The Dalai Lama, in all of his great wisdom, once proclaimed that, “The western woman is going to change the world.”
As women, there is such tremendous strength in our ability to collaborate, and in our empathy, compassion, drive, and intelligence. But moving the needle on this change requires more than just talking about it — it requires action. I’d like to share my story behind launching Equita Financial Network with my fellow co-founder, Katie Burke, and how we hope it can truly make a difference to women-led planning firms across the country (and to the many clients these planners serve).
Several years ago, I launched WealthChoice, a financial life planning firm for women executives and their families. I should start by saying that I never intended on starting my own firm when I entered the financial planning industry.
But I was tired of the many years I spent working countless hours for a traditional RIA every week. I was tired of getting paid a fraction of what male planners were being paid at the firm and hearing from other firms that I was “too old” to consider a lateral move. I was tired of being told I was too ambitious by my boss, or that my efforts to bring women together were a waste of time. All of these feelings converged and, with unbelievable anxiety and stress, I launched my own financial planning firm in 2016, guided by a vision and passion and my clients’ trust.
This is where Equita comes in.
In order to provide the highest level of guidance to my clients, my firm, WealthChoice, needs the best business resources. As a small, woman-led business, I found it easier to outsource these resources rather than curate them myself, mostly for fear of missing key pieces or making mistakes. I also wanted to have more time to focus on client service, which was possible by outsourcing many business resources.
As financial planners, our role is to help women, who are working so very hard, live life on their terms. Financial planning is an absolute passion of mine, but so is having my own firm. We are intentional in who we serve, and how we serve our clients. My firm is an extension of myself, and it is a personal passion. It brings me tremendous fulfillment. But as my firm grew, it also caused me to step back to see how we could structure our business better so that we could do more of what we do best: serve our clients.
The Power of Collaboration
In the course of business, I met and collaborated with another financial planner on some client cases to great success: Katie Burke, President of Method Financial Planning. Together, we realized the great power that came with collaborating in our respective businesses. Clients benefit, we benefit. Katie and I started to share best practices in business and planning on a more frequent basis. We saw terrific results and knew that other women could benefit from the same type of relationship.
So, we started to brainstorm: What would allow us to become even better planners? How could we make that available for other independent, women-led planning firms?
We wanted solutions that would allow us to spend more time on what is most important to our firms — and that is great financial planning solutions for our clients. We both realized that by having outstanding business resources behind us, we would be capable of doing better work and running our businesses more efficiently. We could have more time and resources to grow our businesses intentionally. We could streamline the operational tasks that come with running our businesses, but often bog us down on the road to growth. And most importantly, we envisioned a platform for collaboration, for sharing curated resources, for succession planning, and for helping other women led firms be successful. To do this, we needed to create a suite of the best industry resources, which we spent the next seven months assembling.
Equita’s first two member firms were WealthChoice and Method Financial Planning — and since then, we have welcomed other women-led firms into our community, and look forward to bringing even more into the fold over the coming months.
We’re on a mission to make a difference to clients and women business owners on a scale we have not yet seen in our industry.
There is power in connecting smart, driven, like-minded women in business. Together, we will change the future for our clients, and for the female financial planners who make real, positive change in their lives every day.