Welcome to InvestmentNews’ fourth annual issue dedicated to honoring outstanding women in the financial advice industry. It includes our list of 20 Women to Watch, as well as the winner of the Alexandra Armstrong Award, which honors an individual's lifetime achievements; and the Rising Star Award, which recognizes a next-gen leader who has the potential to make significant contributions to the industry.
This year, as in past years, we had an overwhelming response to our call for nominations, and once again we have selected a group of 20 women leaders from a talented candidate pool.
As with previous honorees in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the women profiled this year have met the rigorous criteria we look for in our Women to Watch selection process: Their work has made a lasting impact on the industry; they are distinguished leaders at their firms and they have demonstrated a willingness to share their experiences with others and give back to the industry.
It is more important than ever to highlight some of the many talented women our industry has to offer. May they serve as inspirations and motivation for others coming up in the financial advisory field, and those who will join in the future.
As is often said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” This is the main reason why we feel it is our responsibility to bring the stories of these individual women to the forefront, so that there are concrete examples of female financial advice leaders on display.
In early October, I had the privilege of hosting a roundtable and luncheon with many of this year’s honorees during our Women to Watch cover shoot. We went around the table and each woman spoke from the heart. They talked about their careers, yes, but mostly the conversation centered around them as people, such as what motivates and challenges them; their personal journeys that have led them to where they are now; their support systems, or lack thereof, and where they want to head for the future.
All of these women have fascinating stories to tell, and we hope you will enjoy learning more about them and why they were selected for our 2018 list of winners.
A Lifetime of Wisdom
Karen Schaeffer, this year’s winner of the Alexandra Armstrong Award, is the perfect example of what the Lifetime Achievement Award represents. Like her predecessors —Alexandra Armstrong, Deena Katz and Peggy Ruhlin — Karen represents a commitment to excellence for her clients and is a strong advocate of the financial planning profession.
Together, Karen and her husband Rick formed their practice Schaeffer Financial in 1985 — which means that they have been working side by side for over 30 years!
But aside from creating a thriving business to serve clients, according to Alex Armstrong herself, “Karen has become a role model for all financial planners, not just for her knowledge and expertise, but also because of the empathy she shows toward her clients.” On top of that, Karen has been involved in the FPA on various boards, and has been committed to raising money for the CFP Board to increase diversity and inclusion.
Karen’s commitment to giving back to the industry and her community, along with her tireless dedication to her clients, are among the many reasons Karen is our lifetime achievement award honoree this year.
A Star in the Making
In 2017, Rianka Dorsainvil, was our inaugural recipient of the Rising Star Award and she helped us determine who would be the right woman to receive that same honor in 2018. Rachel Moran, senior financial planner at RTD Financial Advisors, was the perfect choice. In addition to serving her clients and managing her firm’s social media presence, Rachel loves to launch new things!
In 2013, she co-founded a mentoring program for women graduates of the financial planning program at her alma mater, Virginia Tech, to try to boost the number of women in the industry. Shortly after, she founded the NexGen community for the Philadelphia tristate area — and the group has doubled its membership in its first four years.
And on top of all of that, she’s chair of the national FPA NexGen community this year!
If you’d like to take part in honoring Karen Schaeffer, Rachel Moran and all of our 2018 Women to Watch, I invite you to attend our awards luncheon on March 14, 2019, in New York City.
I hope to see many firms there as a show of their support. In March 2018, we had more than 420 attendees — which is great. But there were many more firms that did not attend. So, this year, I am challenging all firms to consider supporting our event, and the women we honor, with your attendance. There is strength in numbers, and actions always speak louder than words. Please join us as we celebrate the many accomplishments of these remarkable women.
All of us at InvestmentNews believe that, as the leading media platform in the financial advice industry, it is our responsibility not just to tackle the news, but to address any challenges holding the industry back from reaching its full potential. We trust that little by little, progress is being made, and that one day our industry will truly represent one of gender equality, diversity and inclusion. We are proud that our Women to Watch Awards is helping that cause.
- Suzanne Siracuse, CEO/Publisher, InvestmentNews