Donna’s Story

Before becoming a financial advisor I did financial forecasting for the pharmaceutical publications industry and was a mom to three sweet babies. When my husband’s job at the US Embassy in Rome took us abroad, I had to step away from my career. During our time abroad, I taught English to Italian children at a local Roman school.

In 2013 our family came back to the Philadelphia area where both my husband and I were born and raised. Three months later he passed away suddenly. I spent two years working part time in my kids’ school and when they were a bit more settled, I knew I wanted to launch my career again, but not in the same industry. I thought about what was most impactful in my life during those two years of transition. What was most impactful was the advice, direction and support that my financial planner provided me after the loss of my husband. My advisor’s direction and guidance was truly what settled and inspired me at the same time. I decided to go back to school to take the coursework to become a CFP® and then entered the field so I could provide the advice and support to families in transition.

What intimidated me the most was my gap in employment. I was educated, had a graduate degree and my husband and I had made similar incomes back when I stepped away from the workforce to support his career. That was a 7-year gap of not being in the business industry and I was scared that I wouldn’t know enough or be respected enough, especially upon entering after the age of 40. What pushed me was truly a passion in my belly to want to do something good. I wanted to provide an option to others in my situation who needed someone calm, patient and trusting to help them navigate the immediate, transitional and long term goals ahead of them. I knew I was smart enough. I knew I had the best intentions. It was a close friend who finally gave me a push to be more than I was two years post my husband’s suicide.

This is an awesome career to raise a family. I am now a single mother of three. My kids were 12, 11 and 8 when my husband passed. I don’t miss that many games or performances because I can control my schedule. I pick up from school, drop off to practice and go see a client in the evening. With a little help from carpools, everyone gets where they need to go. For example, now that my kids are older and all teenagers, they sleep until 12 on a Saturday and I see clients 9 a.m. until 11 a.m….bingo, no family time missed. It takes a lot of patience and grit to put yourself out there in this industry. Be ready for it. I have seen women not prepared for the challenges leave the field before they reached their potential or even allowed their potential to begin to shine.

This career has allowed me to raise my children, educate them, and become a role model to them. They now know that old saying “When life gives you lemons….” The ability to improve the lives of the families that my practice touches is what drives me. To add value to someone else’s life each and every day is not only fulfilling, it is empowering. I go to work knowing I am doing good, and that is priceless.

Find a mentor who understands well where you are coming from, and who embodies the goal of what you want from your career. A mentor can provide guidance from real-life experiences within your intended career field as well as the patience persistence needed to stay committed to learning a new industry or line of work. Your mentors have been in your shoes, they have made the mistakes and learned from them. Use them as a resource and don’t let the pride or embarrassment of a blunder hold you back, a good mentor will quickly help you climb your learning curve. Find your passion. Be true to your Why. Work hard and match the two.

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