Valerie Galinskaya

Managing director,
Merrill Private Wealth

Fast Facts

  • Emigrated from Kiev, Ukraine to New York.
  • The Charleston Step is her signature dance move.
  • Three people she'd invite to a dinner party: Elie Wiesel, Mark Twain and Anthony Bourdain (and ask that Tony do the cooking).

Valerie Galinskaya said she found her calling 13 years ago when she heard a panel of wealthy clients respond to the question, "What keeps you up at night?"

Ms. Galinskaya, 33, said everyone on the panel gave a variation of the same answer: "The impact of wealth on my family and community."

As managing director of the Merrill Center for Family Wealth, Ms. Galinskaya is dedicated to identifying and addressing the intergenerational challenges faced by wealthy families.

Significant wealth brings significant complexity, she said, which in turn can cause family stress. The center works to bring order to that complexity by conducting research, facilitating family meetings and communication, and providing financial education and skills to children in wealthy families.

Ms. Galinskaya’s goals include bringing financial literacy and a sense of empowerment to the next generation and identifying best practices to help clients understand the challenges of sustaining unity as a family.

Clarity and communication are key, she said. Parents need to translate their values and how they apply to areas like philanthropy, financial and estate planning.

“Defining the purpose of success and then communicating that with the family are critical to making effective decisions,” she said.

— Deborah Nason


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