Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff has been a groundbreaker and a role model, but perhaps her greatest influence is in the financial planning profession itself, where she presided over some of the major standards that shape the way planners do business.
Planning is her second profession; she began as a high school and college math teacher. But after she had raised her family, she was looking for something different. An interest in the market guided her toward the profession of stockbroker, where she was the sixth woman in a firm of perhaps 230 brokers.
“The women at the firm were so talented and accomplished.” she says. “I went to presentations they gave, and worked with them to find out best practices. And they were very client-centered, which fit with my philosophy.”
She adds, “I ended up being rookie of the year for my branch, and I think a lot of my success was because I was a woman. I would call people, and they were surprised that I was a broker and it created a conversation—which may have given me an advantage.”
What really gave her an advantage, however, was the fact that her firm chose one person from each branch to do the CFP program. “That,” she says, “was my ‘aha’ moment. When I heard that I could embrace this whole idea of not just trying to sell someone the product du jour but actually find out about their situation, what they needed, and how they operated, and then come up with solutions—that was an approach that seemed so apparent to me, so logical.”
“I love financial planning, and planning holistically,” she adds
Back to that most influential work: it’s also the most important to her. There are three specific actions she mentions. “First,” she says, “was being on the Practice Standards Board … where we actually wrote the practice standards for CFP. I served on the board of directors, and to me this is the thing that was probably most satisfying.”