sor. All of this means that opportunities to drive innovative
solutions through technology are available to entrepreneurial-ly-minded professionals throughout an organization, in a way
that we have never seen before.
For example, my “title” is National Sales Manager for a wealth
management firm. But in that role, technology is a critical part of
my day-to-day engagement both across our corporate organization
and with our financial professionals. That perspective allows me to
drive innovation for advisors and our company, because I can see
what advisors need and play a proactive and meaningful role in
developing the technology solutions to help us meet those needs.
All of us, women and men, need to stop thinking of “
technology” as a separate discipline or siloed “department.” For
other women in the industry, don’t think that if you don’t have
a computer science degree you are not qualified to influence
Most technology professionals have not had the opportunity
to sit in an advisor’s office across the desk from the client. My
team has, just as many other female professionals in the industry have. You can help translate advisors’ needs into business
requirements. We all own technology.
Advice for those starting out: One, take more informed risks.
One of my only regrets is that I was too cautious early on in my
career. I was 10 years in before I had the confidence to really
step out of my comfort zone and go for a role that made me
think, “Wow, I might be over my skis.”
Two, hire a coach. Three years ago I had the opportunity to
work with an executive coach. I approached the engagement
somewhat reluctantly, but I decided if I was going to do it — I
was going to be all in. Candidly, at times it felt like therapy,
but I learned one of the most important lessons of my career
— leadership is about influence, it’s not about the title on your
business card. What a release that was. It gave me permission
to stretch within my current role and not always have my eyes
on “what’s next.” Sometimes the most important lessons to be
learned, the skills that you need to develop the most — are the
ones that are right where you are at that moment.
Three, do not underestimate the importance of balance.
This is not a 9-to- 5 industry. We all work countless nights and
weekends. Make balance a priority — exercise, spend time
with your family, take that vacation you keep talking about.
This industry has had some tragic losses in the past year; don’t
leave this world with regrets.
Sources of insights and inspiration: I’m an industry trade junky —
I skim all of the online publications for topics that interest me —
practice management, new products, regulatory updates, new
technology — I love op-ed and thought leadership pieces.
For meaty insights — the Cerulli Reports and the Cerulli Edge.
The MMI/Casey Quirk by Deloitte studies have been invaluable.
We leveraged the data from their 2017 study “Investors First:
Rebuilding the Advice Business around Client Needs” to inspire
our thinking on how to prepare for the fiduciary era. In 2019
they delivered “Meet me in the Middle: The Intermediary of
2025,” which affirmed our approach to Wealth Management.
For industry wisdom, I’ve been fortunate to work for one of
our industry’s pioneers twice in my career — Valerie Brown. I
will always consider her a mentor, and attribute much of my
professional growth to her teachings — and as she and I would
joke, not all lessons learned are easy ones!
President, Carson Group
Accomplishment(s): In the midst of 10X growth in 2019 (AUM
growth 61%; number of clients we serve, 40%; advisor firms
joining Carson in 2019 — 40; number of internal stakeholders
increased 55%), we have stayed true to our mission — our care
and passion to be the most trusted firm for financial advice has
never been stronger.
We are just beginning our journey to help independent advisors lead their clients to financial clarity. This past year we
launched new technology in the form of the Carson CX (Client
Experience) and Personalized Gameplan. We have been diligently building out a leadership team that is capable and equipped to
lead Carson well into the future. And key throughout all of this
has been building confidence and trust throughout the organization during this time of expansive growth and change.
How to get more women into Wealth Tech: Leaders involved in
Wealth Tech who strive to innovate and create new solutions
need to invite and encourage other women to participate. The
opportunity is wide open, but many women won’t invite themselves to participate. We need to give them the opportunity
and encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas, build
confidence in the value they can provide, and most importantly — lead. I have learned that the easy road is not the path
to innovation. You must embrace diversity, fresh thinking, new
ideas and often conflicting opinions. When you have diversity of thought across a diverse team that can effectively work
together to innovate — that is the secret sauce.
Advice for those starting out: I didn’t know that the independent advisor profession existed early in my career. So, I would
encourage my younger self to explore opportunities in the
financial services industry. I thought the only jobs available
were in sales (brokers) and that I would be tied to a desk, cold
calling to sell financial products. If more women understood
that they could be a financial life coach who helps families
by mentoring them in their financial lives, I believe we would
achieve greater diversity in our profession.