Outside-IN

Lessons I've learned on how to thrive

'There is more work to be done, but no limit to where we can go'

Nov 17, 2018 @ 6:00 am

By Penny Pennington

This year's Women to Watch winners are an exceptionally talented group of industry leaders whose acumen, leadership, mentorship and service stand out within their organizations and the financial services industry.

As I learned of the accomplishments of these notable women, it reinforced my belief that it's an invigorating time to be a woman, not only in our field, but in the world. There is tremendous global dialogue around the movement to elevate women's voices and perspectives both personally and professionally. Together, we have a shared opportunity to lead ourselves and those who follow us into a more equitable future where we can make a meaningful impact for our clients, our communities, our families and ourselves.

I'm also struck by what it takes to step up and embrace leadership in our industry and in today's uncertain climate, to thrive when all that feels possible sometimes is to survive. Many leaders I admire and the women we are honoring today have undoubtedly been influenced by the positive example and encouragement of the leaders and mentors around them. In my own career at Edward Jones, I've been fortunate to receive guidance and coaching from some of the best and brightest men and women who share a passion for doing what's right for our clients and for fostering the aspirations of the very best talent.

At this time in my career, looking back at how I've prepared to take on leadership roles in the past, I've reflected on a few lessons I've learned on how to thrive.

Boldly and bravely proclaim your passions

From feeling confident to sharing your point of view, to embracing your passions, fulfilling your personal and professional purpose through the work you do should always be top of mind. I have found that to be my best self, I must know that the work I am doing is truly worth taking time away from other passions, including my family. When you believe the work you do is important and aligned with what you are passionate about, you are able to bring your best self to the job.

Never disqualify yourself

Don't disqualify yourself from opportunities based on technicalities or subject-matter expertise. I have found that the value of my point of view, experiences, personal strengths, desires and potential are portable and inform my ability to contribute in each new role. I have found that many of us, men and women, discount or disqualify the richness of the unique experiences and viewpoints we bring to the table. Our clients and our firms are stronger when we are "all in" — and all in.

Never say no (to the things that terrify you)

Stop saying "yes" to things just because it's easy to say "yes" to them or because they are familiar. It is empowering to step outside your comfort zone and start saying "yes" to challenging things. Say "yes" to opportunities where you can make a deep and meaningful impact, even if it terrifies you.

As a financial adviser for Edward Jones, I served clients, managed my own office and had the flexibility to be active in my community and family life. I can say from my own experience that I had the privilege of serving my clients, my community and my family at a pace and tempo that I set. I had a professional and personal harmony that allowed me to grow personally and professionally — to thrive. And the work that I was doing for my clients then — and for 7 million clients today as the incoming managing partner of our firm — makes a difference in their lives and those of their families.

As you read the profiles of amazing women leaders in this issue, I hope you'll feel empowered to expand your own boundaries. There is more work to be done but no limit on where we can go, what we can do and the meaning we can have in the lives of our clients and the vibrancy of our firms.

Penny Pennington is a principal at Edward Jones. She will lead the firm as managing partner starting Jan. 1.

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