See it, Be it Role Model

Ivan Illán

Founder and CIO Aligne Wealth Los Angeles

“It’s better to live authentic and free. It’s hard enough to build a business, and self persecution is a waste of energy,” said Ivan Illán, founder and CIO of Aligne Wealth.

After the Supreme Court affirmed the nationwide legality of same-sex marriage in 2015, Mr. Illán decided to no longer hide who he was.

He was afraid his decision would cause his 9-year-old firm to lose business — after you build something successful, there’s a feeling of vulnerability, he said. But it had the opposite effect. No clients left and his practice took off.

“Ultimately, as an entrepreneur, it’s about having no fear. Once this burden dissolved, I was able to unleash all that defensive energy to be used in other, creative ways,” Mr. Illán said.

He encourages younger LGBTQ advisers to be who they are, explaining that being “out” just means you’re part of a community — it doesn’t mean it has to define your practice.

His experiences have given him a more universal perspective.

“I have been marginalized on many levels, as half Hispanic, half Middle Eastern and gay, but it has empowered me to understand that we are all one,” Mr. Illán said.

— Deborah Nason

Lifetime Achievement

Rising Stars

See it, Be it Role Models

Outstanding Practices

Diversity Champions

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