Julia Ortenzio saw a need for female financial advisers in the Boston area to come together to help advance each other's careers, and began to assemble the group the same way many financial advisers get their first clients.
"I cold called them right out of the blue," Ms. Ortenzio said.
The Women's Advisor Network of Greater Boston met for the first time in March 2013, with 17 in attendance. Now the organization includes about 100 advisers.
"It has exploded," Ms. Ortenzio said. "It's grown through word of mouth and is still growing."
The group is popular because it gives women, who are vastly outnumbered by men in the advisory business, a place to learn about practice management, business development ó and even golf ó while being surrounded by colleagues who understand the challenges they face.
"Women in this business a lot of times [are] talented but not respected," Ms. Ortenzio said. "When you feel connected, you also feel empowered ... and valued."
And Ms. Ortenzio delivers value to Ameriprise Financial as a branch manager. In her first year in the position, 2013, she ranked fourth out of 120 branch managers, hitting 127% of the site's revenue goal and leading her 14 advisers to an average 40% year-over-year revenue growth.
She attributes her success to an intense focus on fundamentals, such as client acquisition and development, and also her emphasis on what individual advisers want to achieve.
"I care a lot about the advisers I lead," Ms. Ortenzio said. "A lot of people have lost the caring gene. I hope that people remember that I put their goals ahead of mine."
ó Mark Schoeff Jr.
Professor of retirement income, The American College