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Susan MacMichael John

Founder and president, Financial Focus Inc.

Although Susan MacMichael John, founder and president of Financial Focus Inc. in Wolfeboro, N.H., practices in a small town in a small state, her influence has been national. Having served twice on the national board of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisers, once as president, she has been selected to chair the board of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. in 2019.

A pioneer in the profession, Ms. John obtained her CFP certification in 1989 and has been in practice for more than 30 years.

She has observed that the percentage of women in the industry has not changed much since the early days.

"I'm amazed that more women are not choosing [financial advice] as a career," Ms. John said. "It's like an invisible profession."

Finding more women and integrating them into the industry is a challenge.

"We need more mentorships, more outreach, more registered college programs," she said. "And we need to develop a career path a degree in financial planning, then the CFP and then where do you go [for employment]? Most of the practitioners are small companies."

Ms. John has noted that the biggest source of women entering the profession is career changers like she was when she started over at age 35. Her advice to them is simple.

"A lot of it is luck," she said. "Be yourself. Tell the truth. Be a leader."

Deborah Nason

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