Financial Services: Women at the Top
Financial Services: Women at the Top
A WIFS Research Study
Casebound Hardcover
Print Type:

The financial services industry can be personally and financially rewarding, so why is it that so few women are in the field?

Arthea Reed and Diane Dixon draw upon the results of a Women in Insurance & Financial Services research study and their own extensive knowledge to explain the shortage as well as to inspire more women to enter or remain in the field.

Some of the most successful women in financial services have overcome great personal tragedy, professional ridicule, and failure to reach the pinnacle of success. By studying their moves, you can:

follow in the footsteps of successful female financial services professionals;

train up-and-coming female professionals so they have the knowledge and tools to succeed; and

promote a workplace that’s inclusive, inspirational, and encouraging for everyone.

Walk down the path to a successful and rewarding career in financial services and help others do the same by learning from amazingly successful women. Whether you’re already in the industry or considering it as a career, you’ll get a roadmap to overcome challenges with Financial Services: Women at the Top.

Amazing Women in the Financial Services Industry

Throughout this book, you have come to know twenty-three of the most successful women in the financial services industry. These women have very different business models. They work with or for many different types of companies. They live in every region of the country, and they do their business in rural areas, suburbs, small cities, and large metropolitan areas. They are married, widowed, divorced, and single, and they have young children, adult children, or no children. What is most striking, however, is what they share.

Shared Values

All of them are driven by their values. Their families always take precedence over their businesses. When the women are young, their children and spouses come first. As the women mature, their grandchildren, aging parents and in-laws, and other elderly family members and friends consume much of their time and effort.

In their business lives, their decisions are made based on what is in the best interest of their clients. What they earn (which is substantial) and the recognition they are given by their companies and the industry are important to them. However, money and recognition are not important as measures of the women’s success. Rather, their status within their companies gives them the opportunity to attend meetings with corporate executives and other significant producers, sharing information and participating in corporate decision making. They also gain access to the best thinkers and advisors within their companies, allowing them to provide their clients with high-level advice and products. Special titles and access to cutting-edge technology and specialized products may also come with their status. Money and recognition make other things possible and come to these women because of the good work they do for their clients. In turn, money and recognition allow them to do more good work for their clients, their families, and their communities.

Planning is important to their success

All of these women are planners. Many, if not all, are financial planners and advisors. However, even those who are not share in the belief that a values-driven business planning process is critical if they are to succeed. They are organized and develop and adapt processes and procedures as well as goals, objectives, and missions for their practices.

Most of these women have several employees. The work these employees, usually called team members, do is articulated, well thought-out, and important to the successful completion of the business plans that are in place in their practices. Team members are more than assistants to these women; they are highly valued professionals who contribute to the business’s success and the advice and service provided to the clients.

Values-driven succession plans sustain the business and retain team Members

Not all of the women you met in this book are at the point in their careers where they are developing values-driven succession plans that sustain their businesses and retain their team members so that they can continue providing high levels of advice and service to their clients, even after they have retired. However, they all recognize that if they do not already have a succession plan, they will need one (even those who work for companies where selling the business is not possible).

They also know that developing and implementing a succession plan with the goal of sustaining the business and retaining team members is extraordinarily difficult. As they have done throughout the growth years of their businesses, they will hire coaches and advisors who can help in the valuation of their practices, development of their succession plans, and selection and mentoring of appropriate successors.

They also know that a succession plan that sustains and retains will be more difficult to implement than one that is not committed to the continuation of a values-driven practice. They may partner with numerous potential successors in various roles over a number of years, and they will keep doing so until the fit is right. For these women, succession plans are about more than securing their retirements; they are about making sure their clients continue to receive the advice and service they have come to expect and that their team members continue in a rewarding career path.

It takes a village to run a business

These women are team players. Their teams include their employees, business partners, and many other professionals. Most of them have coaches, and many have other professional advisors.

Arthea Reed is a senior financial representative with Northwestern Mutual and senior partner of Long Term Care Insurance Connection. She was formerly a professor and chair of the Education Department at the University of North Carolina – Asheville (UNCA). She earned a doctorate at Florida State University and is a UNCA professor emeritus. She divides her time between Asheville, North Carolina, and Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Diane Dixon owns 3FCoaching (Faith | Focus | Follow Through), a national coaching business. She is a national past president of Women in Insurance & Financial Services and was its Woman of the Year in 2008. She is a graduate of Coach University, a member of International Coach Federation, a consultant of The One Page Business Plan™, and a practitioner with Leading From Your Strengths™. She lives in Xenia, Ohio.


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