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How Carson Group's Teri Shepherd Keeps Her Focus on What Matters

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As president of Carson Group, Teri Shepherd is focused on strategic planning and development, financial forecasting and analysis, as well as continuous improvements to optimize the client experience.

Shepherd heads the operations, technology, compliance and legal teams that oversee more than 110 advisor firm locations.

She was the first female executive to join the Carson Group team and says the percentage of female advisors at the firm has grown significantly under her watch.

But there is more work to do. Shepherd pointed to an estimate by Barron’s that only 20% of financial advisors are women (including only 12% of the top 100) and an estimate by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards that 23% of CFPs are women.

Via email, we asked a series of questions that touched on not only her professional knowledge but what she does off the clock as well.

1. What industry statistic are you watching most closely right now?

Teri Shepherd: The number of women in our profession.

2. How has it been changing recently, and how do you expect it to change?

With the Great Resignation of 2021 and the increasing demands of being a working parent, I am tracking this number carefully.

At Carson, we are passionate about increasing diversity in our profession, including women.

3. What would you suggest advisors do about it?

Encourage, coach and mentor women in your office to get their CFP. Give them confidence and a clear career path for how they can contribute to the firm’s growth and client experience if they take on a new opportunity.

4. Who or what critical source of information do you track, or follow online, to keep up with this trend?

I track Barron’s and the CFP Board metrics. I also monitor women’s conferences and networking groups to identify trends and assess initiatives that are making a difference.

5. Are you changing any of your work habits at this stage of the pandemic? Why or why not?

More on this topic

We are blessed to have a new building in Omaha that we get to enjoy with a fitness center, beautiful layout and training facility.

We moved in the first week of June 2021, and the majority of our team is back in the office. It’s an incredible experience to be here with our team in Omaha, so that is my new normal.

The biggest change in my work habits has been to block at least four to six hours per week on my calendar for “white space” time. It has allowed me to be more purposeful and focused on things that “move the needle” rather than get caught up in the minutiae of each day.

6. What’s your biggest hobby, and what was the last event/activity you did related to it?

I love to travel, but that has been limited since COVID. I was able to attend a Women to Watch event in New York in November, and it was an incredible experience to see so many friends as well as welcome new women that are making a difference.

I am a mom of three boys, so one of my hobbies the last four years has been to coach my boys’ basketball teams. This has been one of my favorite hobbies for the past several years with experiences that I will always treasure.

7. How about your charitable activities?

The charity I most recently supported is No Hungry Children. It is an organization that strives to feed children in Africa physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Only $5/month feeds one child for the entire month. You can adopt a small village to help — what an incredible impact!

8. What book are you reading now and why?

I’m reading “Essentialism” for the third time to stay focused on the things that are most important and impactful.

9. Is there any special holiday plan you’d like to share? Or a New Year’s resolution?

I am going to refresh/complete Carson’s Blueprinting Process for a second time (first time was five years ago). I want to start 2022 focused on purposeful things that drive me and my family toward the goals we have.

10. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with our advisor audience?

In order to lead others, you have to lead yourself first. Put a plan together to live life (personally and professionally) by design, not default.