“When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else.”
— Melinda Gates
Over the past year, Bridget and I have been asked to do a number of interviews about Equita Financial Network, in which we have discussed what we offer our members and the overall benefits of the platform. In one such interview, a reporter asked us the question: “Why now?”
The short answer is: We are tired of waiting. In the financial services industry, there are many other firms and initiatives targeted at supporting women — but we want action now. Equita gives us a way to connect with other female planners today, and it enables us to have a voice in an industry where we often feel like our words are dismissed.
Last year, Financial Advisor Magazine published an article titled, “Want More Women Advisors?” The writer asked financial advisors around the country to offer their opinions on what they felt needed to change to increase the number of women financial advisors. When I read the responses summarized in the article, it reminded me of why I started my firm, Method Financial Planning, three years ago; what I needed; and how I found it:
When my first son was born, I was trying to succeed in a very demanding job while figuring out the “mom thing” at the same time. My husband had a demanding job as well, plus we both had long commutes. With no family local to the area, we decided to hire a nanny to look after our son. One day, a few months into my transition back to work, our nanny called in sick — so my husband and I tried our best to cover work and childcare for the next few days until our nanny was well.
After I returned to the office, my supervisor told me that I needed to find a contingency plan for childcare if my nanny couldn’t make it — and that “plan” couldn’t be me.
I tell this story not to say that he, my boss, was wrong; instead, I share this story because I know that I’m not the only person who has encountered this type of issue, and I want to help change the way the industry deals with it. At that particular moment in my life, I needed flexibility — I needed to work for a firm that was able to understand my needs as a new mom.
Owning my business allows me to be both present as a mom and present with my business and clients. Yes, I work long days, and early mornings, and late nights, and usually on the weekends when the kids are napping — but I love that I can have my career and still be present as a mom. I have opportunity and options that I simply didn’t have before.
After graduating from college, I spent over 10 years working for firms where I struggled to find my place and a career mentor. I would ask myself, “Where are all the women advisors?” In fact, over the course of my career, I have never worked alongside a female financial advisor. Most of the men I worked with had wives that stayed at home when they had children. Would I be able to survive in this demanding profession once I had kids of my own? Where could I find someone who would understand where I wanted to go with my career? I joined networking groups and met some amazing women who were very successful in their careers, but it was only after years of trying that I finally found a few women advisors whom I felt understood me and could help me make some hefty career decisions.
When I finally launched my own practice, I still appreciated the women I met previously, but I needed even more support. I needed to find women who were not only planners but business owners as well.
Enter Equita, which offered me and other like-minded female firm owners the ability connect with each other and share best practices that allowed us to achieve our ultimate goal of offering exceptional client service. No more years wasted trying to find a mentor — thanks to Equita, we have gathered, together, with the mission to change the landscape of the financial services industry for the better.
As a member of Equita, I am able to run my business more efficiently, offer better solutions to my clients, and continue to grow my firm with the support and collaboration of other network members. Equita is about more than just me and my partner, Bridget; it is about the impact we can all have on an industry that needs to see change.
Are you interested in joining Equita Financial Network? Contact us today.