S01 EP02: Promoting Diversity and Creating Intentional Career Paths in Financial Planning

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Lazetta Rainey Braxton, CFP®, MBA, founded Financial Fountains in 2008. Her passion for her clients’ financial well-being and for teaching effective stewardship practices is the cornerstone of Financial Fountains’ client-centered approach. She is a true trailblazer in the financial planning profession - she serves as the Chair of the Association of African American Financial Advisors (Quad A), she’s on the board of the Foundation of Financial Planning, and she’s an active member of the CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning Advisory Panel, Women’s Initiative Council, and the Diversity Advisory Group.

In this episode of 2050 TrailBlazers, Lazetta and I are going to tackle many important topics. We’ll go over the importance of having cheerleaders inside and outside the financial planning profession, how to promote representation and visibility to encourage the generations to come to be anything they want to be, how to surround yourself with people who act as mentors and help you grow, and how to get involved with groups (such as Quad A) that are actively working to increase diversity in financial planning.

We are in a world that is reaching a pivotal point of change - and you have a choice: to be the disruptor or the disrupted. We encourage you to be a doer in this environment. Lazetta is a doer. In this episode, she makes it clear that being a doer is what helps us become our full selves.

Turning away from the industry practices of old and growing yourself either in your personal life or in your firm is absolutely necessary. As you move forward, continue to have these valuable conversations, continue to engage, and be patient. Change takes time, but you can be the one who sparks the fire.


What You'll Learn:

  • The importance of representation both in the financial planning profession, financial service industry and the world

  • The impact of creating space for minorities in the financial planning profession (through organizations such as Association of African American Financial Advisors (Quad A)

  • How we can lift one another up and promote partnerships within the industry

  • How partners can get involved with Quad A

  • How mentorship helps to foster diversity on a one-on-one level and on a larger scale within the industry

  • The importance of sparking the fire within each other and to build a strong team around you to pull out your talents and gifts


Show Notes:


Episode Transcript

Rianka: 00:02 Lazetta, thank you so much for joining me today. I am so excited for the listeners to learn more about you and the levels and depth that you bring to the financial planning world.

Lazetta: 00:18 Rianka, it is my honor to have this conversation with you and to share more about the journey in the financial planning profession.

Rianka: 00:28 Before we get started and before I start, you know, asking you all these questions and you sharing your sage wisdom with us. I want to share with the listeners how I met you. Is that, ok?

Lazetta: 00:28 oh please.

Rianka: 00:42 I was three years in the profession, I just pass the CFP exam and no, I didn't pass my first try. So for those who are out there struggling to pass the CFP exam, if you don't pass the first time, dust yourself off and try again; ok? So I, um, I had just passed the CFP exam and um, I found out about FPA Residency Program and I was able to go there. Um, my firm said yes, this will be a great opportunity for you to learn and continue to grow as a, as a planner. And so, uh, I went, the FBA residency is a week long program and when you are a resident there you have a mentor and you're assigned a mentor and a small group.

Rianka: 01:41 And this is where I had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth Jetton and during your time there, so again, a week long, uh, you have meetings with your mentor each night. And by this time when I, you know, sat down and had a conversation with Elizabeth, I was just very open and I was just like, listen, before I came here I was applying for other jobs outside of the financial planning world because I honestly, feel like, I don't fit in. I love what I do, I love personal finance, but I just, I feel like I don't fit in. Um, and you know, that's another story. But she said to me, listen, I can tell your, your flame, you're, you know, the spark that you have is dimming and we can't let that happen. As soon as you get back, you need to meet with Eleanor Blayney. And I did exactly what Elizabeth told me to do.

Rianka: 02:37 And I met with Eleanor Blayney, and then as soon as I met Eleanor Blayney she said, Rianka, you need to meet Lazetta Rainey-Braxton, oh my gosh, you need to meet her. You remind me so much of her. I was like, Oh really, ok? So I reached out to Lazetta, Lazetta, um, mentioned to me that they had a Quad A chapter meeting soon and come and introduce yourself. So Quad A is the Association of African American Financial Advisors. And we'll definitely talk more about it, um, you know, throughout this episode. But, um, I went and when I first walked into the room, I knew exactly who she was. Her smile is so bright, the energy and the vibrations that she gives to the room when she's in there is, I mean, you can just feel it and it's contagious and it's so much energy that you bring, and it needs to just be shared with the world. And we've had so many conversations since then and I just want to say thank you and I, and I tell this to you every time I talk to you, but I just want to continue to say thank you because you are one of the sparks that has kept my flame shining and inflame since I've stayed in the financial planning world. So thank you.

