02/07/2019 | 36:22
Finding Your Identity, Purpose, and Impact
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Jocelyn D. Wright, CFP®, is a managing partner at Ascension Wealth. She’s an advocate for progressing the financial planning profession toward having a “gold standard” certification (like the CFP® designation), and developing the identity of the profession. Within her practice, she focuses on providing financial education to her client community and beyond.
At this year’s NexGen Gathering, Jocelyn helped to lead a session on the identity in the profession – and how to develop your own identity as a NexGen planner. At NexGen, an advisor said:
How can I establish my identity as a planner when the profession is still establishing it’s identity?
Jocelyn tackles this question, and outlines what current planners and profession leaders can do to progress the financial planning profession using other professions as models. She and your host, Alexandria, discuss the history of financial planning, and how the profession has evolved over time. Jocelyn also dives into how she envisions the profession growing in the next several years and decades.
In this episode, you’ll learn more about Jocelyn and how she aligns herself with the financial planning profession. You’ll also learn how you can start to develop your own personal vision for your career as a financial planner, how to outline your core values as a NexGen planner, and the best ways to communicate your identity in this profession. Ready to dive in? Listen now!
I’ve wanted to be a financial planner since I was younger. Growing up I was a child of the 70’s. We grew up on board games…I loved being the banker. Whenever I had the opportunity, I wanted to run the money. – @jocelyndwright on #YAFPNW e156
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What You’ll Learn:
What a personal statement is for financial planners
How to develop your “why” within the profession
The importance of boiling down your core values to deliver exceptional planning services
Where Jocelyn sees the profession evolving to
How educating your community can be a passion and a value as a planner
How to balance building a business (and running a profitable business) with wanting to help under-served communities
The American College of Financial Services Faculty Spotlight: Jocelyn Wright
Alexandria: Thank you so much, Joselyn then for coming onto the podcast. We are here at Gathering, and it is kicking off and going well. We’re almost halfway, or, not halfway, almost done with a full day for Gathering, and you’re one of our ambassadors.
Alexandria: Thank you so much again for coming, and-
Joselyn: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
Alexandria: Yes. I think where we should start is kind of just a little recap of the day, but what has been your big I guess takeaway as ambassador, coming from that perspective? A lot of attendees are here, but what’s been kind of your feedback so far?
Joselyn: Well, this is my first time at Gathering, so it is an experience because I’m used to FPA, the bigger conference and recently started going to retreats. So this is really a good opportunity to network with a different group, not that there aren’t people who were newer in the profession at retreat, but there’s just a greater number, so really getting to find out what their thoughts are, what they’re interested in and because I believe that they are the future of the profession, just see where you can be helpful in making sure that they are getting what they need so that they are in this for the long haul.
Alexandria: Yeah, I definitely love that about Gathering, this intimate feel. You almost could meet everybody if you worked real hard over three days.
Joselyn: Right. Exactly.
Alexandria: Then you end up having multiple conversations with people throughout the time, and that’s been, so far, my great takeaway, too. This isn’t my first time, but I like that part about Gathering. So I’m going to talk a little bit to the insights so listeners who are not here, or maybe they are, but one thing is you had a session today in regards to what was named the identity of the profession, and I sat in on that session. I kind of want to talk about that session, kind of what you thought would be the direction of the session and maybe not so much of what happened in it, but where you thought the direction would go with that topic.
Joselyn: So, initially, when I saw the topic, my first thought was, “Oh, what do we need to do to make this more of a profession, seen as a profession from the consumer standpoint?” That’s really what my line of thought was. But of course, the way Gathering’s set up, it’s not as if I were doing a presentation, so I wasn’t coming in with the expectation of, okay, let’s give you these stats and go through all that. But really, when they came in, what were your thoughts when you saw the title? What were you thinking that we were going to talk about?
So, because it was a smaller intimate greed, I wanted to find out what everyone came in, what was their expectation? Then, depending upon where it went, that’s where we would go because earlier on I was talking to some of my folks at the table at breakfast to see what their idea was when they heard the title, and many of them were different than what I thought. So I didn’t want to go in with this is the line we’re going to go in, and this is what we’ll talk about. So everyone else was was with the expectation up.
