Brett Gilliland speaks to Elizabeth Connelly and Katie Martin, both strong female figures within Visionary Wealth Advisors. Elizabeth touches on her early experiences as the only woman in executive meetings, which was normal for her in the beginning portion of her career. She emphasized the importance of hard work and perseverance in a male-dominated industry. Elizabeth also talks about the support she received from other female professionals.
Katie Martin shares her experiences as a young mother in the industry and her advice for women today pursuing a similar career. Katie shares her experiences in her position and how she aims to encourage women to take control of their financial futures. Both professionals have learned to balance a home and work life and found themselves successful. This episode is incredibly insightful for women and other professionals seeking a career in a male-dominated industry.
Brett Gilliland: So we’re live here ladies. So we are, uh, we’ll let some people join here for a little bit and, uh, before we get started, um, but we’re excited today to celebrate Women’s History Month. Here at Visionary Wealth Advisors and I’ve got two, uh, distinguished guests. Katie Martin is with me, and also Elizabeth Connolly is with me.
So we’re excited to, uh, spend some time today and get to know them and their careers and, uh, how blessed we are to get to work with them every day. So, again, I will wait just a little bit longer to make sure we are live in kicking. It’s 11 o’clock and, um, also going over to YouTube to check that. Um, right now.
So, um, we are here. Okay. We’re live on, at least on, on YouTube, so, so that’s good. So we’ll exit out of there and then, uh, go over here to LinkedIn and uh, make sure we are live there, which it looks like we are. So, uh, yes, we are live. So. Alright. Great stuff. Well, I wanna get started. So again, I have, uh, Katie Martin with me.
Katie Martin is a Chartered financial analyst, A C F P, certified Financial Planner. We have Elizabeth Connelly with us who is a JD, a certified trust specialist, and a certified IRA specialist with two distinguished careers, uh, that you all have. And we get the fortune of working with you two every single day here at Visionary.
So if you could, these are always big open questions I know, but I’d like to start with you, uh, Katie, if we can, and just share a little bit about your career story. And, uh, what’s made you, the woman you are today?
Katie Martin: Sure. So I started in a rotational program at an investment firm right outta college. And at the end of that time I moved into our investment research area.
So, um, I started as an associate analyst doing some, helping out, some equity analyst. And then in 2005 transitioned into a new area, which was our manager research area. So it was exciting to be the third person on that team and then help to play a role in growing that team from three to over 30, um, over the course of the next 10 to 15 years.
So it was, um, It was a great opportunity to take on increasing responsibility over time. Um, you know, eventually I be, uh, was responsible for leading a team of analysts and then also leading some cross-divisional projects at the firm. So I did that for about 17 years and then reached a point, um, in my career where I decided it was time to ch make a change and look, to pivot to a role that was more autonomous and flexible.
But most importantly was one where I had, um, wanted to feel like I was making more of a difference to, um, to an individual and working with individual clients. So that’s how I found Visionary. And I’ve been a wealth management advisor at Visionary since October of 2019.
Brett Gilliland: Awesome. Great. Well, thanks for sharing that story. And, uh, Elizabeth, how about you?
Elizabeth Connelly: So a little, I’ll go back a little farther than Katie did, uh, when I was little. I played like a lawyer. I sat at a, a dining room table and I would argue with my brother, and my brother would have this old stethoscope around his neck cuz he wanted to be a doctor and we’re little bitty kids at that time.
Well, he is a doctor and I am a lawyer now, so we, it came full circle. But in my career, all during my life, when I went to college, I tried everything. You know, I, I, computer science, things in math, things in business. But I had an advisor, I had a female advisor at that time, an academic advisor, and she told me that I was gonna take the LSAT because I had shared with her at one point in time that I played like I was gonna be a lawyer. Well, somehow I, I passed that exam in a decent way and she said, well, now you’re gonna apply to law school. So I applied to one law school, St. Louis University. I got in and I said to her, well, now what am I gonna do? Because I had accepted a job at Macy’s in their management training program.
Um, I was getting ready to graduate college, and she said, well, you’re gonna go tell them you’re not taking that job. And you’re going to law school. So I went to law school and it, it was fun. When I was there, I, I always wanted to be a litigator and in my young mind, I worked in a firm, I’d got to try a wrongful death case, and the life of a litigator is up and down and up and down.
And so at that time I thought, well, I would like to be married and have a family someday, and it wouldn’t fit, right? Mm-hmm. That’s what my young mind. So I specialized. I went over and I interviewed for a job in the banking field, and there started my career. I was so lucky, unbeknownst to me because I walked into an environment where I handled both institutional and personal money, and most advisors specialize in one area or the other.
So I actually grew up in my field doing both. And I am forever grateful for that. And over the years I had various opportunities that I took advantage of and found my way for client purposes into the arena that I’m now in. So the independent, uh, registered advisor, um, and it has been wonderful and it’s the exact right place for clients.