Lazetta: 04:12 Thank you. And it's wonderful to be able to share energy and passion with one another and feed each other on this journey.

Rianka: 04:23 Yes. And it's a long journey. And that leads me to my first question. How did you find the world of financial planning?

Lazetta: 04:31 To be honest, I stumbled across it. My passion has always been helping people build their financial acumen, not just literacy, but a deep knowledge base that allows them to feel very empowered. So I decided to take the investment management track to understand finance; when I got my undergraduate degree from UVA and my MBA from Wake Forest University, there was not a financial planning track at all. I was fortunate enough to, as you spoke about mentors, be introduced to Melissa Hammel who was very active in NAPFA, a fee only organization and she was a CFP professional. So I said, yes, she is who I want to be and when I, I met her and we had discussions about how she has integrated holistically an approach that looks at all aspects including investments, that just perked my interest and I immediately found online, um, program for which I could take the courses, got involved in NAPFA, and in FPA as a student member. And the rest is history.

Rianka: 05:57 I keep hearing that, you know, we stumble upon this profession that's called financial planning. And as we both know, it's a, it's a wonderful profession. How do you think we can continue to bring awareness and share the energy and the passion around financial planning and what tangible impacts you can be making in people's lives? So I guess my question is how can we continue to make this not a stumbled upon profession/career and bring it to be more intentional?

Lazetta: 06:38 It comes to my mind. One is what I decided to do with this new-found discovery is to actually start my own practice and what was a great discovery is, is that it is a wonderful profession, particularly for me as a new mother and also sharing my just love for, for working with people by starting my own practice and people can see that it is possible to be successful as an entrepreneur and that there are different ways that you can exercise your passion for people, helping them realize their goals and really walk along with them on the, on the journey. So first it's really embracing the opportunity to be an entrepreneur, set your own course and know that you have support within the profession. The other piece of that is having these, these conversations. So just by seeing Melissa, having the conversations, making it a part of your everyday existence.

Lazetta: 07:59 So with people who know me just personally and they say, OK, what do you do? And I'm like a financial planner or who's a financial planner? And then I have to say, you know, it's just a person like me who just loves to just show you how your money can help you live the life that you want to live. So that's been intentional about incorporating financial planning for me as an entrepreneur that matches my own goals and then being willing to have the kind of everyday conversation to say this, this is every day opportunity for, for everyone. I said a couple of, one other thing comes to mind as well too is volunteering, volunteerism and because of that, that passion and figuring out where the gaps are as to why other people don't know about the profession and what we can do collectively to share the message. Um, so really being feet on the ground, making connections like with you and encouraging from a grassroots level as well as, uh, using channels like social media and our other networks

Rianka: 09:08 And Lazetta, you have been in this profession, has it been a decade now? Or you've owned your practice for a decade?

Lazetta: 09:18 I've owned my practice Financial Fountains for a decade. I've been in the industry, uh, nearly 20 years now.

Rianka: 09:26 Wow, wow, let's just pause and just appreciate that 20 years and you've owned your own practice for a decade.

Lazetta: 09:36 Yes, this is the 10th anniversary of Financial Fountains.

Rianka: 09:36 Congratulations.

Lazetta: 09:43 Thank you. It's a significant milestone. Thank you.

Rianka: 09:45 What has that journey been like for you and what does it mean to be the financial planner for the rest of us?