It might be too because people are newer in the profession, how am I seeing, how do I develop my niche, that sort of thing around the profession. That’s where we went. I think it turned out to be a very good conversation, and hopefully, everyone who attended got something out of it that they were able to take away and then, of course, be in action about and start implementing some things.
Alexandria: Yeah. I like the very first part since I know we’ll talk a little bit about the very first part of what you thought the identity of the profession would go. But I liked how you started off with the personal statement piece and having everybody go around and share their personal statement within the professional or in their life, and I wanted to hear your personal statement again and how you maybe created that and got to that point.
Joselyn: So mine is somewhat fluid, in that, I say the tagline for my firm is education is our business. So I think that a lot of what we do or the important part of what we do is educating our clients. So that is really how I try to operate. Then, personally, my own sort of vision is to be of service and combining the two things. So I just want to make sure, in everything that I do, I am of service, whether it’s working with clients or even other planners, how can I be helpful to them? I take that especially to heart when working with newer planners because it’s changed so much from when I started. If I had the opportunity to attend gathering or if I knew more about retreat when I first started out, there were so many more ways to be involved and just to be very proactive in your profession now that I think it’s a great time to join this business.
So I’m excited for them because so many, they feel empowered because there’s not just one way. When I got in, it was sort of this is the way that you go, and don’t bug the system, but now you can really be a disruptor, and it’d be okay because you can find new ways of doing things, and if where you are doesn’t fit, then you make a way for yourself, some other way, and you can still be successful in doing that.
Alexandria: The theme is taking action. I liked that a lot of people, even if they didn’t have a personal statement, that they could go home and at least start creating one. I want listeners to maybe get a tip or two from you on how you can go about creating at least a starter statement. Like you said, it’s fluid for you, so it can change over time due to experiences, but how does one maybe start to maybe put and create their own personal statement, would you say?
Joselyn: So it goes toward that first initial session that we had, where Sandra said, “I want you,” because she’s the one that posed it. What is your personal statement? And really think about that throughout Gathering. So I think it is what you’re passionate about, what do you want to be for people to think when they hear your name? Then that’s how you go down that road to figure out what your… and crafting your personal statement. It may change over time, but I think the heart of it stays the same. You may add a little bit and take some things out as you get additional experience and grow. But at the end of the day, the core, it’s going to remain the same.
Alexandria: I think I might’ve added this in the session today, but it comes up to me when we go to conferences and everyone has a name tag on, and it says your name and your city and state. Then at the bottom, it’s like, you’re from, where you work. I think of it, your personal statement is if you’re not wearing that name badge, and we don’t know your name, who is Jocelyn? What’s exuding from her that other people can go, “Yeah. I know education is our business. I know that’s what she does.”?
Joselyn: But the great thing too about now being a good time to get in this profession is that more people who are starting their own firms, their name isn’t such and such wealth management. It is your greatest contribution or financial plan for everyone. So they are able to almost put their statement somewhere in the name of their business, whereas before, you would have looked at someone, “Well, what do you do?” But now, you can see it. You’re able to really express yourself just in the name of your firm.
Alexandria: I love that part. I love that part. So to kind of wrap us back to identity of the profession and where you saw that conversation going, where do you see, or what do you think the identity of the profession is now or where it’s come from?
Joselyn: Well, again, we’re very new in the profession, and we have to remind ourselves this is a marathon, not a sprint. So when we look at some of the other professions, the medical profession, legal profession, tax and accounting, they’ve been around for so much longer than we have. We can learn from them. While I would want the CFP to be the gold standard and no one can put themselves out unless they had it, it’s going to take some time to get there. So I would love to see us take some tips from what those others have done, what do we need to have in place, and what’s our plan to get there? So, instead of just waiting for it to happen, let’s be intentional and build that roadmap just as we do for our clients and creating financial plans. Okay. Oh, we have to do this to be recognized profession. How are we going to get that done, and whatever aspects that we need to, let start putting them in place because we don’t want to look up 40 years from now, and we’re still, “Well, I hope we’re going to be a profession soon.”