Brett Gilliland: I mean, you do an amazing job of it. So, uh, that, uh, it’s a big deal. So I, I, I’m a big fan of these defining moments, right? I think we all have defining moments in our careers, in our lives. Um, I think back to, you know, my first year in the business was 2001. I started late oh one, but 2002, great year, 2003.
Terrible year. Right? Like surprised to even let me stay on as a financial advisor. I just didn’t do much. Right. As a, as a advisor. I’m curious for you two, Katie, we’ll start with you on any pivotal moments or defining moments for you. In your career and to help you take action to where you’re at today.
Katie Martin: Yeah. So I put some thought into that after we had our initial conversation to prepare for that. And you shared your, you know, very specific example of what kind of got you to where you are. And so I tried to think if there were any points in my career that I would define as that one pivotal moment. And I.
I don’t know that there is anything quite that specific. And what I would say is it’s really more of a culmination of things for me. So I guess I’m somebody who’s kind of always thrived on that external validation. So when I was in school that meant, you know, seeing if you can get good grades. And then when I was in my corporate role, that meant kind of moving up to that next role in my firm.
Yeah. And so, um, you know, when I finally got to the point where I was in my existing role and looking to what would be next and realized that I wasn’t so sure that that was something that was right for me at the time. It really forced me to go back and think a little bit harder about, okay, what is that next step?
And so I, I kind of point to that as what it was that got me to kind of make that change that I needed to make at that time. Yeah.
Brett Gilliland: Were you, were you always a good student? Like was it easy for your parents? If you look back, you could have that discussion when you’re in high school. Cause and the reason I ask, I joke, this isn’t about, you know, kids and stuff, this podcast, but you know, we’ve got four boys, you’ve got two girls, you were a girl, you are a girl.
My, my, my wife, obviously. She talks about the difference of what it was like when she was doing schoolwork and these boys. Right. So do you see a difference there?
Katie Martin: Yeah. I mean, I, I was fortunate that school always came easily to me, so it was easy for me to get good grades, and that was something that was important to me.
Now, if you try to put me on a softball field or a volleyball court, then the story would be a lot different. So, um, and, and yeah, when I look at my, when I look at my own kids, You definitely see kind of the difference. It’s always, I mean, we gotta have a whole separate conversation on how different kids that are raised in the same environment from the same parents.
Brett Gilliland: It’s crazy.
Katie Martin: Parents can be, but um, so yeah, so I think being good in school was fortunately something that was kind of easy to me.
Brett Gilliland: Good. Uh, Elizabeth, what about you? What was some of those defining moments in, in your career?
Elizabeth Connelly: You know, I’ve thought about this a lot and so my career started at a time where there were hardly any executive level females.
And so my path was very different than nowadays, and I would say there’s not any one moment factually, not in a complaining way, any female. I, I was never at a table where there was another executive female. I would be in, in boardrooms and wherever I was, and everyone was a man. And so in my world, You didn’t have a, a pivotal moment, you had to survive.
Katie Martin: Mm-hmm.
Elizabeth Connelly: Is what I’m saying. You had to survive. And so I made up my mind early on what I wanted to do and what I wanted to achieve, and I knew I just had to do it with perseverance, diligence, and not really speaking out because in that day and age, if you spoke out, you lost your job.
I, that’s just kind of how it was. And so instead of pivotal moments that are obvious. They were more internal pivotal moments that I would achieve. I always had in my mind what I wanted to achieve by what age that I was, and I just worked and worked and worked to make that happen. Yeah.
Brett Gilliland: That’s great. So let’s, let’s talk about today how you will, uh, stay with you, Elizabeth. Is how do you support women today from, you know, from mentoring, just being there for ’em? What, what’s that role look like for you and, and how, how open is your door for that?
Elizabeth Connelly: My entire career, my door has been a hundred percent open. I have encouraged, I seek out women just quietly in whatever environment that I am in, and I offer to them that at any time they may come and speak to me and whatever they say to me will stay there. I have been, I hope, supportive my entire career. I still have people call me from early in my career to talk with me about how to prepare to ask their boss for a raise, how to react to questions that they’re gonna be asked in a review.
Um, I have. My friends in, in my world will ask me to talk with their daughters or their granddaughters, both from how do you present yourself, how do you approach school, how do you stay true to yourself, but how do you have a respectful voice in, in the world in which we live today? And so just quietly, I, I just quietly am available and I let people know that. And as it’s taken advantage of, which I’m delighted, then I say to them, Feel free and tell your friends, I get emails, I get phone calls, would you help so-and-so? I don’t know so-and-so from Adam. But I always say yes.
Brett Gilliland: I think it’s amazing too, how many times people though may not take you up on that.