Lazetta: 09:52 Yeah. I want to unpack this by saying, and this is so important that everyone's journey in terms of from entrepreneurship, that that's the route that you want to take, it's gonna look different. I mentioned 10 years ago I was a new mom, um, although my husband and I had been married a, I think close to eight years. Um, and as, as a new mom with a husband who was also advancing his career, we had several moves from the time I started my practice in Nashville, Tennessee in 2008 to then going to New York, then going to Chicago, Illinois. And now coming back to, to Maryland where we first met and, when I started my practice, virtual financial planning as meeting was just not an option. People were comfortable with seeing their financial planner in person, relationality of financial planning was really local and with the several moves that meant that I had to delve into the community, build those levels of trust, and that takes time and with the multiple moves, thank goodness that the profession itself was making some adjustments in terms of technology and integration and with the technology and the ability on a cost-effective way of being in touch with clients.

Lazetta: 11:30 As an entrepreneur, I just had to keep up with these trends and make adjustments accordingly. So 10 years later I do have clients across the country that it's not so much of an issue of trying to develop clients only from a local perspective, but also a national perspective as well too. So it's important to know each journey is going to be different and what I appreciate about the journeys that the tidbits, the mentoring that I got along the way and the ability to adapt quickly were critical for me to be where I am today as it relates to niche. Struggled, struggled, struggled with that because there is truth to saying I focus on women. I focused on, um, IT professionals, right? Being very specific because when people make recommendations they can say as an IT professional, I know this firm specializes in this, or you know, with corporate executives, that has always been a challenge for me.

Lazetta: 12:42 I am a person who believes in access to financial planning, and I love diversity. I love diversity of opinion. I love diversity of background, of professions. And I every step of the way heard people say, you need to narrow your focus. Thank goodness I worked with a marketing professional who heard me and she said, you know, sounds like you're the financial planner for the rest of us. And I'm like, yes, that is me because I am looking for those who felt either overlooked by Wall Street, or overlooked because they are female, or overlooked because they are a person of color, or overlooked because, you know, whatever reason, um, that they feel like they're the rest of us and they're not a part of the one percent. And that is the common thread that I share with my clients. Um, the access, the willing to explore the depths of their journey. And how their money's supposed to support them and to know that there's no discrimination when it comes to financial planning; financial planning is for the rest of us it's for all of us. And so that's, that's my niche. Those who feel as though, um, they have not had experience with a financial planner and really want to walk and take that journey and that gives them a holistic approach to, to their life and they know they have a partner along the journey with them.

Rianka: 14:20 Yes, and I'm so happy you mentioned that as far as like you don't necessarily need to find or need to have a niche initially when you first start off. Um, you know, I started my practice nearly three years ago and that was a common theme to me as well. Like Rianka you need a niche, Rianka if you need a niche. And that didn't, it didn't feel right to me. Like I can't say I just work with one type of professional. I work with personalities and so I'm happy that you unpacked that for us and for the listeners because I know a lot of people are struggling with that as well. So you mentioned the ability to adapt quickly, and because the various moves that you've had to make, you've had to learn how to adapt. Talk to me a little bit more about that. You mentioned it. You mentioned that you were able to have a great marketing consultant and so talk to me about how have you learned how to adapt and building that team around you to to be that mirror or help you find your voice.

Lazetta: 15:37 I wish that I, earlier in my journey with Financial Fountains had been even more intentional about specific expertise. I also will give myself some credit that I did as a student member of the membership organizations, spend a lot of time with financial advisors, so that aspect in terms of planners running the business, different models of structuring the business, was helpful. And, as entrepreneurs we have to be able to think beyond just the world of our profession and those who support businesses in general. And as I was looking at, you know, marketing in terms of websites and uh, thinking about, uh, my, my own financial team, you know, my, my accountant and even I'm strategic. Um, coaches, and I'm saying this in terms of positions, but what I'm saying to you is that I didn't hire people necessarily early on. I just use my own network of people that I went to school with to bounce ideas off so that I wouldn't be the cookie cutter financial planner. I needed to differentiate my myself.

Lazetta: 17:03 And what I was sensing early on in the Financial Fountains journey is that financial planners like lawyers are, the websites look the like, you know, the content was the same. And when you learn marketing, you have to really know your people and in and know yourself and figure out how it marries together. And that's not necessarily an expertise at all. So what I suggest is that we always look at other industries and professions because our clients, um, have different perspectives, and if we just kind of force who we are upon them, um, that we might not be open enough to make adjustments that is a win-win for both parties. And now further into my journey, I have hired folks who are specialists, um, because we as financial planners work with, you know, specialists on behalf of our clients. We need to do the same for us and figuring out who can advance our efforts faster than us trying to figure out how to do it on our own when we had no specialty or expertise in particular areas that are critical for successful business growth.