We have to make that happen, so we can’t just sit back and do it. It will take some time, but I think more of us are wanting that to happen, and I think even from the consumer standpoint, they want that and need it too because there is so much confusion about, well, what is a financial planner? What is a financial advisor? And knowing that in a lot of cases where they say, if you’re working with someone, you want them to have a CFP. So how do we make that happen so that there isn’t so much confusion out there? It’s okay to not be a CFP. It’s just we need to be able to make that distinction.
Alexandria: There was another session that talked a little bit to the identity of the profession. It kind of came from people want it to basically figure out their own identity, but one next-gen basically said, “It’s really difficult to figure out my identity in the profession when the profession still is figuring out their identity.” We haven’t identified what exactly specific standards or specific things we want to say the profession exist under. So that was like, “Whoa, that was super deep. Look at next-gen getting deep during sessions.” But I was like, “Wow, that makes such good sense.” I know another next-gen we’re sharing, what my parent thinks I do. If I say financial planner to somebody, how there could be all these different things.
Joselyn: Can I get a loan? Can you help me with my credit? So many things. Right.
Alexandria: Yes. Yeah. I make the joke. My mom thinks, she says, she gives a new title to me every time she introduced it. Yeah, my daughter does this, financial analyst, one day. Oh, she does economics, the next day. I’m just like, “You what?”
Joselyn: I’m every woman mom, don’t you know?
Alexandria: Yes. Seriously. So I just think of that as that not only is it the identity of the profession as a whole, but all the people who make up that profession are constantly helping to figure out what it is that the profession is going to consider its identity. It was actually Kate Haley that brought this up about how we see the profession if there was financial planners in Hollywood. If you saw that being on TV, you’d go, “Oh, I want to be a financial planner. I want to do that. What does that look like?” It’s really interesting. What kind of thoughts and ideas do you think could help shape us, creating an identity for the profession?
Joselyn: So, definitely, Kate’s idea, and I don’t think even idea, but her wanting to see a financial planner in a scripted role is very important because representation matters.
Alexandria: Oh, totally.
Joselyn: Too often, when the larger body in terms of consumers see a financial planner, it’s four things that we’re not proud of. So we don’t get, there’s not a financial planner in the news, we did this good thing, we help this family achieve this goal or this person purchase a home. It’s so and so did something, and now they’re reaping the consequences, and then all of us have to suffer the consequences of that. So, by having an intentional positive role, then we can see hopefully that role being a female, at least one being a female, to show the different faces of a financial planner. Then that creates interest for other people to say, “Hey, I want to do that.”
So she talks about how CSI, there were people, “Oh, I want to be a forensic scientist.” Who would have even thought of that before the show? Or a lot of the legal shows, the practice and all the people wanting to be attorneys. So it’s because there are positive representations where you can see yourself doing that, and then you look into, “Okay. Well, what does it take to do that?” When I used to do a class, and I would tell people, “When you’re thinking about a financial planner, if you didn’t know, and you, as most people do, google it, and you just google images of financial planners, what are the pictures that you see? So, as a black woman, if I wasn’t in the role but was interested, if I googled financial planner, I would say, “Oh, well that’s not for me because I don’t see any faces that look like me.”
But if you could turn on channel X every Friday at eight o’clock and see someone who was in a positive, positive role, then you could say, “Hey, I want to do that.” Then you look into it. That’s so true. Even someone else who was in our session, she said, “My two and three-year-olds,” what did she say? “My Mommy helps people make positive decisions with their money.” What toddler can articulate something just so concise?
