Clara Shihage 32

Founder and CEO, Hearsay Social

I am an Entrepreneur

40 Under 40
40 Under 40

I am a Leader

40 Under 40

I am a Trailblazer

Trail Blazers

I am an Entrepreneur

40 Under 40

I am a Visionary

40 Under 40

I am an Idealist

40 Under 40

Meet the Leaders

Whether in their own firms or in their communities, these young people are leading the charge toward innovation in financial planning, bringing new opportunities to advisers and clients alike. Here, they share the best leadership advice they’ve received in their careers.

Meet the Trailblazers

This group doesn’t subscribe to groupthink. They are spearheading new ways of practicing and delivering financial advice — in some cases reaching populations previously considered unprofitable to serve. We ask them about the most unique and unusual ideas they’ve had.

Meet the Entrepreneurs

In addition to helping clients reach their financial goals, some in the advice industry face the challenge of running a business or a team. Others have started companies to support this pursuit. These young people are flourishing amid the balancing act — and some got an early start.

Meet the Visionaries

It’s not about what is, but what will be — and what can be — the future of the financial planning industry for this group of forward-looking advisers, educators and executives. Their insights pull the rest of the profession into the next stratum.

Meet the Idealists

Life experiences shape our ideals, especially for these young professionals who see challenges in the advice industry and the world — and set out to meet them. They also have words of wisdom for the next generation.

About Clara

Clara Shih is on the leading edge of compliant social media marketing at a time when broker-dealers' efforts to reach prospective clients on the web is receiving scrutiny from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.

Her company, Hearsay Social Inc., has only been around since 2009, but thus far it's managed to pick up a couple of prominent broker-dealer clients, including Raymond James Financial Inc. and RBC Wealth Management. To extend its reach, Hearsay has also teamed up with LinkedIn Corp. to make social media management easier for firms eager to comply with Finra's regulations.

Ms. Shih herself is a social media maverick, with more than 15,000 Twitter followers, nearly 135,000 LinkedIn followers and nearly 70,000 Facebook followers.

Ms. Shih seemed to know early in life that she'd be heading for a career in the male-dominated industry of computer science: At 18, she wanted to be a software engineer. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science at Stanford University, as well as a bachelor's in economics. She also earned her master's in internet studies at the University of Oxford.

Perhaps the most daunting career obstacle Ms. Shih faced was when she decided to start Hearsay with her cofounder Steve Garrity. At one point before they were able to raise funding or find customers, Ms. Shih's savings account, as well as that of Mr. Garrity, went in one direction only — down, she said.

But whether it's helming a startup or fighting her way to the top at school, Ms. Shih attributes her success to pure and simple grit.

"I can't tell you how many 2 or 3 a.m. late nights I pulled when I was working at Google and Salesforce — the process of working on something until it's perfect, it's just right," Ms. Shih said.

At those key moments, having the right kind of boss also helped. "The toughest bosses I ever had — those are the ones in retrospect I view as being the most influential," she said.

— Darla Mercado

Next Profile

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    President and chief compliance officer, Diversify Inc. and DFPG Investments Inc.

Fast Facts

  • Favorite quote: "Stay hungry, stay foolish" — Steve Jobs
  • First job was a computer programmer at Fermilab, a particle physics and accelerator lab
  • Was a cheerleader in high school

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