Women advisors are leading through collaboration


Catherine Seeber says it’s a great time to be a financial advisor.

“It’s the best job ever. I feel like I’m living my best life,” she said. “I get to help people and help them live their best life. It’s not all about the money. It’s not all about the portfolio. It’s all about comfort. And they appreciate it.”

Seeber, vice president and financial advisor at Captrust in Lewes, Delaware, will be one of several women leading panels at the Women Advisor Summit in New York City on Nov. 8. Topics to be discussed range from leading with vision, strategies for business growth, leading toward success and succeeding through authenticity.

Michelle Begina, senior partner and managing director at Snowden Lane Partners, said she doesn’t know whether advisors underestimate themselves or take for granted that they are privileged enough to teach people how to talk about money.

Nonfiction, a research group, found that 64% of people who have a financial advisor don’t feel as if they have anyone to talk with about their money.

“This blew my socks off when I heard it,” Begina said. “I don’t know that we recognize that being the ones to help other people really open up about their money so they can be more effective and make better decisions is a really key role of our job. I don’t think our clients even recognize that’s part of our role. So, if there’s something that I think could really move the needle, it’s for both to recognize that.”

The summit is sure to be full of uplifting messages for women advisors. As Seeber says, women need to celebrate themselves more.

“We are the last ones to pat ourselves on the back and a lot of it just has to do with the personality of a woman versus a man. We need to celebrate ourselves more and give ourselves the ‘wow,’” she said. “Because once other women see that and they hear that and it’s more visible, they’re going to see themselves in it as a possibility.”

Seeber is also the chair of the of Captrust Women’s Group, whose mission is to increase the number of women advisors and to lift each other up along the way. The group’s members also ensure that community, confidence, culture and communication are being looked after to ensure women feel heard, equal and supported by everyone.

“Our efforts are not only the women advisors,” Seeber says. “Our efforts are the male advisors, who are rallying behind it as well. It’s not an exclusive group [with a] ‘You’re a women advisor, hear me roar’ mentality. It really is a clear-cut mission to make women feel like they have a place at the table.”

Stephanie McCullough, founder and financial planner at Sofia Financial, said accountability and relying on fellow women advisors have helped her navigate some of the challenges within the industry.

“I’ve found my tribe of other women financial planners,” she said. “That is such a huge help and to the theme of that panel of the collaboration and finding your community. I don’t see us as competitors at all. There’s more than enough work to go around. There’s more for us all to help and everyone has a slightly different way of doing it.”

Begina, who joins Seeber and McCullough on the panel, quotes financial planner and speaker Doug Lennick when asked what’s a key takeaway she’s learned in the business: “To be a great financial advisor, you need to have the heart of a social worker and the mind of a capitalist.”

As for the panel topic, when it comes to future proofing your business, Seeber says it really boils down to keeping the client happy.

“Everything else other than the relationship can be commoditized,” she says. “I really do feel that if you lead with trust and integrity and you do a good job with the best interests of the client, you can’t fall down.”

McCullough added that it’s also just being an ear for someone to lean on.

“The part of being a financial planner that’s always appealed the most to me is the stuff that a machine’s going to have a really hard time doing,” she says. “That’s the very human-to-human conversation, connection holding, space for someone. Even just checking in on someone and knowing when they need an ear or time to vent. Being that good friend to them, that happens to know about the money stuff and can advise them on that part too.”

For more information on the Women Advisor Summit or to register, click here.

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