Alexandria: Yeah. Look at that. It can be taught. As we say, spreading the gospel of what it is that a financial planning profession does. You had even touched on it when you said the identity of the profession from a consumer standpoint. So not even people who are in the profession, but what clients see as doing as a profession. We have a lot of people that make up what they think the profession is. So it’s left up for everyone’s interpretation, good, bad, or not, in between. A lot of big companies have been putting out a lot of publications or putting out different things on TV that defines what financial planning is to them. So now, as a consumer, you’re seeing what financial planning is in five different ways. So we’re like, “Well, I’m even more confused. Before I didn’t know what financial planning was, and now I’m seeing it in different aspects.” How do you think we should go about educating about that because now it’s added another layer to the identity that we’re trying to communicate?
Joselyn: Well, it goes to the comment that was made. How can I establish my identity when the profession has yet to establish its identity?
Alexandria: So true.
Joselyn: So it’s just very confusing. It’s our responsibility because, at the end of the day, we serve the client. So it’s our responsibilities to make sure that we establish that identity so that they know what it is. I don’t know necessarily how to go about it. Again, as I said, look at what other professions have done. Obviously, there is some standard there that they have to meet, certainly, education, experience, ethics, all of those things go into it. Some of them, we have in place, but what additionally do we need to do so that we can get there? I would hopefully say get there sooner. We don’t have to because there are other models. We don’t have to take as long as they took to get to where their profession.
Alexandria: That’s true. The other thing I think about too for consumers is they’ve gone through this, I don’t want to use process, but what finance used to be or, oh, I used to have an insurance person, or I used to have a stockbroker. So there’s been this, over time, history of what finance and financials look like for people. I’m always curious when they kind of transition, where does financial planning fit out on the mat? It was new, but people kind of associate it with these different things. So is that more something separate where it’s like, okay, the identity of the profession are also helping people understand what those other people do that isn’t necessarily financial planning and identifying the differences? That can be difficult to explain to a consumer as well.
Joselyn: So well, you know how the new, what do you call it, you do the doodles, where you draw out as a way of explaining things?
Joselyn: If we could make it that simple just to, okay, this is…
Alexandria: Like a graph.
Joselyn: Yeah. This is your financial team, and it includes X, Y, Z, et cetera. Maybe you don’t have everyone on your team, but I know when I first started out, they always said, “As the advisor or the planner, you’re the quarterback.” So they may have a broker or an insurance agent, but you are the one that they should look to to kind of give direction and coordinate everything for them. So, again, making it simple just as the three and four-year-old toddler did for everyone to see and hear that, that let’s start there and build out.
Alexandria: And build out. That makes sense. I even think too sometimes it’s worth different people who are in different roles. I mean, we all start into the profession in different ways. I think of myself, I did insurance for a year. So when I was doing insurance, I thought that was financial planning. It wasn’t until I got exposure to something else that I go, “Oh gosh, well what am I doing over here?” So it even is that you’re kind of constantly morphing as a professional.
Joselyn: Learning and growing.
Alexandria: Also defining what financial planning means to you as the planner and what you’re going to offer people. But like you said, that identity piece, it’s out there, and you’re like, “Everyone’s kind of having this tough time. Oh, the identity of the profession, identity of myself, it’s a lot.” Then I encompass all that to go, and then you’re a next-gen person, and you’re entering.
Joselyn: Well, even with that, with the insurance, we know that insurance is an aspect of planning. So, if you look at the medical profession, as they’re going through their education and development, they learn general practice, then they do rotations, and then they can specialize. So it’s the same thing. I could be a planner, but my focus is investments, or my focus is insurance. So those things are certainly important, but there is a bigger picture that we always have to make sure that people understand, so.
Alexandria: Yeah. I think one thing, and I’ve been hearing this amongst conversation at Gathering today that is maybe missing in that identity of the profession is that transition for a next-gen into the profession, and we hear from medical and other law so that they have that residency. I want to hear your take on how you think that would be super beneficial or how maybe you think it could be different. Then how does it fit in financial planning?
Joselyn: I think it’s important because again, you want to make that because there are so many more schools having financial planning program. So that’s how we’re getting a lot of the younger planners in because they’re coming out of programs. So that would maybe be very different for a career change or not to say that they shouldn’t or benefit from a residency as well, but that will just help them get a lot of the education that they’ve learned and how to make that applicable in a real-life setting.