Right? It’s like you got this unbelievable career, this success, all the stuff, and people may not take action to do that. Would you agree?
Elizabeth Connelly: I would agree. I think there’s a lot of fear and women in particular, even today while we’ve come really, really far. There is a lot of internal fear that people have that you have to overcome.
Brett Gilliland: Uh, katie, what about you? How, how’s the mentoring, the growth, things that you’re doing in today’s world to help the, the future, uh, of America really for the, in women in business?
Katie Martin: Sure. So, you know, I, before I get into that, I would just confirm what Elizabeth was saying in terms of her door always being open.
I mean, as someone who’s been in this role longer than I have, I’ve certainly appreciated her willingness to have conversations with me that have, and, you know, be able to talk about those things that, like you say, it takes, it’s, it can be hard to get up the courage to share something where you might look vulnerable with somebody else.
So, um, I, I would just would like to validate what Elizabeth said she’s willing to do. So, I guess in, in my view, kinda the way I think about working with, uh, women today, I mean, one of the main ways that I work with women is that the vast majority of my client relationships, the, the female is the one that is probably the one I have the closer relationship to.
So, You know the McKenzie’s done surveys on this and two thirds of the women. Um, two-thirds of women, even though the vast majority of women are breadwinners or co breadwinners in their home, they still don’t consider themselves to be investors and, uh, feel that their finances are top source of stress for them.
So, you know, I view it as my mission to help create peace of mind for these busy women who are interested in taking control of their financial future. I mean, they’re, they’re experts in what they do, and so to be able to hopefully be the person that can help ease the source of stress to allow them to show up better in other parts of their life that are, you know, more important to them, is what I kind of view my greatest contribution to be.
Brett Gilliland: And, and have you seen that, and this is for both of you here, whoever wants to take this question, but have you seen a difference? Cause I know I have as a, as a person’s been this business for 22 years now, the amount of females I talked to on the phone about the whole plan and their investments has changed dramatically, right. And, and so have you two seen that as well in, in your time.
Elizabeth Connelly: I absolutely have, and I knew early on in my career. Just dynamically. I knew that women control a lot of things, but we weren’t allowed to let that show, right?
Brett Gilliland: Mm-hmm.
Elizabeth Connelly: So I knew that and I watched that happening, and in meetings that I would have early on in my career, I requested that both the man and the woman be there, and I always spoke to both of them.
Katie Martin: Mm-hmm.
Elizabeth Connelly: So that was a little bit unusual, but that was my quiet way of trying to get women more in the center, if you would. And today I have many individual female clients, not just couples and so forth. So it has changed considerably.
Brett Gilliland: Um, talk to us a little bit about, you know, go back to when you were a child, right? And, and how was the support you received from, whether that’s to today as, uh, you know, adults have been the business for a while. That who is that mentor you look for now, or have you had in your career that’s helped get you where you are? Katie.
Katie Martin: Yeah. So as I, I think about the, um, mentors that got me to where I am today. I mean, I think one of the best ways to figure out where you’re going next is to have somebody to emulate. So I think of the people that have been willing to, um, provide the constructive feedback to tell me things that maybe I didn’t wanna hear, but were necessary to hear and be the one who, you know, demonstrated both professionally and personally what it was that I wanted to pursue in my career.
Brett Gilliland: Katie? Uh, Katie, I just talked to Katie. Elizabeth, what about you?
Elizabeth Connelly: So what I would say there is from the time that we were little, my parents raised us that we would be educated. They come from little tiny towns and their upbringing was quite different, And I did not know that you had a choice about going to college.
I had no idea. I knew you had a choice about what you did after that. So I would say first my parents, and I can remember as a child, my dad ta. I come from a family of eight children and there were six girls and two boys. And my dad would always say that he raised his girls to take care of themselves.
And I did not understand what that meant when I was little. So I certainly did when I got older and every one of us can take care of ourselves. So I looked to that moment from my very young years. And then I will say that when I went to college, there was a gentleman there that was the first person I met. I was on a work study, um, and he was so incredibly kind to me.
He was the director of admissions. Well, I later learned he had three daughters, and I think he just, for whatever reason, took me under his wing. And to this day, he’s now well into his eighties and to this day, he has referred his family to me. Mm-hmm. I have clients all over the country because of him, and so his belief in me meant everything.
And he stayed with me. And every decision that I’ve made in my career, I’ll never forget when I joined Visionary. He called me up and told me how happy he was for me.
Katie Martin: Mm-hmm.
Elizabeth Connelly: It was, it was wonderful. So that’s what sticks out in my mind.
Brett Gilliland: Well, I think it’s cool. I, I look back and, you know, again, startin’, in 2001 I remember coaching a basketball team.