Rianka: 18:29 Let me take a step back. There has been a lot of buzz and talk about how the Black Panther movie will have an impact on Hollywood, uh, the box office record-breaking worldwide, etcetera. And seeing all the beautiful, diverse black people on-screen was very empowering. The only time I've ever felt this way was when I walked into the Quad A conference three years ago, when I walked into a room full of black and brown financial planners and investment experts, compliance experts, and I said to myself, where have they been hiding?

Lazetta: 18:29 Yes.

Rianka: 19:19 Why? Why was it so important to put on this conference and have all speakers who were persons of color?

Lazetta: 19:26 Let me just share very briefly, quick history on Quad A. Founded in 2001 by the first African American CFP, LeCount Davis, based here in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area, DMV, and I didn't discover Quad A until I moved back to Maryland and was wondering as a, as a solo-preneur or sole practitioner as an African American female, where, your exact question, are all the other African American financial professionals? And when I discovered Quad A, I'm like, wow, yes, their organization exists. And the, the introduction to Quad A was made to me by Crystal Alford-Cooper who was then the president of Quad A. Another thing that was happening around the same time,, coming back to Maryland is that I got very involved with diversity in the industry because of that, that question where, where are we and we should really be bringing in our energy and supporting one another in a better way, because we know that there is just dismal statistics as it relates to the number of people of color and specifically African Americans in the industry. As I was working with, um, very important influencers including Investment News and FPA in terms of the diversity initiative, had opportunities to serve as diversity chair for FPA Diversity Committee.

Lazetta: 21:01 And then with Investment News, I cornered then Jim Pavia and asked him, you know, I don't see any people of color in Investment News and I sure don't see them at the conferences. And in all honesty, that was my experience across all conferences as well. And so advancing this because of that question. Um, it was a broader question that allowed me to both be in leadership position as a part of the solution to bring together other African American financial professionals, professionals of color. And then partnering with the influencers, the membership organizations and the publications and saying, let's work together on this. So I said, as president, I am going to plan this conference for which I had never done and was going to reach out, and I did to my network, uh, to Kate Healy at TD Ameritrade, whom I had worked with as a part of the CFP Board Women's Initiative and my custodian, Shareholder's Services Group, who had just had their first conference.

Lazetta: 22:12 So they gave me a wonderful materials about how to structure the conference, and thinking about working with sponsors. And I also, through my network, got introduced to some important, um, connections at certain organizations and firms. My promise to them was, I'm going to put all my energy, build the team, and put this conference together with the supportive, the, FPA. I have no idea who's going to show up because, you know, they always are looking on return on investment, you know, the commitment that I have personally, uh, to changing the numbers, bringing us all together, supporting one another. And they bought into it. So our first conference in 2015 as a pre-conference to FPA's national conference was a success. We had 70 people, um, and like you said, it was an intimate room where we could just be ourselves and there was so much expertise and so much energy, and the challenge to our sponsors was that it is our responsibility to work with you closely and your diversity initiative and for you to share with us your African American SMEs, let us know who they are and we will, you know, create the dialogue around their expertise.

Lazetta: 23:37 And it was just a mystical and invigorating experience and, now we're planning for year four.

Rianka: 23:46 You know, there there's a quote saying, you may not remember what the person said, but you will always remember how they made you feel. And I still, three years later, have that feeling of feeling so empowered and feeling a sense of belonging in this profession by seeing so many other people that look like me. And I just want to say thank you, Lazetta, for your foresight, your vision. I'm tapping the network that you have built, the relationships that you have built over the years, um, and building a really strong team to say, listen, I have no, I have no stats to show you. I don't know who is going to show up. You know what? I don't even know if we're going to have a full agenda. But listen, if you partner with me, I guarantee you this will be a success.

