"Early on in my career when I was making a transition, two mentors said to me, 'If you are ever going to start your own business, do it now. It isn't going to get easier.' I took their advice and owning my own business has been one of the greatest gifts of my life."

— Elissa Buie

Elissa%20Buie Elissa%20Buie

Elissa Buie

CEO, Yeske Buie

Elissa Buie is chief executive of Yeske Buie, a bicoastal practice in Vienna, Va. and San Francisco. An adviser for more than 30 years, she has played important roles in the development of both planners and the profession.

As president of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners, she helped bring about its merger with the International Association for Financial Planning in 1999 to create the Financial Planning Association.

For more than a decade, she has served as dean of the FPA's residency program, a week-long program for newly certified financial planners. Ms. Buie has considered herself the program's "torchbearer" since its inception in 1998.

Ms. Buie also designed a capstone course, which she teaches, for the Golden Gate University Ageno School of Business. The class covers cases in financial planning and uses role-playing to step up students' client relationship-building skills.

Recognizing that financial planning changes people's lives, no matter the amount of their assets, she served as chairwoman of the Foundation for Financial Planning, which focuses on pro bono advice.

What has pushed her into taking on these leadership roles?

"I'm a bit shy, so I volunteered and became inspired by the people I met," she said. "That caused me to volunteer more and more. I had some great leadership mentors in the profession who encouraged me to serve on the boards and run for president."

In 2013, Ms. Buie was awarded the P. Kemp Fain Jr. Award, a lifetime achievement award given by the Financial Planning Association.

"I'm very proud of this recognition," she said, "but my tagline has become, 'I'm not dead yet!'"

— Deborah Nason

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