I didn’t have kids at this time. And, and I think some of the people I met there that still refer business and it’s, those relationships are huge. They’re absolutely priceless. So thanks for sharing that. The, um, let’s turn the page to this. Um, and I say this with a smile because, I think the, the women I’m around you two, my wife, others, it’s kind of that can do all attitude, right?
Can women do it all? Um, how do you accomplish that in your daily life? You know, you got family, there’s children, career, education, your health, I mean, all the stuff, right? How do you do that? Can you do it all? What are your thoughts on that as a, as a female in business right now, Katie?
Katie Martin: So the answer is no, you cannot do it all. And it’s unrealistic to even think you can, I mean, by nature. It’s just not possible. And that’s whether they’re male or female.
Brett Gilliland: Can I interrupt you for a second, don’t you think though that, that people, they have that kinda complex, right?
Katie Martin: Yeah, yeah.. And I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to try to do as much as you can.
I mean, it’s, it’s a worthwhile pursuit, but I think about it, um, you know, just to try to, Set expectations that it’s not possible to do it all. And the way I tend to think about it is you have to prioritize. And so, you know, I think that, um, setting what those priorities are and then having the courage to make those ti make the time for those things that are important to us is about the best we can do.
And I think that you also can appreciate that your priorities might shift over time. So, um, you know, Season of life that I’m in, my daughters are 14 and 11 years old, so I, I’m very much starting to feel the, um, the shortness of how long it is until, you know, in about seven years I’m gonna have all the free time in the world.
So to speak. Um, and so I think, you know, the way I approach kind of my time I spend at work and my time at home right now looks a little bit different than it did 10 years ago when they were little, and 10 years from, from when? Um, from now as, as they’ve moved on to other things. So, um, I think the best we can do is to just, you know, be true to what it is that’s important to us, whether it’s, you know, work, family, um, hobbies, charitable work, whatever it might be, and then, Be the one that kind of defines how you allocate your time to those things.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah. Do, do you have anything you can share with those, uh, maybe the young moms that are listening and or young or older moms that are listening that, that, how do you do that? Like, what’s your daily process behind that?
Katie Martin: Yeah, so I think, um, you know, I’ve worked my entire time as a mom and so when my kids were little, they went to daycare and, you know, I, I harbored guilt at, you know, the fact my husband dropped my kids off at daycare at seven o’clock in the morning and I might be picking ’em up at 5:30.
I mean, it closed at six, so you had to be there before then. Um, and so there certainly were times when you’re in the car driving to work and it’s like, oh, I know my kid doesn’t feel a hundred percent today, but you know, I have to get to work. And, you know, it’s like, am I doing the right thing? But you know, I appreciate now in hindsight that in some respects it was almost a little bit easier then because I knew my kids were taken well, taken care of.
They knew that I was gonna be there for anything important. I didn’t miss anything that was, in my view, important to my kids as I was growing up. But now that they’re older and that season has shifted a little bit, Um, you know, they’re gone all day at school, so I’ve got all day to devote to those things are important.
But when I’m at work, then that means that I kind of need to focus in and get my work done because I might need to leave work at three o’clock to pick somebody up from track practice or, you know, go to a soccer game or whatever. Um, because right now that’s the kind of stuff I don’t wanna miss. So I think it’s just, and this is still a work in progress, but trying to be as present as you can with the time that you are making for the things that you’re doing is, um, something that I think is important to think about.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah. Elizabeth, what about you? That that can-do attitude or can do-it all attitude? What do you say about that?
Elizabeth Connelly: So I echo all of Katie’s comments. I will also say that for me personally, and, and I would say this to young women, you can do it all just not all at one time.
And I think Katie was mentioning this as well from the perspective that at different times in your life, you focus your energies different. And I have two children also who are now grown, and I never missed a darn thing for them. And I made sure that the activities that I did as a mother, that they were ones where I was present with my children.
So instead of being in charge of the gift wrap, I went on the field trip. You know those, you make some choices that way. And so if you know in your mind all the different things you wanna do, I, I feel like every day your life, my life is in service of others of some sort. You know, you, I have a husband, I have children, family clients, et cetera.
And my greatest joys come from them and helping them be the best people that they can be. And so, Whatever I, whenever I think about that, I just can’t do one more thing or something happens that’s a health issue or some other issue. I think to myself, what I was told, and that is there is nothing you can’t do for just one day, and sometimes I’ve had to break that down into 15 minute increments and I would literally sit there.
Move it outta my mind and say, for this 15 minutes I can do this. And I just believe if you have that continual focus that you will accomplish what you want to, it may not be in the timeframe in which you would like it to be.
Brett Gilliland: And, and so, and, and you know this, we’ve had this discussion, but um, you may not know this Katie, but we, Elizabeth sent me, so I, I, I had a fear of flying, right?
