"I think the industry is changing its mind about women, about their value and about their ability to contribute to the success of firms. In part, this is because women themselves are becoming energized, proud of who they are and ready to be full-fledged, respected members of the profession."

— Eleanor Blayney

Eleanor%20Blayney Eleanor%20Blayney

Eleanor Blayney

Consumer advocate, CFP Board

After more than 20 years as an adviser, Eleanor Blayney retired from her practice in 2007 and began a new chapter.

Since 2008, she has been flying high in her second career in the financial industry as the CFP Board Consumer Advocate.

One of her main roles is promoting the board's Women's Initiative. As the program's internal manager, she coordinates research, distills the findings and assembles the advisory council.

Her research and writing has focused on helping women enter the profession. In 2010, she published her own book, called "Women's Worth." In 2014, her white paper, "Making More Room for Women in the Financial Planning Profession," was published, a culmination of the CFP Board's comprehensive research study to identify why women were not entering the profession in substantial numbers.

Ms. Blayney finds great satisfaction in seeing the ranks of women growing in the profession.

"I'm proud of the conversations I'm having with young women who are working to become financial advisers," she said. "It's a privilege for me to be an encourager."

"I can feel the energy among women advisers at conferences the engagement, the excitement, the networking," she added.

What does the industry need to do to attract more women? Ms. Blayney offered a list of fundamentals:

1. Pay them more.

2. Show them a career path.

3. Make gender and generational diversity a priority by all firms.

4. Combat unconscious bias, found in stereotypes such as "women will leave their jobs when they have children" or networking events that are more comfortable for males than females.

5. Rethink business models. For example, sales and commissions may be less attractive to women.

Deborah Nason

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