Pledge 1%'s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.
What is your current role? Briefly describe in 1-2 sentences.
As the lead financial advisor, I provide comprehensive financial planning—running retirement cashflow projections; helping establish savings goals; conducting portfolio risk analyses; developing and implementing philanthropic legacy plans.
As portfolio manager, I design investment portfolios customized to the goals of each client, then diligently monitor and rebalance the portfolios to maintain allocations in line with clients’ priorities.
On the administrative side, I manage my back-office team, Advisory Services Network, through which I receives compliance and administrative support; and direct my own marketing and communication, including website design and ad placement.
What’s the best part of your job? What do you enjoy the most?
I have always been truly interested in other people. I used to sit on a park bench in Union Square for hours, making up the background stories about the different people lounging on the grass or strolling by. Where are they from? What do they do? Are they happy? Are they fulfilled? What keeps them up at night?
As a financial advisor, I am able to ask these questions and get to know a wide-range of people, all with different experiences, skills, and ambitions. My sincere interest about others enables me to draw out honest answers from clients who often realize they have actually never considered answers to some of the questions I pose: What WOULD I do if I didn't HAVE to work? Where WOULD I live if it could be anywhere? Will I need to take care of my parents as they age and what will it mean for MY family? I truly love helping clients confront these questions and then, together, prioritizing their goals and needs, and crafting a financial plan to help achieve them.
We’ve all faced personal and professional challenges these past two years - what motivates you to keep going?
I have many privileges that enabled me to navigate this pandemic much more easily and safely than many others in our community. Seeing others' struggles motivates me to use my own resources and skills to keep building my practice so that I can offer more financial guidance to more people; provide more pro bono financial advice; and contribute an ever-increasing amount to great nonprofits, as I have a commitment to donating 3% of my practice's net profits to charity every year.
Money is often tied up in family, emotional, and even health issues. I am honored to support clients and others in the community as they navigate these issues, to at least reduce the stress associated with the money piece of their life puzzle. As one example, in June 2020, a long-time married woman was referred to me; her husband had recently left her. Envelopes had been piling up, filled with bills and past due mortgage payments which, the woman now realized, her husband had stopped paying long before. I methodically helped the client go through each envelope and take stock of her financial affairs, of which she had previously been kept in the dark; and worked with the client to regain control of her finances; prioritizing bills to be paid and creditors to be contacted. Together, we developed a long-term financial plan, projecting what the client would need to be comfortable in this new phase of her life. I eventually helped the client interview and eventually retain a trusted divorce attorney. I then worked directly with the attorney to create and analyze different divorce settlement scenarios: How much did her client need to maintain her lifestyle throughout retirement? What different assets would enable her to meet that need? Along the way, I met with the client often to provide patient explanations of her financial projections and, when I started managing the client’s portfolio, my portfolio recommendations. While my client is still working through this difficult transition, feeling more educated and supported, she has at least been able to regain control of her financial life and is now more confidently approaching her financial future. Having the ability to provide a source of strength, clarity, and direction for someone going through an incredibly challenging time is motivation to keep showing up and offering the best of my abilities to whoever can benefit from them.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best advice--and what truly got me through the terrifying process of launching my own practice--came in Ani Difranco's Swan Dive. The gist of the song? Sure, you might not achieve what you've set out to do. But the upside is greater than the down, so take the chance. And do it with grace.
"'Cause they can call me crazy if I fail
All the chance that I need
Is one-in-a-million and they can call me brilliant
If I succeed
Gravity is nothing to me
Moving at the speed of sound
I'm just gonna get my feet wet
Until I drown"
What does generosity mean to you?
The highest form of generosity means predicting others' needs and providing support and help before they even need to ask for it. That is why I am so grateful for Pledge 1%, which encourages businesses to commit to giving back to the community on an ongoing, proactive basis, instead of waiting to be specifically asked for donations from those in urgent need.
If you could describe yourself in one word what would that be and why?
Compassionate. I like seeing the people around me find happiness and joy and I do what I can to help bring that about.
If you could pick a song to guide you through 2022, which song would it be?
Better Things by Dar Williams. It's an older song, but a beautiful wish that, after the last two years, which have been so difficult for so many, now "all the verses rhyme." As Dar Williams sings: