. You can barely spare an hour for lunch, no less take on a mentee, right? Wrong. Just ask Mark. 

“You would think it would take a tremendous investment of time and energy, but the way the WLA sets it up is through conference calls about once a month,” he reveals. “It’s had a meaningful impact and it’s just been a great experience.”

Words to the Wise

What would Mark tell a fellow business owner who’s thinking about participating in the WLA program? Go for it!

“The advice I’d give a financial advisor with young female professionals is, if you want to help them succeed and to be a bigger asset for you and your firm, I don’t think there’s a better shortcut you could take than to enroll in this program and support this organization.”

Spoken like a man who was raised by an amazing woman. 

We think Mark’s Mom would be proud!

To learn more about the value of mentorships, click here. For the latest WLA information, click here.

Michelle Danielson
[email protected]

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.