While women may be having a hard time gaining traction within the wirehouses, in the independent advisor world they already play prominent roles in firms, professional associations, and at some major partners of advisory firms. Take, for instance, the Financial Planning Association. Not only are 30% of FPA members women, but the current chairman is Elizabeth Jetton. This is nothing new for the FPA and its predecessor organizations. For instance, when the Institute of Certified Financial Planners agreed to merge with the International Association for Financial Planning in 1999, the president of the ICFP was Elissa Buie; the executive director of the IAFP was Janet McCallen. The current chairman of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is Peggy Cabaniss; there are four other women on the NAPFA's 10-member board. In addition to Jetton, three additional women currently serve on the 17-member FPA Board. Sarah Ball Teslik has been a force to be reckoned with since she became CEO of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards last year; there are four women on the 12-member CFP Governors' Board.
Then there are the women in charge of some of the biggest planner partners--Debbie McWhinney of Schwab Institutional and Jessica Bibliowicz of National Financial Partners come to mind--and thought leaders within the profession, such as Deena Katz of Evensky & Katz (and now Moss Adams) and Sheryl Garrett of the Garrett Planning Network. They are among the eight women who have been named over the past three years to the IA 25, the magazine's annual listing of the most influential people in and around the profession.--James J. Green