"I think women are and must be seen as a guiding light for the future of the industry."

— Lisa M. Cregan

Lisa%20M.%20Cregan Lisa%20M.%20Cregan

Lisa M. Cregan

Managing director, mid-Atlantic regional director, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

"Battling my way over the last 30 years, I learned not to judge myself against others, just against myself," said Lisa Cregan, mid-Atlantic regional director for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. "I've been told more often in my career that I can't do something than I can."

She has been glad to pave the way for other women.

"I'm proud of being a role model for women coming up," Ms. Cregan said. "When I got promoted, I can't tell you the number of people who told me they were so happy for me and wanted me to succeed."

Ms. Cregan said the industry needs to reposition itself in order to attract more women.

"All firms need to do a better job of how we position the role of adviser," she said. "It used to be a testosterone sale to scare people away. [The pitch was] there are long hours and a low success rate, but if you do well, you can run your own business."

But the mindset of the industry has been changing in recent years, she said.

"With a greater emphasis on teams, the need for diversity on those teams became obvious," Ms. Cregan said. "Women are an important part of that. Women [clients] are going to earn money and inherit money, so it's essential to understand them as investors."

Being a financial adviser is an ideal career for women, she said.

"You can build a team and once you're successful, you can manage what your day looks like," Ms. Cregan said. "You can shape the job around your life and slow it down. You can on and off ramp your career while still working."

— Deborah Nason

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