Being bold has been part of Dawn Dupre’s make up since she started fishing on the bayou in her own boat at age six. This trait also helps the Louisiana native navigate today’s troubling times, as firms keep advisors at home due to the coronavirus.
Dupre, executive vice president of wealth management at Janney Montgomery Scott, had her all-female Philadelphia team begin working remotely in early March.
“We started making preparations [around March 1] to test remote work [set ups] for the advisors, … but [also for] the administrative team that hasn’t experienced” remote arrangements, Dupre says.
“That’s when we purchased laptops, made sure secure phone lines were available and just made sure [it all worked] properly,” she explains.
The five-member team she leads just moved over to Janney from Morgan Stanley earlier this year.
Why Janney? “It’s a local firm with a national presence,” Dupre explains. “We were attracted to [Janney’s] experience and to its ability to execute and get things done a little quicker because of the size of the firm.”
(Janney has about 850 advisors vs. Morgan Stanley’s roughly 15,500.)
‘Born on the Bayou’
Born near New Orleans and raised by a Cajun-Catholic family, Dupre was among the first generation of family members to speak English as a primary language and the first woman on her mother’s side of the family to get a college degree and to leave the state.
Her father was a small business owner who left home everyday by 4 a.m., but she much preferred the work routine of a friend’s father, a CFP who “wore a suit to work” and got home by 4:30 p.m.
Good at math, she got an internship with her friend’s dad and ran errands, while also learning as much as she could about the business. The boss told her to study finance in college, which she did at Nicholls State University, becoming one of just two women to graduate with that degree in 1987.
While looking for a job, Dupre saw a financial advisor on TV, Marguerite Knight, who worked at a local bank and did a regular broadcast. She sent Knight a resume, then stopped by her office and sat in the waiting room several times in the hope of seeing her.
The efforts paid off. Knight helped Dupre get a job as an advisor at a branch of the bank. Knight went on to mentor her, challenge her and help her gain a foothold in the business, the advisor recalls.
Later Dupre began to travel around the country, helping set up investment firms within banks. She went on to become executive vice president of Citizens Financial Group and president of CCO Investments, its brokerage and investment advisor unit.
Constant travel, though, grew tiresome to Dupre, who had a growing family (two sons and a daughter). Seven years ago, she went to work for the advisory practice run by the father of Megan Keating, Dupre’s current business partner and spouse.