So some of the soft skills that they need or are very important because, at the end of the day, you may have gotten an A in each of your courses, but if you can’t personally connect with the client, then that those As may not be helpful to you in building your practice because you have to have those people skills to be able to listen, look at their body language and really get a sense of, “Okay. Am I resonating with them, or did something I say, is that a pain point because I see they shifted in their seat?” All of those things that you may not learn in the classroom that are going to be extremely important in your practice.
Alexandria: I noticed that today too also in the conversations being had here that people, things that they say they need, “I still need help with this, so I’m trying to focus on this at my firm.” A lot of it sounds like these skills that you would have probably learned in a residency or if you’re at a firm that it might not be that can’t learn it there. It’s just you’re at a firm, and they have needs too, and we’re trying to move. There’s a business structure around that, and so it’s like, “Okay. Have you maybe build it out in a firm, then the resources?”
Joselyn: Well, that’s where organizations I think like the FPA and other professional organizations can be helpful because if you’re at a small firm, they have no capacity to design these things specifically for one advisor. But with the FPA hearing this, we can say, “Okay. How can we take this back to our chapters and maybe have a speaker come in and do a session on that, or we even go to some of the campuses and we do that in partnership with their financial planning programs and give them some of this information while the students are still in school?”
Alexandria: Yeah. I really liked that part, especially, it seems like you’re on another class, but-
Joselyn: A workshop. Whatever you want to call it.
Alexandria: Yeah, whatever you want-
Joselyn: But you’ll appreciate this and thank me later.
Alexandria: Yeah. Because, I mean, if they graduate and move on, and then you basically learned the hard way like, “Gosh, I don’t have those skills, and now, I got to go out there and find them, whatever.” So now, it’s like, well, if someone came in and just, I know that you’re going to cross this barrier as a next-gen, we’re trying to help you transition to the profession that this would be a great way to do it. That just, one, helps you with identifying what you want to do. It’s just another step, but it’s a really helpful step to basically catapult someone into the profession, especially if they’re next-gen. So we talked a lot about the identity of the profession. I kind of want to maybe focus a little bit more on you and how you orient yourself within the profession and what makes you really passionate about the profession specifically to you.
Joselyn: Financial planning is something that I have wanted to do or wanted to do since I was younger. Growing up, and I tell this story all the time, I was a child of the ’70s, so we grew up on board games, so life and monopoly, all of those things. I loved being the banker. Whenever I had an opportunity, I wanted to run the money, so that was good. Also, my father, he was an entrepreneur, so he had a couple of businesses, and they were all cash-based businesses. So each night, he would bring home the cash receipts, and I always wanted to let me count it, let me organize the money. So, initially, I thought I was going to into banking. But when I went to college, at that time, there were no financial planning programs, but I majored in business and finance and thought that’s the route I’m going to take.
But in the spring of my sophomore year, my father’s mother passed away. So this was the first significant death that I had ever experienced. As it turned out, she had a $5,000 life insurance policy. So, even in 1990, that was not enough to take care of the funeral services for the matriarch of our family, plus being African American from the south. We had a service in Philly and then took her body South for burial. So you’re looking at two services, a pretty large family. So my father and his siblings had to cover whatever difference that that policy didn’t cover. Not that I was in any position to have a seat at the table to talk about, well, how are we going to do this? Hearing about it, I’m thinking, “Well, wait a minute. Where were intelligent people? Why didn’t we know that she only had a $5,000 policy?”
As in some black families, it was one of those debit policies where the person came by, came and took your premium over the course of however many years. Quite honestly, she may have paid over 5,000 in premium depending on how long she had it. But there was no conversation of what’s going on here. Ironically, I found out later that that same day that she passed away, someone was coming to the house to look at her life insurance. But she was in her 70s. It would’ve been extremely cost prohibitive to get a new policy. So my thought was grandma, she was the queen of the family, and this happened to her. I would hate for this to happen to any other family. So that’s where I got interested in personal finance, wanting to work with individuals. I worked in collections and for a credit card company. I went to school in Delaware, which was credit card headquarters.
