How did you find out about WIPN? Cindy Horn Kennedy introduced me to WIPN three years ago and I gained immediate value from WIPN’s national events. WIPN is a powerful force of recordkeepers, TPAs, advisors and DCIO leaders with energy and passion for the retirement industry committed to mentoring and supporting diverse talent in our industry.
What compelled you to step forward to become a WIPN chapter chair? Cindy and I discussed building a Michigan chapter when I first joined WIPN but my firm had just been acquired resulting in many changes. I was thankful that Marisa Spinazze Main and Susan Shoemaker were able to launch a Michigan chapter last year. Now that my work has slowed down a bit, I was excited to jump in and pick-up the plans they put in motion especially since I was able to benefit from working with the Cleveland chapter for three years.
How important is it for you to be a role model for the upcoming generations of women in the retirement industry? I have been fortunate to have many mentors during my career that recognized my effort, believed in me, and opened doors for my benefit. I am sure it does not come as a surprise to hear that most of those mentors were men. For that reason, it is incredibly important for me to be a female role model in our industry. We are making huge progress in diversifying the talent our industry, but we still have a way to go.
What changes do you hope to see for women in the retirement industry in the next 5 – 10 years? Women first started to rise to leadership roles in the TPA space as owners of many of our most successful TPA practices nationwide. In the last five years we have seen women recognized as leaders in the DCIO world and to a lesser extent in the vendor space. In the next 5-10 years I hope to see women make similar career leaps in the Advisory space which continues to be a bit of a boys club. As I look at the deep bench of talent at WIPN I am very optimistic that this goal will be possible.
My favorite quote: I have many favorite quotes but love this one since it is work focused and is a compilation of words of wisdom from many great leaders including: Aristotle, Karen Joy Fowler, Winston Churchill, Peter Drucker, James Loehr, Ariana Huffington, Masoud Barzani, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Simon Sinek, Ken Blanchard, Roger Staubach and Denis Waitley.
Ten Things that Require Zero Talent:
- Being On Time
- Work Ethic
- Body Language
- Being Coachable
- Doing Extra
- Being Prepared
Olivia Hails, APMA
Director – TN & N.AL, Janus Henderson Investors
What compelled you to step forward to become a WIPN chapter chair? I have been a part of several WIPN regional chapters as I have moved around for my career (Denver, Atlanta & now Nashville). To keep pace with the growth that this city is experiencing, I knew I wanted to get involved to be a part of that continued momentum with our WIPN chapter. No better way to get to know a city than to meet the amazing women behind that charge. Regina Lewis also encouraged me to take this journey alongside her AND that is something I am SO HONORED to do!
What changes do you hope to see for women in the retirement industry in the next 5 – 10 years? SO MANY – I am proud of so many women in this business that are the ones teaching others about all the benefits available to them. I hope to see more and more women take an interest in this business – especially as we see the impact of the she-cession. In addition, a big hope of mine is for women participants to have higher personal savings percentages, higher participation rates, and more female CFOs versus just HR professionals. We can help accelerate to that process!
How important is it for you to be a role model for the upcoming generations of women in the retirement industry? Everybody has their WHY – this would encompass part of mine. I knew nothing of financial/retirement planning growing up. My mother feared money (not having enough) and my father worked tireless hours to make sure her fears never became a reality. It is their story and many more that peaked my interest of this industry and once I started learning, I couldn’t stop. As much as we may hate to admit or as dirty as it sounds, money is power in our society.
Money can offer you the freedom to LIVE… yet, basic financial literacy education is hard to find. I want women to feel empowered to learn about saving money and not be left behind. Financial literacy can seem complicated and intimidating that “out of sight, out of mind” becomes the excuse or narrative for TOO many women. Women are powerful forces to be reckoned with, especially when we come together to use that force for good. We can lead the changes on that education and awareness.
Please share a WIPN-inspired story that influenced your professional career. It’s the women that I have met through WIPN that have influenced my professional career – I quickly learned that there were no egos. It has always been a place of – what can I do for you? Who can I introduce you to? How can we partner to make our community a better place? There is nothing better than a group of women fighting for each other.
My favorite quote is … A birthday card from my mother that sits on my desk and says …
“GO Ahead, Underestimate Me. That’ll be Fun.”
Regina Lewis, CPFA
Retirement Plan Advisor
CAP Partners, LLC
How did you find out about WIPN? I had just moved from the 401(k) provider side to the 401(k) advisor side of the industry. Honestly, I needed help understanding if I wanted to become an advisor myself or if I wanted to go back on the provider side. It was a huge decision to make. One of my female peers leaned over and asked if I wanted to be a part of WIPN where women in the plan space could network and support each other. I was thrilled to be a part of it and thankful it existed! That single moment in time where I was introduced to WIPN has been one of the most powerful moments of my life over the last 4 years.
Is WIPN a force for change? ABSOLUTELY! It forces change in its existence alone. Women are such a minority in the financial industry. Anything that empowers, supports, educates and nurtures women and diverse candidates in this industry is what I would consider a mega force for positive change and one that is necessary.
How important is it for you to be a role model for the upcoming generations of women in the retirement industry? I feel it is MY DUTY to give back to those who have mentored me, been my role model, and complete trustworthy sounding boards by offering the same to upcoming generations of women coming behind us. I look at it this way: The more women encouraged to stay and be celebrated in this industry, the more vibrant, honest, approachable, and better we will evolve to be. Who benefits at that point? The society my kids will grow up in.
Prior to joining WIPN — how difficult was it to find mentoring opportunities in the retirement industry? In hindsight I do not feel I would be working for myself, finding the confidence to have gone out on my own, or had enough conversations to ensure by business could thrive without WIPN. I would not have heard about other supportive groups either like the WIRC. I also feel I’m serving my clients better with the contacts I have made through WIPN. An example is calling an ERISA attorney when faced with a complex problem with a client. Being with other women in this industry makes me a happier one and a better servant to my clients.
My favorite quote is … “I can and I will.” I have another one that is related: Be Still and Know that I am God. God gave me a certain skill set. When I am still and allow Him to lead me, I find my path and my super power. If He leads me, then “I can and I will”… let nothing will stop me!