How did you get started in the retirement industry? I was working in the oil industry, and the employee handbook outlined that the company’s tuition reimbursement program. So, I applied for an MBA. I already had a BS in Engineering. Once I graduated, I made an appointment with a Smith Barney advisor to start my retirement plan savings. She asked if I would be open to working in the industry because she knew of someone trying to find candidates to work at Merrill Lynch. I applied and I got the job! After a year, I decided I loved the industry and asked 5 local professionals to weigh in on my choices. I landed a job with a small independent firm that was lead by two CPAs, and spent the next 5 years learning the ins and outs of investment management, financial planning, and advising ERISA plans.
What opportunities or changes would you like to see for women in the retirement industry in the future? I still think the pay gap is an issue in general, not just in our industry. I think more transparency would be helpful, even though I come from a generation that has not embraced pay transparency. It would also be good for the industry to increase the number of women in the field by encouraging those in early education.
How has WIPN had an impact on you and your career? I have attended multiple WIPN events including those gatherings during NAPA 401k Summit, and regional events in the Northwest Portland area. I feel that these broaden my perspective, allow for networking with like-minded professionals, and just are enjoyable social engagement with inspiring women and men (when they attend).
Can you describe WIPN in one word? Yes, networking. Networking is a powerful word and I think it comprises much or most of what the organization is about.
How do you envision inspiring the next generation of female leaders? I think that having forums and presentations that bring women together who have forged paths already is powerful. Also, it might be beneficial to have a annual women’s mentoring program. To help the next generation, or even help boost the career path of those already in the field.
Lisa M. Drake (Garcia), QPFC, AIF®
Retirement Plan Consultant
SageView Advisory Group
How did you get started in the financial services industry? My career began in the retail side of the financial services industry. While attending college in Buffalo, NY, I provided administrative support for a local family-owned financial services office of about 20 advisors. I continued to learn and take on more responsibilities and challenges and they encouraged me to take my series 6 and 7 licenses. I moved to Orlando, FL after college and after a few years, I found a position as an Account Manager for a retirement plan firm in 2006. The stable pay and schedule appealed to me as I was starting a family and didn’t enjoy the commission environment.
If you could describe WIPN in one word – what would it be? Coalition – Many of us are working towards similar goals and WIPN understands those distinct challenges and opportunities which brings us all together as we continue to share, learn and grow.
How did you discover WIPN? Our firm, SageView Advisory Group is a proud sponsor of WIPN and I was invited to become a member. I appreciate that WIPN offers a lot of virtual content across an array of diverse topics. I’m not able to participate in most of the in-person events, and as an Advisors, we’re pulled in many different directions, so virtual networking opportunities and engagement is very helpful. The surveys WIPN has conducted, and research shared have been very helpful as well (i.e., on compensation and caregiving especially) and are always very interesting and eye opening.
Is there a specific event or WIPN program that stands out as a memorable experience for you? Most recently, the DEI National Summit. I listened in on the first one last year as well, and both programs included great thought-provoking content from various speakers. It’s an initiative that not only supports women, but the industry as a whole. There’s always something I learn not only about myself but tips I can share with my firm.
What opportunities or changes would you like to see for women in the retirement industry in the future? More opportunities for women to feel confident about considering furthering their career in a sales role. While we women are not generally the risk-takers, it is a very rewarding and fulfilling career and requires us to step out of comfort zone. In addition, would like to see equal representation of women in leadership positions across the industry.
Strategic Account Manager, Advisor Experience
How did you get started in the retirement or financial services industry? It was very unplanned. I started out as an executive assistant that helped support two men leading the retirement sales division. I knew nothing about the retirement industry but grew to love it and have continued to work my way up to now being a Strategic Account Manager at the same company.
How has WIPN had an impact on you and your career? It has helped introduce me to many others in our industry and shown me the possibilities of success. WIPN has allowed me to form deeper bonds with other WIPN members, and I have learned invaluable information from WIPN members as well as from the webinar topics that WIPN presents.
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 in the retirement industry and within executive leadership roles. We bring so much value and it’s wonderful when that is appreciated.
If you could describe WIPN in one word – what would it be? I would use the word Community to describe WIPN. I choose that word because it is a true community of women who want to see each other succeed. There is so much support amongst the members, and it’s wonderful to be part of it.
How did you discover WIPN? My first female manager in the retirement industry told me about WIPN and how important it was to join. I think the main thing that sets WIPN apart from other networking associations is the focus on helping all women in the retirement industry, and not being exclusive. WIPN also has amazing webinar topics that are relevant to working women and they provide a lot of helpful advice and tools that we can utilize in our professional and personal lives.
Ashley M. Pockrandt, AIF®, CPFATM
LPL Financial Advisor
How did you get started in the retirement or financial services industry? I began my career in the Retirement Plan industry as part of an in-house bank Recordkeeping team over 25 years ago. I had the opportunity to learn all aspects of Recordkeeping, including contribution and distribution processing, compliance testing, Form 5500 preparation and conversions. I jumped at the chance to become an Advisor and work directly with Plan Sponsors and participants to help them strive to achieve their goals. The time spent on the Recordkeeping team assists me every day with plan design discussions, employee education and fiduciary support.
If you could describe WIPN in one word – what would it be? Connection. WIPN provides the opportunity to connect and network with other women in the retirement plan industry but also provides connection to relevant topics and education affecting the industry. It is encouraging to see women supporting other women to help them grow and expand their horizons.
How do you envision inspiring the next generation of female leaders? When asked if I would encourage other women to join the retirement plan industry, my answer is always yes! This is an industry that allows for continuous learning, and you are fulfilled by helping others strive to reach their goals. WIPN provides opportunities to learn and network with other women in the industry. Mentorship options are also available through WIPN that can help individuals new to the industry or those who are looking to advance.
What sets WIPN apart from other women’s networking associations? This industry is continuously changing and there are always opportunities to learn. WIPN was my connection to others in the industry during the pandemic and I am so grateful for the national programming that is offered.
How has WIPN had an impact on you and your career? I became a member of WIPN at the beginning of the pandemic. I attended the Women in Retirement Conference in 2019 and I made many connections with other Retirement Plan professionals. I thought this would be a great opportunity to become a member and continue the connection with like-minded individuals. I am truly inspired by the impact women have had and continue to make on this industry.
(Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker/dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL Financial and or its licensed affiliates. Member Investment Center located at Frankenmuth Credit Union and Frankenmuth Credit Union are not registered as a broker/dealers or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using Member Investment Center located at Frankenmuth Credit Union, and may also be employees of Frankenmuth Credit Union. These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from, and not affiliates of, Frankenmuth Credit Union or Member Investment Center located at Frankenmuth Credit Union. Securities and insurance offered through LPL or its affiliates are: Not Insured by NCUA or Any Other Government Agency Not Credit Union Guaranteed Not Credit Union Deposits or Obligations May Lose Value).