(Image: Chris Nicholls/ALM)

As part of a recent chat with my supervisor, I mentioned that I had done an MBA about 15 years ago. “How was it?” she asked. “Very rewarding,” I replied. The MBA helped me better focus my energy and skills on a daily basis while keeping long-term objectives in mind.

I also learned a lot about SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and — more important — about disruptive innovation and the “job(s) to be done” framework developed by Clayton Christensen and others. This framework asks, “What job is your innovation (new product/service) going to be hired to do?”

This is a question that the 15 women profiled in this month’s cover story certainly know how to answer — as many have led or helped out powerful new products, services and processes over the past year or so. But let’s reframe the question, as I try to do each day, and ask: “What innovative job am I being paid to do?”

For the 15 Top Women in WealthTech of 2020, the job to be done is about leadership, integrating resources and so much more. It’s also about redefining and reshaping the rapidly changing industry and their role within it.

“My background wasn’t in technology specifically — it was finance and marketing, so I never envisioned myself working for a WealthTech company,” said Andina Anderson, executive managing director of Envestnet | Tamarac.

“Technological innovation has brought all areas of financial services closer together, so everything we learn and do can be applied to many parts of the industry.”

While many women featured in the cover story urge others to redefine themselves and their careers in light of technology, Mark Tibergien — CEO of BNY Mellon’s Pershing Advisory Solutions and a monthly columnist — urges advisors to “define their optimal client and build a business around that persona, while gaining a technical specialty along with an industry specialty, and ‘get famous in both,’” writes Tim Welsh, who heard Mark speak recently at the 2019 MarketCounsel Summit and summarizes the event in Industry Insights.

Someone famous in multiple areas was David Tittsworth, 66, the late president and CEO of the Investment Adviser Association in Washington. As Washington Bureau Chief Melanie Waddell explains in Washington Watch: “Attending a conference that had David Tittsworth as a speaker meant you were in for a pleasant one-two punch: You were going to be informed and entertained.

Tittsworth combined Capitol Hill, industry and legal smarts with a charismatic and theatrical presence, making the often mundane financial services compliance and regulatory world lively.”

An accomplished pianist and performer, he helped grow the IAA to a group with more than 650 member firms managing over $25 trillion. “Sad to mark the passing too soon of such a highly respected and valued colleague. Be at peace, David, you ran a good race. And you will be missed,” said Paul Schott Stevens, president and CEO of the Investment Company Institute, in a LinkedIn post.

Such achievements speak to the “job” many of us define for ourselves over the course of a career and a lifetime. Hopefully we can successfully complete it, regardless of the time frame we are given.