What opportunities or changes would you like to see for women in the retirement industry in the future? I would like to see more women pursuing sales and sales strategy leadership roles in my sector of Fintech, and even more women pursuing leadership roles within product and engineering. I have met many women who are phenomenal leaders and have far-reaching impacts across their organizations but are hesitant to step into executive C-suite roles. Perhaps these women believe their contributions and insights may not be valued at the executive level, or that they would be required to spend an extensive amount of time traveling apart from their families, or combinations of the two, amongst many other reasons. Organizations must cultivate environments where they care for their chief asset, their people. This industry will then see more women step into and find success in the leadership roles they were built to hold.
How did you get started in the retirement plan industry? I began my career working for a leading national, independent retirement plan consulting and investment advisory firm. We partnered with healthcare institutions, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations to help employers fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities. I focused on all due diligence processes, including investment analysis, plan design, compliance, regulatory, recordkeeper RFPs, and process changes. This role provided a strong foundation for growth and the tools and insights to serve both employers and employees in reaching their retirement goals.
If you could describe WIPN in one word – what would it be and why? Bridge. WIPN is a bridge within this industry, providing connective tissue across the many facets and corporate levels to unite women.
How do you envision inspiring the next generation of female leaders? How can WIPN help facilitate that? Mentorship and transparency are focus areas that come to mind when I think of my professional journey and where I wish I had access to mentors and more information earlier in my career. WIPN has the members and the resources readily available to inspire the next generation and guide current leaders to learn from the experiences of their mentees. As an industry, we are still playing catch-up, where modern technology is becoming a driving force for change. As leaders, we do not need to wait; we can empower the next generation today.
How did you discover WIPN and what sets WIPN apart from other women’s networking associations? One of my early mentors introduced me to WIPN in 2017 to expand my professional network and build meaningful connections with other women working in the retirement industry.
WIPN is a true community in every sense of the word. Members may find support in various forms and at whatever level of engagement they may have the bandwidth for at that moment or with whatever challenges they may face (personally and professionally). It is also a community that celebrates the “wins” together. Collaboration and a healthy dose of industry competition happily coexist.
How did you get started in your career? I started as an intern at Prudential in Kalamazoo Michigan. I convinced them to fly me to NYC for an interview in my senior year of college. I started at a help desk (didn’t we all?) and in the next few years I moved on to marketing, sales support and Business Intelligence.
How has WIPN had an impact on you and your career? WIPN is a network of amazing women who love the noble business of helping people save for retirement. WIPN has helped me network for business while providing me with “coaching,” because so many have faced the same challenges. With WIPN, I have found a group of like-minded people who can relate to the successes (and frustrations) in our unique business. WIPN lets you be you and gives you confidence because you know you’re not alone.
What opportunities or changes would you like to see for women in the retirement industry in the future? Generally, women have the innate skill of empathizing. Having more women in leadership, encouraging others to empathize with the customer will provide a better path for all.
If you could describe WIPN in one word – what would it be and why? One word? Connections — WIPN connects an amazing, diverse group of women into a powerful network that helps and relates to each other, without feeling the pressure of “competition.”
How do you envision inspiring the next generation of female leaders? How can WIPN help facilitate that? The next generation of leaders are more purpose-driven, but sadly financial services careers get a bad rap. We can all inspire the next generation of female leaders by truly believing in the purpose of what we do. Helping millions of Americans save for retirement is no easy task. WIPN can help facilitate that by showing leaders what incredible purpose we service by listening to customers.
How did you discover WIPN and what sets WIPN apart from other women’s networking associations?
I found WIPN through a friend in the industry. It is different from others because all members have so much in common. We all speak the same lingo!
Is there a specific event, program, or interaction within WIPN that stands out as a memorable experience for you? It may sound corny, but I walk away from every event appreciating the network because of the personal and professional connections it creates.
How did you discover WIPN and what sets WIPN apart from other women’s networking associations? I came across WIPN at an industry conference and attended one of their luncheon events. It’s inclusive, relatable and I’m always inspired and impressed by the members. To me, it’s different because these folks are paying to be a part of this association so when they are at these events you can tell that they really want to be there.
If you could describe WIPN in one word – what would it be? Support. I think so many of us have support from other women as well as other colleagues and mentors within our organization, but when meeting with other women and folks from outside your organization, I think you learn so much more and can benefit from truly objective advice.
How did you get started in the retirement or financial services industry? I attended Northeastern University as an undergrad and obtained a co-op position at (Salomon) Smith Barney. That co-op turned into a full-time position upon graduation and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years now.
What opportunities or changes would you like to see for women in the retirement industry in the future? It’s incredible to say this in 2023, but I would still like to see more women in the industry, particularly in Sales, Financial Planning, Wealth Management, and in leadership positions. When it comes to roles like Financial Planning and Wealth Management, I think there is so much opportunity because clients tend to want to work with someone that is relatable, and from what I’ve seen, there just aren’t enough women to meet that demand.
How do you envision inspiring the next generation of female leaders? How can WIPN help facilitate that? I hope to inspire the next generation of female leaders by continuing to be a lifelong learner through obtaining additional designations (I’m presently studying for my CFP mark), but also challenging myself to take on different roles and even apply for roles that may be outside of my comfort zone, and then sharing my story and career path with others. WIPN can help facilitate that through the robust network / diverse group of contacts.
Is there a specific event, program, or interaction within WIPN that stands out as a memorable experience for you? I recall attending a luncheon at a conference and there were maybe one or two men that were in attendance. I really appreciated that WIPN welcomed others and even more so, the support from the men that were there. It is critical that women lift other women up, but to see and hear these men extend their support and advocacy was awesome.