Alexandria: Yeah. I’m like, “Woo.”
Joselyn: So I knew, talking to people who were getting in trouble with their credit cards, and I was helping people who will understand that just because you’ve got a new car, that’s not a new credit line. You still have to, so explaining some of these things to the folks in school. Then when I graduated was helping people with budgeting and just getting organized. So I’d like to organize, and I like money. So what better way than going into financial planning? After graduation, I was one of those… I graduated, thank you, Lord. So it was a way, what are you going to do when you get out of here? So eventually, I was like, “I know I’m a good student. Let me go back to grad school.”
At that point, so you can get a masters in financial services. But a good friend of mine who had just gotten her MBA, she encouraged me, she said, “Well, get the MBA because that’s more marketable, and then you can still go into financial planning.” So I went to Howard, got my MBA, but then the objective was to go to a bank and then work in their private bank, which I did for a little bit. Then that was 2001, 9/11 in Ron. I was in Houston. It was just not a good time. So, where I was working, I was laid and then was introduced to a woman who became my mentor who had her own firm, and I was able to officially start my financial planning practice working with her, which was great.
I tell people, as now, I do a lot of work around diversity and inclusion, getting more women, getting more people of color into the profession. My story is not one of those. When I went to a firm, I was the only woman. I was the only person of color. No. I was blessed to go into a firm that was owned by a black woman who mentored me in those first five years of the profession, and it wasn’t until I left and came back to Philly where I was thinking, “Well, where are all the black people? Where are all the women?” There was nothing because where I started it was more than 50% women, more than 50% minority. So I thought that that was the reality, and not until I came home, started going to conferences where I’m looking around like, “I’m the only one in this room.” So I was really able… My start, to answer your question-
Alexandria: Yeah, no…
Joselyn: … was based on something that happened in my… a personal situation in my family, always interested in finance and money, but the personal side came when I lost my grandmother and saw that we weren’t adequately prepared for her passing and just wanting more families to be better equipped in taking care of their loved ones to make sure that they are not negatively impacted by that. Of course, in the black community, why it seems that we’re constantly starting over generation after generation, so having that financial education and empowerment, knowing that let’s do better, how do we close this wealth gap and really make a difference and have our own legacies as well.
Alexandria: I don’t know where to start. I’m like, “Go ahead. I’ve got to take notes if you could see.” I was like, “Ooh, I want to ask her about that. Ooh, I want to ask her about that.” So I want to kind of start a little bit. One, thank you for sharing that because I think oftentimes we all have very different stories of how we… I don’t even like to say enter into the profession, but what drives our why to be a part of this. So hearing that always re-inspires me, like, “Yeah, that’s it. That’s why you do this.” So thank you for sharing that. But I want to hear a little bit, and you probably currently do this and maybe a little bit of assumption on my behalf, but in your current firm, and you’ve talked about black families and communities and how they orient about wealth and money, how do you help families do that? Now, you mentioned education, but how do you maybe work with more minorities and make that profitable to your business?
Joselyn: Sure. Well, one of the things that I recently did is last year I started a nonprofit, and I do a lot of free seminars and session. So probably this was kind of around the great recession, 2007, 2008 time period. I was living in Houston, and my church at the time wanted to help out the members of the church who were having some issues. So the pastor had asked, “Well, what can we be doing to help you in a lot?” At that time, people were having issues with credit, issues with their homes because they were going through the real estate bubble. So I, along with another financial planner, I developed something called debt boot camp because people don’t understand credit and debt and how it all works. So it was a three-part series where we take them through different things. So that was something that we offered a few times there.
