Stephanie found the financial services industry somewhat by accident. In college, she would have laughed if you told her she would one day be filling the role of Director of Financial Planning.
In her early twenties, she was unhappily working at a law firm when she learned of an opening at a financial services company which advertised no experience was necessary. When she was hired, she did not even know when the markets opened or closed. But she stuck with it because she was drawn to the problem-solving aspect of the career. She enjoys the challenge of fitting the puzzle pieces together for unique situations, constantly adjusting for what clients want and need. Stephanie is looking forward to helping Freestone expand its capabilities in the wealth planning services and would love to see more women added to the department. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, exploring her surroundings near and far, and further developing her cultural understanding.
What advice would you give to other women trying to break into the financial services field?
Be persistent, stand up for yourself, and be assertive. It can be a tough industry for women. It is a white male-driven industry, and has been slow to change, but it is changing. Finding a mentor is invaluable. Don’t be intimidated just because you are the new one, or the young one or the only female.
How can more women be encouraged to enter the field?
Finance is a lot more than just being an investment advisor or what we typically think of as a stockbroker. We can encourage interest in the field by demonstrating the variety of roles available within the field. My role does not include sales and I don’t have any clients myself, but I support the team in a variety of ways. Additionally, those of us in the industry need to push our firms to hire a more diverse base. We then need to foster those individuals and provide them with the resources to be successful.
What does women’s history month mean to you?
It heightens awareness of the fact that women are still not equal to men in our society. The inequality is found not only in compensation, but also female representation in many industries. Women’s history month is a time for us to admire the people that have paved the way for us, while understanding that there is a long way to go. Nothing ever changes if it stays behind closed doors. We should use the month to focus on women’s stories, both the good and the bad, failures and successes.