Katie Martin: Mm-hmm.
Brett Gilliland: I didn’t fly for eight years. And. Ms. Elizabeth over here sent me this very nice card before I was getting on my first plane ride. It was June of last year, June of 2022. And she said in the card, there’s nothing you can’t do for 15 minutes. And I’m like, you have no idea. You don’t know I’m gonna be scared of death, but I get this little travel rosary.
And I’ve got this, you know, I’m superstitious, so I put this, it’s on my finger, it sets the crosses in my hand. And, and it is amazing because when I sat in that plane that first time and those doors opened, I thought, that’s gonna be the freak out moment, right? And so I had this overwhelming sense of peace and, but that, that thought kept coming through my mind.
There’s nothing I can’t do for 15 minutes. Now, you may have to tell yourself that a lot on a three and a half hour flight to Tahoe, but you can do it, right? And so I also think it, it reminds me of a story, uh, I heard at a conference one time and, and I started doing it when my first child was born 17 years ago.
I put every Wednesday on my calendar at 3:30. I went home, right? And the first time I did that, I was scared of death. Like, you know, babe, you don’t understand I’m gonna do, I had all the reasons in the world why it wasn’t gonna work, but it worked. And so would you guys agree with the comment? If you put it on the calendar, put your family stuff on the calendar and build your work life around it, you’ll make it work.
Katie Martin: Yeah. I mean, I think one of the things that I can look back on with pride, and maybe it was naive at the time, but I was going to ask for what was important to me when it came to my family. To me that was, that was a priority. So, you know, when my first daughter was born, there were only a handful of people.
So this was back in 2009. At that time, a handful of people who worked from home. So it was, and by work for from home, I mean, working from home one day a week. So when I, uh, was going to have my first child, I’m like, well, this is very important to me that I am able to work from home one day a week. Now, that didn’t mean my, my child wasn’t there with me, but it was just kind of one day to change the routine up a little bit, to hopefully make our family time a little better.
And so, I asked for that. And it was, you know, and I was, my company was very gracious in granting that to me with the understanding that it was a privilege. And I’ll tell you, I worked harder on that day that I was at home because I felt like I had something to prove, to make sure people knew that it wasn’t a vacation day, it was a day that I truly was working.
But I think that just in general, I’ve been a bit unapologetic about ever making time to do those things that were, um, were of highest importance to me. You know, really people said yes when I asked. I mean, nobody was, you know, telling me, no, you can’t do something like this. So I think sometimes we’re afraid to ask and you just kinda have to do that.
Brett Gilliland: If you don’t ask, you won’t get it, will you?
Katie Martin: That’s right, that’s right.
Brett Gilliland: Elizabeth, anything on that?
Elizabeth Connelly: So my path, uh, um, quite a bit older than Katie and I would say that I never missed anything, but I had to take a vacation day. Yeah. If, if a woman asked forsomething it, it was greatly frowned upon. So you learned not to ask for that because it just set you back further.
And so you would take a vacation day. The number of times I would take my children to daycare and drop ’em off and the phone was ringing when I got to work, that one of ’em had thrown up. You know, you, you have this panic inside yourself, so you watch all the days you have for vacation or sick days. So that was more my reality.
During the, the majority of my career until more now. And you know, it’s interesting because I’m so grateful. My whole goal was for women to have it better at this part of my career than I did, and hopefully myself and other people, maybe a little bit paved that way. But when I had my two children, and then when I, Anna was, when I, Anna was born, I did not know you did not get paid for maternity leave. I, I had no idea. And, um…
Brett Gilliland: They did not pay you for maternity leave?
Elizabeth Connelly: No. And I will never, ever forget that sinking feeling. Like, what are we going to do? And I’m not gonna be able to stay home and take care of her for very long. It’s just a d it’s a different world now.
And I, you know, the, the leave for mothers, for fathers for adoption, I, I think it’s all wonderful. And so my path was just a little bit different and I’m glad for where the world’s evolved to today.
Brett Gilliland: When you think about it, that’s not that long ago to think that how fast this changing, you didn’t get paid.
Elizabeth Connelly: Yeah. Not 1 cent.
Brett Gilliland: That is amazing to me.
Elizabeth Connelly: And I was even, even worried about the insurance piece of it. Right. You know, like, do I lose my insurance during this? It was a different world then.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah. So let’s talk about now the, the leader that’s listening to this and, and this will be out on a podcast later as well. Um, but, but talk to the leader of the organization or really anybody in the organization, but what is it that companies can do now to support women more in the workplace? Better than we’ve even done in the last? 20 years, 30 years, however long it’s been. Right. What can we do differently, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth Connelly: I like to think that you recognize people as professionals. You looked as their skillset, their, their presence, their skillset, communication skills. And I believe that that females have that in droves.
