Women in Financial Services
Daralee Barbera started her career as a maths teacher in the day and a college professor at night. Fast forward a few decades later to the present day, and she now has a very different career to the one she started with. For the last 34 years, she has worked in financial services, a profession which you may not expect for someone who spent their working day in the classroom.
But it is not as uncommon as you may think. Quite a few math teachers later work in financial services, according to Daralee and the host of the webinar, Women in Financial Services, Dr. Chia-Li Chien, as both of these careers, have similar skills. “People who are from education are probably ideal candidates to go in this profession because they probably have the patience,” said Daralee
Daralee spent the first four years working in financial services as a financial advisor. She spent the remainder of the years working as Managing Principal at Waddell & Reed. Her job was to train, develop, retain, and grow financial advisors and the team. She then retired to work on her doctorate at the University of Southern California. However, at this time, she also went back to work to be the EVP of Business Development and VP of Strategic Initiatives at GAMA International. An organization where members who work in financial services develop their leadership skills. According to their website, they are committed “to providing members with research-based, world-class education, and training resources are second to none.” It is a place where leaders build leadership skills.
Daralee has also written two books; Women Matter: The Why and How of Gender Diversity in Financial Services and What You Can Do When You Can’t: 21 Days to Personal Success. She is currently in the process of writing her third book, Financial Literacy for Women and the Role of Financial Education: An Exploratory Study of Promising Practices.
Women are a tiny percentage of financial services, in comparison to men. 20% of those who are Certified Financial Planning are women, which has increased 4% since last year. But, shockingly, only 6% of those with the certification are client-facing. Daralee believes the best way to increase the percentage in the workplace is to recruit and retain women. What’s more, all advisors need and deserve support to help professionals grow and practice management, which Daralee thinks is key to retention.
Considering women control the majority of wealth, make the majority of financial decisions, and male clients like to have female financial advisors as they tend to listen more and build stronger relationships, there is a considerable gap in the market. It is a gap that it seems not many people or even students know about the opportunities within this field.
The Financial Planning Program here at California Lutheran University works hard to educate others about the work opportunities and our program. Daralee said the best ways to encourage not only more women, but more diversity into the field is to train, provide experience, and create exposure. Not only these points but to also work within the community. With diverse populations and clients, now is the time to create teams that reflect the communities being served.
“Money means different things to different people. You can’t just come in analytically and do a financial plan and expect the client to execute and implement it. It’s got to feel right and reflect their values,” said Daralee.
Financial planning is the heartbeat of business said Dr. Chien, the host of the webinar when interviewing Daralee. It is essential to have good communication and good relationships. This is also a key point when picking a company to work with. Pick a company that feels like the right fit for your culture and fits your values.
Two parts of the webinar stood out to me to not only remember if you are thinking of working in the financial field, but I think they can apply to other aspects of our lives too.
The first one is a quote from Daralee’s book, “The clearer you are about your intention, the easier it will be to execute them.” This could be applied to the workplace, such as your advisor, employees, or planners, but it also applies to personal goals. When we are clear about what we want and what we expect, we will receive those results.
At the end of the webinar, Daralee gave three tips of advice to new professionals starting their career in the financial services industry, which again, I think, can be applied to any industry. The first tip was to “know your why”, the second was “know your industry,” and the third was “stay a student.” In a world where every day something is changing, we must be open to forever being a student and learning new things. When we learn, we, in return, grow as people, and our perspectives broaden.
If you would like to learn more about careers in finance and being a Financial Advisor, reach out to the Financial Planning program here at California Lutheran University.
Daralee Barbera is a professor, professional business coach, consultant, speaker, and author with a Doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California. She is the EVP of Business Development and VP of Strategic Initiatives at GAMA International. For 34 years she was Managing Principal at Waddell & Reed. Daralee has also written two books; Women Matter: The Why and How of Gender Diversity in Financial Services and What You Can Do When You Can’t: 21 Days to Personal Success. She is currently in the process of writing her third book, Financial Literacy for Women and the Role of Financial Education: An Exploratory Study of Promising Practices.
Dr. Chia-Li Chien is a succession program director at Value Growth Institute, a succession consulting practice dedicated to helping business owners increase the equity value of their firms. Before her private consulting practice, she held several senior management positions in Fortune 500 companies. Dr. Chien is a director of the financial planning program in the School of Management at California Lutheran University. Dr. Chien is a frequent speaker about succession and retirement planning at national conferences and has published three books, including her most recent publication, “Enhancing Retirement Success Rates in the United States.” Dr. Chien serves on the boards of various national financial service associations. She holds a doctorate in financial planning and is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) as well as Project Management Professional (PMP®).
Rosie Baker is an undergraduate student at California Lutheran University expecting to graduate in May 2021. She is studying Communication with an emphasis in PR and Advertising and has a minor in Creative Writing. She is currently writing a book, Mirrors and Windows, which is due to be published this summer with New Degree Press.