Lazetta: 24:49 And, if you remember Rianka, you said yes too and it was wonderful. All the yeses came then and continue to come. Um, which shows that there is a deep commitment, and a lot of sacrifice because what's also important to know is that Quad A is run a hundred percent by volunteers and many of us have our own practices, and we know time is our currency. So we, as I say in the investment industry, eat our own cooking. We want change. We invested in change and I believe that that brought others to say we're making the sacrifices. Um, we believe in this. We're putting energy and resources, our time to this. And that's what makes any endeavor successful. And we look forward to continuing that momentum.

Rianka: 25:48 Yes. And I recall, at that conference there were student volunteers and just having some side conversations with them of just the joy, the honestly, the pure joy that they had that they felt like they can truly just be theirself. Um, they didn't have to pretend to be someone that they're not, they just, they just showed up, you know, and they brought their full self to, to the conference to volunteering, you know, we told them to, uh, you know, when you say yes, I volunteer to be on the Task Force, and, you know, we told them like, listen, this is a great opportunity for you to network and to put yourself out there to ask questions. And they did. And this, you know, as I was thinking about, you know, the students and the impact that this made and made me think about a former first lady Michelle Obama, and how recently, you know, her portrait was revealed at the National Portrait Gallery here in Washington DC.

Rianka: 26:53 And she said, as her portrait was revealed and she made remarks afterwards about the impact, she said, I am thinking about all the young people, particularly girls and girls of color who and years ahead, will come to this place and they will look up and they will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American institution. I know the kind of impact that this will leave on their lives. Because I was one of those girls. And I relate this to the financial planning profession as well. So, my question to you is why is it so important for women of color to be seen?

Lazetta: 27:43 It's often said, you know, you can be what you see. And with Michelle Obama being the First Lady of the United States and her husband, former president Barack Obama, you know, being the first African American president, it says anything is possible. That it is possible. Because before that, if you don't see it, how can you even believe that it can be? And with the students, can you imagine, Rianka, if the two of us had the opportunity when we were students or thinking about the financial planning profession, if we were engaged in a room of people who look like us, you know, we, we persevered even though we didn't have that intimate community that is now being really established and home with, with Quad A, and so it's just exhilarating to know that, uh, the work and the sacrifices, even the ancestors before us, um, has made a way and that in our own right we're, we're continuing that, that legacy and what the student program, the student ambassador program with Quad A, which continues, I will also share which will be publicly revealed. I'm very soon as well too, is that there is a new formed organization, the Quad A Foundation which is working very closely with Quad A as well to focus specifically on, on, on students of African American students. So that we are ensuring that the exposure continues. That there is a holistic approach of their development, their education in coordination so that there is job readiness, but also cultural assimilation and longevity within the financial planning profession. Because we can't lose those who we bring on board as students, we need to see them through.

Rianka: 27:43 Yes, it's the retention, it's the retention,

Lazetta: 27:43 It's the retention

Rianka: 29:59 of the talent that we're bringing in.

Lazetta: 30:02 Yes. And, and just seeing you and talking with you. So it's not just for the students, it's for all of us. And the more that we see that the more piece there is and encouragement, and assurance that we belong in this profession and belonging does matter. You said it earlier and it's so true. We all want to feel as though we we belong in, are appreciated and valued for our contributions.

Rianka: 30:27 It sounds like if there are organizations or companies out there that, that are looking for diverse talent, um, it sounds like Quad A's foundation can be a resource to tap if they're looking for diverse interns. And then also if they're looking for subject matter experts and want to diversify their panels, um, that, uh, you said this is year four. So for four years you all have been bringing subject matter experts who are people of color - Hispanic, African American - to the table. So they are out there.

Lazetta: 31:07 Yes. So let me just kind of deal with, with both entities who both are really advancing people of color, specifically African Americans to our profession, and broadly defined, so with Quad A, the membership organization, it's a partnership. So yes, it's certainly thinking about opportunities to see for corporations, their perspective of hiring new talent, but also developing the talent that they have and showcasing the talent that they have. So we see it as a, as a community, um, with like-minded institutions and firms who are comfortable with their diversity initiative, who want to advance it to develop, retain their talent and with Quad A Foundation, newly-formed, our focus and we're going to start a small steps with issuing scholarships that the scholarship is named after LeCount and his wife Jewel Davis. So there'll be the Davis Scholars and then we're going to move forward with other programs that will encourage their exposure,, development test, kind of their, their, their, their knowledge, um, with the CFP material and ensure job readiness as, as well too. So year four for the conference in the deep partnership nationally and with the Quad A Foundation, we're in our infancy stage soon to be launched.

