Michelle Lynch of Raymond James.

Michelle Lynch, vice president of the Network for Women Advisors at Raymond James, likes to say, “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.”

With women making up only 15% of Raymond James and the overall industry, women can feel like there are few role models.

This is one reason Raymond James recognizes five financial advisors during the firm’s annual Women’s Symposium.

“So if they can see it, maybe they’ll think they can be it,” Lynch said.

Lynch spoke with ThinkAdvisor about why it’s important to have these awards and highlight these women during the Women’s Symposium each year.

“It’s important because these women we’re recognizing are leaders — not only in their profession — but in their communities as well,” she said. “We talk a lot about work-life balance and how do you manage it all? And these women are managing it all — and they’re just kicking butt and taking names.”

The awards recognize successful advisors in each of the firm’s Private Client Group divisions who support the professional growth of other advisors and service associates and who are actively involved in their communities.

The 2017 Women of Distinction Award was presented at the awards dinner Thursday in Tampa.

“We have a lot of women here that are just starting out in their profession, who look up to these women as role models, and this is a way to further recognize their efforts and spotlight their successes in a powerful way,” Lynch told ThinkAdvisor.

Here are the recipients of the 2017 Women of Distinction Award.

Marta Shen, Raymond James & Associates

Shen has been instrumental in helping open the Atlanta midtown branch, increasing the firm’s presence in a rapidly growing area. Within six months of joining the firm in early 2015, she increased her asset base by $20 million, and within a year she grew her business 20%.

Passionate about professional development, Shen holds several designations, has served in leadership roles for the Financial Planning Association of Georgia and also served on the One FPA Advisory Group. In addition to serving on the Raymond James Women’s Advisory Council, she serves her community through involvement in programs like Junior Achievement, Funding the Future and Habitat for Humanity.

Laura Webb, Raymond James Financial Services

Webb has been an RJFS advisor since 1995, located in Asheville, North Carolina. She recently received the 2017 Volunteer of the Year award from Asheville’s Chamber of Commerce for her dedication and involvement in her community, including the WomanUP initiative, which focuses on businesswomen who wish to build a strong network of women in the area.

Webb is also an ongoing sponsor of Power of the Purse, an organization aimed at helping businesswomen succeed. She serves on the board for Friends of the Smokies and has been active in the Western North Carolina Community Foundation, RiverLink and the Pigeon River Fund.

Fraley Turnipseed, Raymond James Financial Institutions Division

Turnipseed, an FID advisor in Moultrie, Georgia, created Pentas Wealth Management in 2016 and successfully moved the branch from a bank-owned to an independent program, while still working within the bank network.

Turnipseed won Volunteer of the Year from the state of Georgia Parks and Recreation Department for raising funds for a four-plus-acre local park. She also has been involved in her local Power of the Purse efforts that benefit the United Way and its agencies. As a Girl Scouts board member for the state of Georgia, Turnipseed has helped implement an after-school Brownie program in 18 low-income counties.

She also serves on the local United Way board and on the board for the Boys and Girls Club, which is currently building a $4 million facility to serve children in her local community.

Kathleen Miller, Raymond James Investment Advisors Division

Miller is the founder, president and CEO of Miller Advisors in Kirkland, Washington. She has published two books and frequently serves as a guest lecturer on investment-, money management- and divorce-related topics for such organizations as the Washington Bar Association and the American Women’s Economic Development Corp.

Miller serves on the Seattle University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center Advisory Board, where she has participated as a judge for the annual business competition and is the chairwoman for the family-owned business committee. She is one of the founders of the Women’s Leadership Alliance, a Raymond James Network for Women Advisors-inspired national nonprofit dedicated to helping women enter and advance in the financial services profession.

Dominique Vincent, Raymond James Ltd. (the firm’s Canadian affiliate)

Vincent began her career in communications and public relations and moved into finance after earning her MBA in 1996. She joined 3Macs in Quebec City in 2001, earned the accreditation of portfolio manager, and in 2009 was appointed vice president.

Vincent is also an active member of her community, holding a number of volunteer or board positions at various organizations including the Advisory Committee of the Raymond James Canada Foundation and the Alouettes Foundation.

She remains close to the John Molson School of Business, previously serving on the dean’s advisory board, and serving with the women’s mentoring program. She recently launched “Young Investors’’ Learning Modules for all Raymond James advisors in Canada to use with their clients and their families.

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