They’ve just never been allowed to show that, so to speak. And I feel like the leaders of any organization, if they tell themselves when they’re looking at a position or looking at culture or the direction of their organization. Recognize professionals, then let them be the professionals they are.
And when I think about Katie saying when someone asks you for one day at home or, or what have you, If instead of making an immediate decision, you look at that person and what that person’s contribution is to your firm. If they ask you for something, it’s because they want it and need it, and they will, like Katie said, do everything they can to not lose that. Those are your best people. So say yes. Say yes when a good person asks you for something.
Brett Gilliland: Say yes.
Katie Martin: Yeah, and I think, um, I very much agree with what Elizabeth was saying. And then to maybe expand on that a little bit. I think just trusting that the person you’ve hired to do the job has the ability to do the job.
So you, you know, you explain to them what it is that, um, the role will be, and then you give them the autonomy and flexibility to do it in a way that is true to them. So if you hire good people and they’ve got the capability to do it, know that they will ask when they need assistance and then just, you know, sometimes that might mean that the work gets done a little bit differently or perhaps on a different timeframe, but trust that they’re gonna get it done.
Brett Gilliland: So this next question I, I think is gonna be hard for both of you because I, I know you both well enough, you’re not gonna talk about your biggest accomplishments, even though I’m gonna ask the question. Um, but I’m gonna start with you Elizabeth. So you were a, or are a Forbes top woman wealth advisor several times.
You’re a hundred, uh, 100 of the St. Louisans to know, to succeed in business. A hundred. That’s a big deal for you and I, Katie. We get to know one of ’em, right?
Katie Martin: I know.
Brett Gilliland: And, uh, a who’s who, an American Marquee Lifetime Achievement Award and nominated for Lawyers of Distinction several times. So I could go on and on, um, about those awards, which those are so well deserved.
But I think about you and your Cree. You told me a story about an engagement ring and, uh, that client story. Uh, talk to us about that, why that matters more to you than all these other accolades that you’ve gotten.
Elizabeth Connelly: My greatest thrills are when my phone rings, and I am a person who answers my phone when my phone rings, and it’s someone who wants to tell me something that those are my greatest moments.
One of them was a young guy who, um, I had a family group. I had accounts for his parents, and I had gotten to know the boys. Well, he called me before he called his mom and dad to tell me he was gonna get engaged that night, and he wanted to ask me about how he was gonna pay for the ring. And so we rehearsed how he, what he was gonna say to his parents and how he was gonna say it.
And it was just the most darling moment, um, to know that somebody thought enough of me to call me and ask that and rehearse for their parents. Um, so that, that was a truly great moment for me.
Brett Gilliland: That’s amazing. So, and, and if you could, maybe Elizabeth we’ll have you do this as well, but talk about the designations and the career and, and you’ve said some amazing things before we recorded about Katie, but I, I’d like to hear it from you and your perspective and your experience in the business on what you’ve seen from Katie’s business mind and the things that she’s accomplished.
What, what are your thoughts on Katie in, in, in that wo world.
Elizabeth Connelly: So Katie has a designation that’s a chartered financial analyst that designation, very few people have it across the country. Almost everyone who has it is a male. It is incredibly difficult to get, and I have told Katie that I so admire her for actually going after that designation.
In a time of her life where she’s a wife, a mother, a worker, a coaching at whatever, and she decided to do that, uh, that, that was just amazing and remarkable to me. Um, I find that she’s very unassuming. Uh, so that’s just something she did in her career. But I find it to be amazing that that was something that she accomplished.
Brett Gilliland: Yes. So I know you wouldn’t have said all those things about yourself.
Katie Martin: Yeah, it was my face red cuz it feels red.
Brett Gilliland: No, it’s perfect.
Katie Martin: But thank you.
Brett Gilliland: Yes. So some of your thoughts on your, uh, biggest accomplishments in, in the field?
Katie Martin: Yeah. So, um, you know, kind of similar to what Elizabeth was describing, I think of my biggest accomplishments as those, those most gratifying moments of feeling like I’ve made a difference to someone. So in my former role as a leader of analysts, when I could see someone that I led either reach that next level or feel like I was really getting through to them in a way that perhaps I hadn’t seen previous leaders do, I mean that was some of the most rewarding parts of being a leader in my, in my career at the time.
Now, I would point to those times where somebody will say, I feel so much better because I talk to you. I mean, that, that’s what I’m here to do. I, I mean, anybody can recommend an investment or, or whatever it is, but to feel like you are earning the trust of someone and then making a difference in something that’s extremely important to them is gonna be the most gratify is is the most gratifying thing in my role.
Brett Gilliland: So, um, skipping some stuff here, but how, how do we go, how do we balance your professional personal life? Right. We talked a little bit about this earlier, Katie, but what, what’s some of the strategies that you have now you’ve done over your career again, that, that mom that’s listening to this right now and, and, and what, what advice would you have for them? What strategies would you have for them to help them go from that point A to point? You know, z quickly.
