1. Carolyn Armitage, managing partner, Echelon Partners

Never stop learning, and never let your personal wealth exceed your personal development. There are a lot of financial rewards in our industry and that can lead to big egos. But if you continually invest in yourself and continue to grow as an individual, you can continue to evolve and provide well for your employees and your community at large as well as the industry.

2. Brie Williams, State Street Global Advisors’ head of practice mgmt, SPDR ETFs

Be authentic — and never, never trade off on that. You are who you are. Embrace it. Own it. And use it as a strength. We’re all … able to psych ourselves out of doing something. When I find my mind going to that place … [where] anxiety can take over, [I take] deep breaths and remember who am I. I know what I’m doing. I’m here for a reason. They want to hear what I have to say. Go forth and conquer!

3. Lisa Dallmer, COO of Dimensional Fund Advisors

Be a risk taker, and in that process be curious and go seek information along the way to build those “figure-it-out” skills with others. Being a risk taker has worked well for me. It’s part of my DNA that I like growth. I like change. And I grow from change.

4. Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist Charles Schwab

Women often are told they “need to speak up, be bold.” I don’t know. That’s not been my personality … You do have to express your interest and show that you are interested. … We all want to be interesting, but I think being interested is even more important than being interesting.”

5. Lori Johndrow, founder (second from right), Johndrow Wealth Mgmt

Don’t get caught up in indecision, especially as a small business owner. A lot of times you have to make quick decisions, and although they’re educated choices, we all know sometimes they don’t work out. My feeling is if they don’t work out, just change it.


6. Catherine Valega, Green Bee Advisory

Sales is a huge piece of the pie. … I do think there is something to be said about joining an organization and cutting your teeth and learning about the sales culture and process. [You’ll] learn how to finish the conversation, how to follow up with clients, how to do client service, [and] that’s really more than half the battle.

7. Cheryl Nash, CEO, Tegra 118

Surround yourself with the best people with different backgrounds and knowledge is one of the key things that’s helped me. Also, I have a personal advisory board, which is made up of people outside of my company, even outside of the industry.

8. Erinn Ford, CEO, KMS Financial Services

I became involved in these strategic coaching programs. … [where I learned] to reflect on what [my] strengths are and continue to build on those. So much of my career I tried to focus on my weaknesses and shore them up. This program allowed me to see that I want to really focus in on where I’m strong, but then bring a team around me in the areas that I’m not as strong.

9. Lazetta Rainey Braxton and Rianka R. Dorsainvil, 2050 Wealth Partners founders

BRAXTON: I had no concept of “masterminds” or study groups where you are in a group of like-minded people where you’re talking about business practices and learning. Rianka created one for the two of us [which has grown].

DORSAINVIL: [Mastermind groups are] so important because as an entrepreneur, you can have the highs of highs and lows of lows all on the same day. And to know that you have a support system behind you to just lift you up is so important to stay successful and in the business.

10. Dawn Dupre, EVP Wealth Management, Janney Montgomery Scott

[Best advice] was from my mom. I was a young manager, and it was the first time I had to let someone go. … I saw it as a personal failure that he wasn’t successful. [My mom] really leveled with me and said: “Maybe 99.9% of the people out there aren’t going to work as hard as you do. … And if you set [those] expectations of all the people in your lifetime who will work with you, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.”


Every advisor has a story to tell. What was it that prompted their interest in the business? How did they grow into their current position? Who were their mentors?

For the last seven months we’ve been profiling in our Women in Wealth newsletter a wide assortment of trailblazers in the business to find answers to these questions. But here we highlight what nuggets of wisdom they would share with the next generation of young advisors.

Although women account for over 50% of the U.S. population, they only make up 14% of the advisory business. Although the industry is making strides to change this balance, the advice passed along here can help future generations of any gender succeed.

The above gallery shares the wisdom of these 11 women. For these and more profiles, commentary, news and relevant studies, please go to our Women in Wealth page.