Rianka: 32:45 That is awesome. If there are any organizations or companies out there that want to participate, give, either their talent or dollars who do they contact?

Lazetta: 32:56 I encourage everyone where there's partners or we always are looking for a building and expanding our community to go to Quad A's website. Uh, that is a-a-a-f-a-i-n-c dot com, so that's a-a-a-f-a-i-n-c dot com. And then with the foundation, so I'm going to give you the website, it'll be hopefully live in a few weeks and that's a, a, a, a, so the four a's, which stands for the Quad, four a's foundation.org. So that's a-a-a-a-foundation.org.

Rianka: 33:36 Awesome. And I'll make sure these are in the show notes as well, so it will be readily and easily assessable.

Lazetta: 33:45 Thank you.

Rianka: 33:47 So another question I have for you, uh, and you've mentioned it throughout our conversation is mentoring and the roles that people have played in your life. And, uh, I want to touch on a quote that I sent you, it was Bishop TD Jakes he was being interview by a Steven Furtick, I believe that's how you say his name, um, and sometimes we just have to be reminded that mentors can come in all ages, in various forms, in various professions. And I want to share this with the listeners because it's really important. And then I want to ask you, how has the role of mentors or influencers have played in your life? So TD Jakes said, and I'm paraphrasing this, um, people who are gifted cannot see it. You see everyone else, but you cannot see yourself; when you are truly gifted, you are blind to yourself. So it makes you ask questions like, who do men say that I am? You're vulnerable to the voices around you. They become your mirror. So I want to talk about why is it so important to build a strong team around you and have a set of mentors that can pull out those gifts that we are waiting to be blessed with.

Lazetta: 35:22 When you are a doer and you combine that with being a Type A, your only focus is getting it done no matter what the cost is, and that can be depleting at time because you're always giving, giving, giving, giving, and if you haven't taught yourself how to replenish, you miss the opportunity of really being your full self. Mentors, they hold you accountable, but they also pour back into you because like you said, you, when you're in it, you're blind to yourself. You're, you're just, you're doing the, you're doing and you're not taking a step back and kind of reflecting and celebrating the milestones. And so mentors have a way of giving you life back as you give your life to others. And they also help you get out of the trenches so that you can see the big picture while you're also dealing with, you know, every little detail.

Lazetta: 36:33 You know, having cheerleaders, having those who have been through, you know, the wisdom that allows you to see things differently. And I must say that for me, mentorship has nothing to do with, with age. And when I hear reverse mentoring, um, like mentoring is mentoring because Rianka I tell you all the time that you are a mentor to me that you have have shown me so many ways of doing things better, so many insights on, um, how to take different approaches and, and just the, the wisdom, like what you just shared with me with Bishop Jakes, that was so profound and just opened my eyes to, to new horizons. So surrounding yourself with people who, who are assigned to you, and I, and I believe that, that spiritually, that you just can't have anyone around you, that you have to have people who know and appreciate your purpose here on earth so that it is matched, matches made in heaven to do the work that we've called to do, but also to enjoy the journey living that, that abundant life that I believe is afforded to, to all of those, to all of us as well too.

Lazetta: 38:10 So thank you for being a mirror to me, um, for helping me see, see myself, um, and see what I can be and hope to be as well too. So I encourage, um, everyone to not live in silos, to open yourself up to, to those who have been assigned to you. Thank you for sharing that, Lazetta. And, as you know, I always tell you this, you are my mentor as well.

