Saying this was not the career I intended is an understatement. However, looking back, I’m not sure it wasn’t inevitable. I am the first-born daughter of a Kansas City Catholic family. This is another way of saying my family has thousands of members in it. Further, I have my bachelor’s degree in social work and my master’s degree in education. I am a Mom. To say that I know something about building community and teaching complex subjects to people who may be emotional is a similar understatement. But that’s my primary role at The Planned Approach- and I do it well.
Steph and I were practically children when we started the firm in 2002. We had already worked together at another firm for a couple of years. We realized that although we had very different personalities, we also had the same core values. She has the vision and I am the stabilizing force. I had just given birth to my first child and was pregnant with my second when we bought our first building and started the firm. We haven’t had a year without change since. We’ve been through marriages, divorces, moving, buying buildings, pre-mature births, changing our business model- twice, raising children, running a small business through the greatest recession since the great depression, cancer, more cancer, caring for aging parents, and oh, so much more. We have also had some great experiences. Our events are amazing, we’ve done a lot of good in the community, and have been able to make some sizable donations to Operation Breakthrough. We’ve been asked to speak for our national custodian, have been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, and have won some great awards like Women Who Mean Business, 25 Under 25, and Kansas City’s Most Influential Women. We also were able to have lunch with Warren Buffett. That was amazing. But most importantly, we have built this amazing Community of Stewards that just keeps organically growing in inevitable ways that is so much more than a job or a small business.
We’ve created a firm that is high on empathy, organization and problem solving. It’s about communication and helping people understand what they may have never been taught before and seeing what may be in plain sight before their eyes. Our clients are incredibly successful people. They have breath-taking stories and have lived through challenges that could break people. Yet they keep going. What they need most is trust and understanding, and that is what we provide. My day to day job is to make sure that our staff is growing in their own goals and my clients are growing or are content in theirs. I love working with widows, divorcees, and couples juggling too much. My clients tend to be pretty laid back, but they want to know what they don’t know that could hurt them. My clients are kind and they are easy to work with. My role is incredibly rewarding as I can point to the positive differences I have made in the lives of my clients. I also spend a lot of my time learning to help both my clients and the business. I love conferences and my study groups, so I can share ideas and find out new things. I’m an active member of The Financial Planning Association and have served on the board. I read a lot. I am passionate about how our habits determine our futures.
I know a lot of people have their “personal time” and their “work.” I don’t. My life is my life. My kids hang out at our office and I spend time with clients at the stables. I love live music and I love to dance- I even won 2nd place in Dancing with the Stars benefiting the Brian M. Anselmo Foundation (my guess is that the judges enjoyed my kids dancing with me – bonus points!) I guess that’s what made my job inevitable. I wasn’t doing a job, I was building a life.