auto dealership. I learned so much about negotiating and building
relationships, and understanding people’s perspectives and goals.
But when I entered the tech field a few years later, I still
thought of myself as “the car girl,” and looking back, I did myself
a tremendous disservice. I picked up many transferable skills at
the auto dealership, and I should have appreciated the opportunity to redefine myself when I entered the corporate world.
Luckily, the CEO of the tech company where I first worked,
who interviewed me, helped me understand how much good I
could bring to my job as a result of my experiences at the auto
dealership. This CEO became a longtime mentor and personal
friend, and has taught me so much.
Also, financial services companies can play an important
role in drawing more women to careers in WealthTech. For
example, last year we launched an employee resource for the
women of Advicent in order to attract, retain, and develop the
future female leaders of our business.
Advice for those starting out: Be sharp: Focus on building the
right knowledge, skills and attitude to be successful in business.
Work to understand all aspects of the business or industry you
are in. This will expand your business acumen and capability,
making you more valuable to any employer. Don’t underestimate how valuable strong business acumen and etiquette are
in differentiating you. Strong networking or communication
skills — even a proper handshake — can go a long way.
Be curious. Try new things to leverage your strengths and
diminish your weaknesses. Think of your career more like a
jungle gym than a ladder. There are many interesting steps and
activities as you advance to the top, and the journey between
them should be fun.
Be intentional: Some of the best advice I received early on
was, “If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it.” Whether it’s a
sale, a promotion or a salary increase, it doesn’t matter. You
are your best advocate. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished
and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. And, always be
prepared for the various responses you get to the question.
Be coachable: No one is perfect, so don’t try to be. Simply
work to get better. Ask for and accept feedback from your biggest fans and harshest critics. Put that feedback to work. Trust
that honest feedback is a gift and apply it, even if unsure. You
will be amazed by what you learn from it.
Enjoy the ride! A lot happens in life while you’re building a
career. Don’t take it so seriously that you miss the celebration
along the way. You’ll get there. Don’t rush it, and stop to smell
the roses more often.
Sources of insights and inspiration: I draw advice from col-
leagues who are willing to serve as reverse mentors. Find
someone in your organization that is at an earlier point in their
career, or in a completely different business unit. This person
should be someone who will give it to you straight — how you
are perceived, the impact your communications have on the
team, and how you can do better in the future.
Industry wisdom and innovation also can come from other
industries. Don’t underestimate the power of insights from
innovations in other sectors. By leveraging proven techniques
when implementing a new idea of your own, you will save time
and increase the rate of success.
I have lived this advice — I found ways to help improve
the planning experience for NaviPlan customers by looking
beyond the financial services industry, and investigating how
software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers in other fields were
strengthening user experiences for their customers.
I draw inspiration from our end clients — the investors and
business owners our customers work with to plan. These are
real people with wonderful stories and unique challenges.
The work we do is meaningful. We help people live out their
dreams, solve their toughest problems, and give them peace of
mind and a little confidence to achieve their goals.
Allison Couch Pratt
Executive Vice President, National Sales,
Accomplishment(s): Advisor Group has invested greatly in
business building tools for our financial professionals. Our biggest challenge is that those professionals are focused on their
clients, and reading every home office email and attending
every webinar is not at the top of their priority list.
With that in mind, I led our effort last year to partner with ActiFi
to build our MyBusinessBuilder platform. MyBusinessBuilder
supports advisor growth by aligning resources that can help them
pursue opportunities or address challenges in their businesses. It
personalizes the delivery of Advisor Group’s consultative resources by narrowing the focus to what each advisor needs, based on
where they are in the evolution of their business at any given time.
For us, the platform produces and institutionalizes critical
qualitative and quantitative knowledge regarding advisors’
businesses that was previously unavailable, and helps us draw
on that information to empower their growth. This is a technology solution that scales practice management.
I’m very proud of the role I played in spurring collaboration from professionals across six of Advisor Group’s different
functional areas to get this done. Not only did it result in a
capability that will drive business growth and retention, it created synergies within our organization.
How to get more women into Wealth Tech: Raise your hand. At
the heart of an advisor’s ability to scale their business so they
can deliver more holistic wealth management services — is
technology. Today, 97% of clients are demanding more digital
engagement and getting it independent of their financial advi-