Founder and CEO, Wetherby Asset Management
After working as a CPA in the 1980s for a Big Four accounting firm and then as a private client services broker, Debra Wetherby felt disillusioned and needed a break.
She traveled the world for a year to clear her head and came to a realization. "I didn't dislike the industry, but I didn't like my role in it," she said.
As a result, Ms. Wetherby established her own firm in 1990 in an effort to combine the best of being a CPA, a former Wall Street broker and a person with strong humanistic values.
She was ahead of her time in her approach, and very successful.
"We centered our business on clients, with a commitment to serving them well," Ms. Wetherby said. "People thought we were crazy because it was so much more lucrative to sell products."
But potential clients were longing for this approach, she said, and the firm benefited from the sea change as the industry moved from brokers and investment managers to the objective advice model.
Ms. Wetherby views money as a tool that people can use to do what they want to do.
"Our focus is not on the wealth, but on helping people do more with their lives and be more fulfilled," she said. "It makes for deeper, richer conversations."