In interviews with four sets of mothers and daughters–only one of whom practices at a separate firm–Wealth Manager discovered that it was their mothers’ success–not prodding–that influenced the younger women’s career choice.
Sue Ann Donovan and Stacy A. Clifford
(Genworth’s only women Regional Directors)
Genworth Financial Securities Corp.
Clifton Park and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Twenty-nine years ago, Sue Ann Donovan desperately needed a job–any job. A single mother with no college education, she picked a commercial street in Albany, N.Y., and knocked on every door asking for work. When she got to the American Express regional office, the district manager happened to be up front. “He looked at me and said, ‘Just because you knocked on the door, I’m going to test you,’” Donovan recalls.
And he did–three times. Donovan passed, and became the first woman broker hired by American Express in upstate New York.
Donovan’s daughter Stacy Clifford’s entry into the business was considerably less dramatic. At first, after graduating from Siena College, “I went in my own direction,” she says. Clifford was at one time Communications Director for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. But changing events in Clifford’s life led her to seek a career that offered more flexibility. “I’d been witnessing my mother running her own business for over 20 years, seeing her success. (“And my challenges and difficulties, too,” Donovan interjects.) What better way was there than to partner with her? It was an absolutely ideal situation to walk into.” Clifford studied, earned several licenses and made the leap.
Donovan has encouraged Clifford to build her own book although they have some joint clients. And clients love their joint seminars.
“My clients have known about Stacy, seen her picture on my desk,” Donovan says. “They know at some point I’m going to retire. Having Stacy here makes them feel secure.”
Linda Gadkowski, CFP
Partner, Beacon Financial Planning
Lauren Lindsay, CFP
Personal Financial Advisors, Covington, La.
Lauren Lindsay had been teaching high school English and drama in London, but when she returned to the states she found teaching no longer enjoyable. She took a job in Boston with Putnam Investments, which she left about the time Putnam became a target of the mutual fund market-timing scandals.
“Not realizing I had gotten my CFP certificate while she was in London, she earned hers,” Linda Gadkowski recounts. “I was surprised,” she adds, “because Lauren had never shown any interest in financial planning.”
Nevertheless, Gadkowski invited her daughter to work with her in Centerville on Cape Cod, where Lindsay had, in fact, grown up. Mother and daughter continued to work together until Lindsay married in 2005 and moved to Louisiana with her husband.
“Working together was wonderful; I loved it,” says Gadkowski who also taught before becoming an advisor. Gadkowski developed a mentoring routine for her daughter in the early months of their business association. “I had her shadow me for the first six months. Then I sat in on all her meetings for the next three. From then on,” says Gadkowski, “she was on her own.”
Lindsay developed her own clients and brought a “breath of fresh air and tons of ideas. She gave me a whole new perspective that helped me take my business to a higher level,” says Gadkowski.
Didn’t the strain of mother-daughter relations ever get in the way? Apparently not!
Says Gadkowski: “We’d be driving somewhere together, and she would analyze what I’d done in a client meeting or I’d analyze her work. I always told her she could say anything because ‘I’m not your mom today. I’m Linda.’ It’s not easy to develop the skills it takes to do this,” Gadkowski admits, “but we’d step out of the shoes of mother and daughter and into the shoes of partners.”