Elizabeth Connelly: What I would say is, I had a CEO at a company who I, I asked one time, how do you do everything? And he said, you know what? We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and you have to sit there and you have to decide on that day, what are the most important pieces, and then you organize your day that way. So whether you calendar it, how, however it is that you accomplish it, I calendar everything. I even calendar times to think about different things.
Brett Gilliland: I love that.
Elizabeth Connelly: But that’s what you. And you can do it when you break your day down that way, you will focus that way, um, and just do it over and over and over again.
Brett Gilliland: Oh, I, I call it boringly consistent, right?
Elizabeth Connelly: There you go.
Brett Gilliland: Just be boringly consistent. Show up every day. And you, and you mentioned some of these earlier, but anything else you’d like to share, Katie, on that front?
Katie Martin: Uh, I mean, it’s all very similar. It’s identifying what, what is important to you. And I kind of do it over the course of, um, you know, maybe a week at a time.
And then every day start to think about, okay, I know I needed to get this stuff done this week. What absolutely has to be done today? And I do that both personally or professionally, you know, thinking about. The things that are coming up this weekend, what do I need to take care of today because we’re gone tomorrow night.
You know, all those kinds of things. So you can do whatever you put your mind to. You just have to put, you know, put the emphasis on your time, on the right things.
Brett Gilliland: Uh, write it down, right.
Katie Martin: Right.
Brett Gilliland: I mean, track it, write it down. Um, challenges, Katie, for you, challenges maybe you’ve faced in your career, um you know, as a woman in business, uh, in your profession, how have you overcome some of those things throughout your career?
Katie Martin: Yeah, so, um, you know, the reality of the roles I’ve been in both as an investment analyst and then also as a financial advisor, is that they are male dominated and, you know, the reality of it’s been that most of my leaders have been male and they’ve been very supportive and great to work for, and, you know, have always helped me get better.
So I, I, I, I can certainly speak to that. However, what I would say that is, um, one thing that I have felt over my career is that most of my peers are also male, and so the relationships that my peers were able to build with the same male leader was just different than what I could, I mean, You know, I didn’t get the invitation to go play golf.
I mean, that’s kind of a, a cliche example, and it also could be because I’m not that great of a golfer, but I think the, the, you know, the reality is to go out to lunch or grab a drink after work or something like that. The dynamic is just different when you’re talking about a male and a female than it is if it’s a male and a male or a female and female.
So, um, I think that’s, that’s one of the things that has been something that’s always been a little bit in the back of my mind in the roles that I’ve been in.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah. And do you think that changes? I mean, how, how do you change that?
Katie Martin: Yeah, I mean, I think, I think some of it is just, and this one of the other things that we had talked about is how to be more inclusive.
I think it’s just trying to, you know, get to know what’s important to each individual person. Whether it’s a male or a female and, and trying to find common ground on which you can establish more of a relationship. So maybe not everybody likes to play golf, but maybe there are other things that are important to me that I would have in common with ’em that we could ,you know, build more of a common ground on.
Brett Gilliland: Uh, I don’t think she’s talking about me, just because there happens to be a golf ball right over my head here. I’m like…
Katie Martin: No, it’s, no.
Brett Gilliland: I’m just kidding. Uh, Elizabeth, what about you? Some of the things you’ve had to overcome .
Elizabeth Connelly: Ka Katie said it well, uh, that has been a, a big deal is the personal relationships and it is a male female thing, and that, that’s cultural, right? Not cultural to affirm, but to our world that we exist in. And that, ha that has been very hard. So what, what I did to overcome that, is in my walks of life, I would seek other individual female executives, and they would typically not be from my arena. They would be from other arenas, and we would s put together little support groups and do regular times together and even travel together.
I have one great story that there were four of us. There was a lawyer that practiced in a firm, did murders and acquisitions, a female owned construction company. A woman who ran a like a furniture for hospitals and schools, and then a woman who ran a flooring company. And we went on a, we called it an executive Women’s weekend, and after that weekend, the furniture and flooring merged their businesses.
The construction person did the construction on their new facility, and the lawyer did all the contracts. And so, I to overcome the reality of the world in which we lived. That’s what I did, was tried to seek out in little ways how to just keep going, right? Perseverance. I never gave up. I just worked harder and harder and harder.
Brett Gilliland: Oh yeah. How, how much did you have to advocate for yourself? I, I had a, and the reason I asked that, I had a, um, woman on my podcast, I dunno, maybe two weeks ago, and she talked about, she was this young professional woman, she’s working at a big accounting firm in St. Louis, and she raised her hand and she went in and basically said, here’s why I’m the person for that job.
