Rachel Moran

Senior financial planner, RTD Financial Advisors

Rachel Moran became a shareholder at RTD Financial in April, gaining a stake in a firm that is older than she is.

Rachel Moran became a shareholder at RTD Financial in April, gaining a stake in a firm that is older than she is.

Reaching that heady level at age 29 is a journey that required stretching, taking chances and having conversations with more senior colleagues that could be a bit awkward.

When she talks to other women getting started in the investment advice field, she encourages them to be bold on their career path.

"Don't be afraid to be uncomfortable and put yourself out there," Ms. Moran said. "As a young woman, the biggest things have been gaining my confidence and finding my voice."

Ms. Moran is an InvestmentNews Rising Star.

She's not satisfied with propelling her own career. She wants to help other young women, too. That means encouraging them to stay in the profession during their first years in the field after college.

She co-founded in 2013 a mentoring program for women graduates of the financial planning program at her alma mater, Virginia Tech.

She and Rianka Dorsainvil, founding president of Your Greatest Contribution, decided to establish the program after attending a FPA NexGen event where they heard that only 23% of certified financial planners are women.

"I was fired up," Ms. Dorsainvil said. "We have to do something. She said, 'Oh yeah, we have to do something.' We meant business. We can't save the world, but we can save a few women."

That can-do spirit is something that defines Ms. Moran.

"She sees the world very optimistically," Ms. Dorsainvil said. "She's always trying to go a step beyond. It's not just 'What else can I do, but who else can I bring along?' She pushes you outside your comfort zone so that you can go to the next level."

Ms. Moran helps other young financial planners rise through her leadership of FPA's NexGen initiatives.

In December 2013, she founded the NexGen community for the Philadelphia tri-state area, which includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The group has doubled its membership – from about 40 to 80 – in its first four years.

This year, she's chair of the national FPA NexGen community. Given her career breakthrough earlier this year she's trying to help other women think through a similar career trajectory.

"I'm passionate about talking with young planners [about] what do they want their path to be in financial planning," she said. "In their firm, is there a track for shareholdership? And how can they have the difficult conversations that might be uncomfortable at first? Kind of sharing my experience and working through the leadership of my firm and becoming shareholder – I want to help others similarly situated grow."

She is helping her own firm grow by developing business with millennials. She is working with about 25 new clients or children of existing clients.

As the manager of the firm's social media presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms, Ms. Moran tries to make it appealing to millennials with a less-is-more approach.

"Millennials appreciate transparency and clarity of information," she said. "They don't want to be bogged down with details. So, making sure we get our point across concisely" is important.

One of her favorite recent experiences helping a young client involved a man who under 35 recover after a divorce. Over the course of three years, he achieved promotions at his company, moved to Portland, Ore., and fell in love again. He may be proposing soon.

The process of collaborating with the client to figure out where he wanted to go and how he wanted to get there financially reinforced for Ms. Moran what she likes most about financial planning.

"We really have been there for him through every move and have helped him kind of re-establish his life and get settled," she said. "And it's been really rewarding to help be a part of that."

Outside of the office, she plays women's ice hockey in a Philadelphia league. She shares a love of the sport with her husband Sean.

There's no checking in the women's game, but that's not to say they play nice.

"They still get a little feisty sometimes," Ms. Moran said.

Maintaining an edge and pushing through one's comfort zone is as good an approach on the ice as it is in the office.

— Mark Schoeff Jr.

2018 Winners
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