Then when I moved back to Philadelphia, I started doing that with the consumer credit counseling agency, and that was specifically targeted to women and just continue to do that because people found it helpful. So whenever I have an opportunity to deliver that, I will do it, and I’ve started even doing it virtually because I have some friends who are like, “Oh, I wish you would do that, but I live in X, Y, and Z, so I’ll do a webinar and do the same thing.” Different organizations, so I’m a member of a sorority. They will ask me to come in or even other sororities clients will say, “Oh, can you come out and do this for my group?” Which I’ll do. Well, churches do that as well.
Now I have a lot of family members and friends who have children who are graduating. So I’m looking to develop sort of an adulting 101 for the children. Okay. These are some things that you need to know as you go to school. So just it’s maybe a two-hour seminar or something that will just go through understanding credit. This is what you don’t do and that sort of thing. So wherever I’m able to provide that education, I will. But it did take some time because when I started, I want to help everyone. I just want to… I know this information will help… yes.
Alexandria: Put your arms around all of them.
Joselyn: But you have to realize that this is a business. So it was a constant struggle with how do I balance running a business, building a profitable business with wanting to help? Even a lot of information that Sandra was talking about today, and she talks about all the time is it’s not that you can’t do that, but you have to be very intentional about how you build that. So even 17-plus years in, that’s still something that I’m perfecting. But there are ways of doing that. So being able to deliver that education and even recently I started doing and hoping to do more, going into businesses and talking to their employees because that is a big issue for employees. We talk about employee productivity that when they are experiencing financial challenges that impacts their productivity. So employers, if you can provide, hey, I’ll come in, I’ll do a couple of brown bag lunches, we’ll talk about X, Y, and Z, and then you give them the information.
So there are a number of ways to do it. You just have to be creative, perhaps think of some new and different ways. But things like gathering and being able to hear other ideas that people have is a great way to say, “Oh, that’s something that I can. So that’s why I love these types of events gathering and retreat where they’re smaller.” You can talk more one on one and get some ideas about what people are doing.
Alexandria: So true. To talk a little bit about your start of your nonprofit, one, can you tell us the name so that people can do some research if they’d like?
Joselyn: So it’s still very new, so I don’t have a website, but it’s called Do The Right Thing, and that’s a twist on my last name too, but-
Alexandria: Oh, my gosh, yeah. Oh, that’s really cool.
Joselyn: It’s around financial education and financial literacy. The purpose is to not only provide education, but also my hope is to be able to raise money for scholarships. I worked for the American College for a while, and before I left, they started a scholarship for African-American financial advisors. So I know what some of the challenges are in, as we look to get more advisors in the business, what their needs are. So this would be to either the cost of education or to study for the exam, different things that they may need help with, and then, of course, for students. So I’ll be turning 50 next year, so my push will be-
Alexandria: No, you’re not. No, you’re not.
Joselyn: … I want to raise the money, and that’s going to be sort of my birthday gift to the cause is raise money and then be able to give out these scholarships for students.
Alexandria: That’s awesome. That’s really awesome. So pretty much what…
Joselyn: So look for more. Do the right thing.
Alexandria: Yeah. Well, look for more. I like that a lot. It’s really cool. So since it’s still in like startups space, do you see it currently it’s works in conjunction with your business, your financial planning…
Alexandria: Okay. So is that also how sometimes clients would come about? Do people go through these programs and then your hopes as they build to a certain level to become clients? How do you kind of see the vision of that?
Joselyn: That’s never been my expectation because I understand that this is the education piece. If someone comes up and says, oh, they come around later, then sure, but that’s never my thought going in. Yeah. I think a lot of times, if you stay in the business long enough, you’ll see people come around five, six years later, like, “Hey, you did a session at such and such. I always kept your card, and I just knew that when I got whatever that I would call you.” So that’s happened as well. Now, of course, one of the things, and you would know this being in the business too, where people say, “Once I get my stuff together, I’m going to come see you.” It’s so counter to what we do. Would you tell your doctor, “I’ve fixed my broken leg. I’m going to come see you.”? But for some reason, people think they have to have it all together before they come see a planner knowing that that’s what we’re here for, but people, they do come around.
