Publisher's Note

Suzanne Siracuse

Welcome to InvestmentNews’ third annual issue dedicated to honoring outstanding women in the financial advice industry. It includes our list of 20 Women to Watch, as well as the winner of the Alexandra Armstrong Award, which honors an individual's lifetime achievements. New this year is the Rising Star Award, which recognizes a Next Gen leader who has the potential to make significant contributions to the industry.

As in past years, we had an overwhelming response to our call for nominations, and we selected this year’s group of 20 women leaders from a talented candidate pool.

As with previous honorees in 2015 and 2016, the women profiled this year met the rigorous criteria we look for in our selection process. Their work has made a lasting impact on the industry. They are distinguished leaders at their firms. And they have demonstrated a willingness to share their experiences with others and give back to the industry.

It is more important than ever to highlight some of the many talented women our industry has to offer. May it serve as inspiration and motivation for others coming up, and those who will join it in the future.

As is often said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” This is the main reason why we feel it is our responsibility to bring these stories to the forefront, so there are indeed concrete examples of female financial advice leaders on display.

I sat down with most of our Women to Watch winners at our cover shoot luncheon in October in our New York City office. Most had not met each other before. But after five minutes, we all talked like old friends.

InvestmentNews gathered 14 of the 2017 Women to Watch winners and the first-ever Rising Star awardee in our New York City offices last month to discuss what motivates them to be excellent leaders. They are shown here with Suzanne Siracuse, publisher of InvestmentNews.

What resonated most with me was their passion: for the industry and their clients, of course, but more importantly, for their family, friends and the enjoyment they get out of life. We talked about everything from travel and raising children to the gender disparity in the industry and opportunities we have to change it.

SHOWING THE WAY

All of these women have fascinating stories to tell, and we hope you will enjoy learning more about them and why they were selected for our 2017 list of winners.

Peggy Ruhlin, this year’s winner of the Alexandra Armstrong Award, is an inspiration. Just like winners Alex Armstrong and Deena Katz before her, Peggy is a legend in this business.

Not only is she an incredibly successful adviser and partner in her firm, Budros Ruhlin and Roe, but she engineered a merger that no one ever thought could happen: when the International Association for Financial Planning and the Institute of Certified Financial Planners formed one cohesive group, now known as the Financial Planning Association.

Her forward-looking approach and get-it-done attitude along with the numerous major accomplishments she has spearheaded, are among the many reasons Peggy is our lifetime achievement award honoree this year.

Searching for a next-gen role model for the industry? Look no further than Rianka Dorsainvil, our recipient of the Rising Star Award. Founder of her own virtual financial advice firm; and involved in various industry associations, including the FPA’s NexGen Committee; spokeswoman for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc.'s ad campaign, targeted at young advisers; and an advocate for diversity and inclusion, Rianka sets the bar high for future honorees.

If you want to be part of honoring Peggy, Rianka and all of our Women to Watch honorees, I invite you to attend our awards luncheon on March 13 in New York City.

I hope to see many firms there as a show of their support. Last year, we had more than 350 attendees, and we are seeking to reach 400 at our 2018 event. So, if you really want to support the advancement of women in financial advice, please join us as we celebrate the many accomplishments of these remarkable women.

All of us at InvestmentNews believe that, as the leading media platform in the financial advice industry, it is our responsibility to tackle not just the news, but also the challenges that are holding the industry back from reaching its full potential. We trust that little by little, progress is being made, and that one day our industry will truly represent one of gender equality, diversity and inclusion. We are proud that our Women to Watch awards are helping the cause.

- Suzanne Siracuse, VP-Publisher, InvestmentNews
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