"For me, success is not measured by money or status, but by accomplishment and impact. I'd like to leave this world knowing that I did my best to help others find their personal success."

— Deena Boone Katz

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Professor Deena Katz of Texas Tech University has bravely followed her inspirations throughout her 40 years in the financial world, whether as a practitioner, an author, a mentor or a teacher.

After her father died at a young age, her mother encouraged Ms. Katz to always take care of herself financially. She took that advice to heart and has been on a mission to bring that care to as many people as possible, especially women.

In the mid-70s, she saw an advertisement about becoming a CFP. She decided to go for it.

In 1977, at age 27, she hung out her shingle in Chicago. Not only was she starting a firm on her own, but it was fee-only and woman-focused.

"I was brave," she said, "but I didn't realize it at the time."

In the late '80s, Ms. Katz bought into a practice in Florida, Evensky & Katz, to be near her mother.

In no time, she was in charge and changed the practice model over to the still unheard-of fee-only concept. The press took notice, and she started to become well-known.

Ten years ago, Ms. Katz joined Texas Tech and used her expertise to expand and enhance the CFP curriculum. She has insisted on a strong focus on ethics.

"If we don't instill a good value system for our upcoming advisers, we may go back to the model of 'eat what you kill' — working on commission with no advice and no transparency or fiduciary responsibility," she said. "Our responsibility is to the people, not to their money."

— Deborah Nason

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