And that was a defining moment for her. Right. So did you have to go in and, and do that, advocate for yourself to make something happen?
Elizabeth Connelly: So close to 40 years ago, the, the only female there, if you tried to advocate to yours for yourself, you were pushed to the side. You were still doing all the work for which someone else was putting their name on it, but you were pushed to the side.
So what I told myself early in my career is that I had to prove myself by being the best performer. And numbers don’t lie. Right. And so that’s what I mean when I worked harder, harder, harder because I knew that somebody couldn’t say that I didn’t add value if my numbers were better than everybody else. And so it was just a different time. Just a different time.
Brett Gilliland: And I think that’s what’s great about our business, right? I mean, the results speak for themselves.
Elizabeth Connelly: Yes.
Brett Gilliland: You, you either have clients or you don’t. Right.
Elizabeth Connelly: Right.
Brett Gilliland: And I think back to a story you told me if you, if you’re comfortable sharing this, um, but the 50 cents an hour deal, right. Can you, can you share that story?
Elizabeth Connelly: Yes.
Brett Gilliland: Cause again, that’s still, I think about it often cause it blows my mind just in your working career. This is how much it’s changed.
Elizabeth Connelly: So what he’s, what Brett is referring to is, I wanted so bad to have $5 when I was this young teenager. And I went around my neighborhood, everything what I could do.
Wash your car, um, sweep your porch, whatever it was, because I needed $5. I washed one of my neighbor’s cars and they gave me 50 cents, and I vacuumed, I did everything. I knew that a boy who had done that before got several dollars. And that was true for babysitting. Even when I went, finally worked a W2 job at a dime store.
I was paid less than the men were paid, but I was the person who did the work, who they called when they needed somebody to fill in and so forth. So that was the world back then, and I feel like the women who migrated quietly through that and persevered through that, hopefully, led to some of where we are today.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah, absolutely. I’m, I’m thinking back to my house, having a male babysitter with four boys that would never have done, that would not been well for our home. So, um, what, what’s, what’s one piece of advice, Katie, you’d give your younger self now? So when you look back, you know, your career, what, what advice would you give yourself?
Katie Martin: Yeah, I think the big one for me is to not be so afraid to fail. Um, you know, I, I talked earlier about this, you know, need to achieve and I think that, you know, to the, the point Elizabeth was just saying, or you were asking about needing to kind of raise your hand and advocate for yourself. I mean, there are, you know, it’s a pretty common study to show that women need to feel like they’re a hundred percent qualified for something before they would apply for a new job.
And I think, um, in my career that’s been, um, that’s been the case. I, I feel like I needed to be confident that I was going to succeed before I was willing to take the risk to do something new, whereas, You know, I wish I would’ve learned earlier on to trust that I was going to be able to figure it out.
And yes, I was gonna make mistakes, but the mistakes that I made are where I was gonna get the biggest growth and the the best opportunity to learn.
Brett Gilliland: Yeah. What about you, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth Connelly: I would say going back to early part of my career, there’s nothing I would tell my young self because I would’ve been fired for, for what I would’ve told my young self to do.
Mm-hmm. But today, what I would say to to young women, Have a voice. Use your voice. We have a voice. Now do it respectfully.
Brett Gilliland: Yep. And last question, um, but your hopes, your aspirations, you know, for that next generation. Let’s pick, you know, Katie’s two daughters, right? 11 and 14 years old. What’s the aspiration you have for them? Long, long-term professionally?
Elizabeth Connelly: Long-term professionally, for that age group? I would like to think that the world would look at skillset s instead of male female. Look at qualifications, recognize qualifications, and I think if we all diligently work toward that, and if leaders try to have that mindset when they’re looking at candidates for positions, that’s the best thing we can do.
Brett Gilliland: Katie.
Katie Martin: This maybe takes it in a slightly different direction than what, what you asked, but I think, um, it’s, I would encourage women to take control of their financial future early. So one of the best ways to build wealth over time is to start saving and investing early. So to the extent that you start in a role to, you know, to feel like you’ve got ownership of your finances, because that’s ultimately what’s going to give you that freedom and flexibility later on to pursue whatever it is that’s important to you.
Brett Gilliland: Awesome. Well, uh, ladies, I haven’t really enjoyed this conversation. It’s, uh, lots of takeaways and, and I’m assuming I can say this, uh, publicly, that for anybody watching this that wanna reach out to Elizabeth and Katie, Doors are open emails. You can find ’em on our website, visionarywealthadvisors.com.
Uh, but it’s been a privilege having you both and just so thankful. I know I speak for Tim and myself, uh, to have you both, uh, amazing advisors, um, in the firm. And so thank you for being with us today.
Katie Martin: Thanks for the opportunity.
Elizabeth Connelly: Thank you.