Alexandria: That’s awesome. Yeah, I see it. Sometimes I hear people share, “Oh, how can I basically do more education within my firm?” A lot of people maybe think of pro bono specifically. But not always is it, “Oh, let’s branch off. Let’s incorporate a nonprofit arm to our firm, or how can we provide, work with, partner up with another company that’s doing it to be able to still provide that?” So that’s always interesting to kind of hear how you see it organized within your own firm of doing nonprofit space but also doing for-profit at the same time. But it’s not really a cross blend and… So that’s why I asked a little bit more for a little clarity of that because I know people are out there wanting to help people that don’t quite fit the mold of their firm but still got to make money for the business at the same time. Then that’s just how you know it’s the business.
Joselyn: Yeah. Then to your point, for those people who may be interested in doing some work but don’t want to either start their own thing or don’t know where to look, one, of course, the FPA and the pro bono work that the FPA does. In addition, I’m also now the new special advisor on gender diversity for the CFP board. So we do our win ambassadors, partner them up with other organizations who are doing education, encouraging them to go to your local community, go to your high school career day, talk to students, give them, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There is a lot of curriculum out there, a lot of resources, and we may just need to connect the volunteers with the resources so that they can go out.
That helps. Everyone is well, so more people being interested in the profession. So we may not have to have a TV show, but if they see you coming into their school, they could be interested like, “Hey, that was good information. I’m going to go talk to my mom or talk to my dad about X, Y, and Z, and then I want to be more interested. Well, tell me a little bit more about what you do.” So-
Alexandria: Yeah. So there’s two things. One, when you mentioned your position with the CFP board, but then you also touched on how you kind of got into the profession, and you were lucky enough to have that mentor who was a black woman who owned her own business, which I’m just like, “Oh, my gosh. If I came across that, I don’t know where I’d be today.”
Joselyn: Well, I always say if it were not for Cheryl Cruzo, I would not still be in this business because she was very helpful, very helpful.
Alexandria: So it makes me think, not that you’re not doing this because you are totally involved, but how can other individuals, maybe they’re not even minorities, get more, minority women, minority males to see the profession? I know you talked about the exposure piece, but maybe some actionable things that they can do currently in their firms to kind of change that narrative for some people. If there is somebody, the mentorship, how do you kind of see it helping people to do that now?
Joselyn: Mentoring is very important. I think to look at where you went to school or in your community, find out where you can be helpful to go in because what we learned throughout this process and becoming a financial planner, this isn’t information that just planners need. We’re offering life skills to people. So if you just went in and taught a basic budgeting class or something, you’re giving people information that in many cases their school is not teaching, and then you’re exposing them to the profession because, in many cases, you learn it, and you’re like, “Hey, how can I tell more people about it?” Then you add on, “You mean, I could do this for a living?” You talk to some planners now, and they think, “Well, how did you learn about it?” “Well, I went to this class, and then I said, ‘Hey, I can do this.'” You know Rianka, and that’s how she said she took a class in school and was thinking-
Alexandria: “I like that.”
Joselyn: … “I like that.” So that’s how it starts. Education is our business. So you can educate folks and get them interested in what we do.
Alexandria: That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much today, Joselyn. I know we are-
Joselyn: My pleasure.
Alexandria: … at Gathering, and we’re just still in the ambiance. I just want the listeners, if you could leave one thing now that you’ve been in the ambassador, what maybe people could be doing to take action in whatever that is right now. We’re building that this week with the people that are here. But if they’re not here and they’re listening, what do you think you have for them to go take action on?
Joselyn: So I’ll go off how we started. One of the things that Sandra led with is finding your purpose. What is your purpose statement? So she keeps saying, “Find that thing that makes your heart beat fast.” I think now we’re in such a time where go after what it is that makes you get up every day and you’re passionate about and find a way to make that work for you. At the end of the day, we all just want to live happy, productive lives and hopefully have an impact on others too, so.
Alexandria: So true.
Alexandria: Thank you so much, Joselyn.
Joselyn: My pleasure. Thank you.
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