Rianka: 38:39 So we both share that role and um, and that journey together. And there's something that you said and you mentioned that, uh, mentoring, uh, there's no age like there's no, you don't have to be much older to be a mentor. I mean you can be, you know, younger and still be a mentor and you were open to receiving just thoughts, ideas. Um, and, and I know for younger planners, you know, like I'm a Next Gen-er for younger planners, we have so many ideas. We have so many thoughts that we just want to bring and give to the table and for those young planners who are in firms, who are trying to share these ideas, that what you've said earlier, that you have to make pivots and be, uh, the ability to adapt quickly. Or as I like to say, you will be in this, in the financial planning world right now, we're at a pivotal point. You will be the disruptor or the disrupted and they are young planners out here trying to help the old traditional RIA firms to beat the disrupt-ors, not disrup-ted. So what advice do you give younger planners who are trying to wave a flag and saying, hey, listen to me like I'm trying to help. I want to move our firm forward, but the firm owners are not listening, like what advice do you have for the firm owners and for the young planners?

Lazetta: 40:12 I'll start with the, the young planners, you have more opportunity to pivot because earlier in your life they're, there are less factors possibly that can deter you from making a change. Right? So maybe you haven't met yet or you don't have kids yet or you haven't bought a house yet. You're not committed to different areas. So that is, it's a time in your life to take chances, calculated chances. And why I say that is because if you are in an environment that you feel will, will not allow you to be your best self and bring your gifts forward, then there are other firms that will allow you to do that. Um, but there is a degree of patience because change does take time. And if the change is slower than you need it to be for your own sanity, sanity, then you need to pivot. For firms, be aware, um, of a different generation who says, I don't have to work for a firm for 30 years to be successful.

Lazetta: 41:23 That was a mindset of the baby boomers and maybe a little bit of the gen x-ers, but definitely not for the millennials. And so these are changing times for which the younger generation, they, they get it, they, they, they want to bring their full selves. They want to be valued for what they know. And also they are very much aware of what, what they don't know. So for owners and for new hires, there is, there is the communication factor; being able to live in that tension of the different ways that generations handle and view the workplace, figuring out as soon as you can being true to yourself as an individual and true to yourself as, as a practice, as a business, as a firm. And if the firm wants to look at its trajectory as one that is multi-generational, then they're going to have to honor what the younger generation brings to the table, or someone else will.

Rianka: 42:33 Yes. Well, thank you. And um, it's something that I share with the, uh, the young planners who reach out to me, especially students who I meet at the conferences. They're like, Rianka you started your own firm, I'm going to do it as well. And I'm like, no, no, no, no, no. Now listen. I started my firm after working for another firm for five years, so I have a little bit of experience under my belt and I, you know, and I have networks and resources and a seasoned advisors that I can tap into if I, if I have questions; I'm like, listen, you definitely want to work with someone and you'll be amazed and you may be blessed with the opportunity to have a firm that will listen to you. And we'll make those pivots. So for the students out there who are listening, this is not a blanket state of advice, but you know, it is.

Rianka: 43:24 I love the experience that I had working for, uh, you know, the, the couple RIA firms that I worked for, um, learned so much and I still talk to them today, but to Lazetta's point, my sanity was much more important to me, um, and at the speed that I want it to go or what I felt that I needed to bring to the profession, the void that I needed to fill, that was my sanity. So, um, but thank you for sharing that Lazetta. As you look back on your journey, what are some of the ways that you have invested in yourself, either personally or professionally, that has supported the growth of you as a person and as a professional?

Lazetta: 44:16 The moment when I realized I really needed help, I certainly have always been resourceful in terms of asking people's, you know, specific questions about how to move forward, but not getting the help with implementation. And, uh, a little over a year ago. Um, thanks to you Rianka, and making a connection, I hired a paraplanner and now have a administrative assistant who's helping me build out my team and be more efficient and, and enhance my client experience. I wish I had done that sooner. Um, but when you are so used to wearing so many hats, it's sometimes hard to, to look beyond yourself and say there's a better way of going at this that would be for the good of all. So in my, in my journey, no regrets, you know, I said I wish I had to start it sooner, but in reality where I was in terms of my own personal growth just wasn't there.

Lazetta: 45:40 So allowing myself or giving myself room to, to, to grow and to know that realizations happen when the timing is right. And that as a entrepreneur, that's the beauty of it, you know, the discovery process to give yourself room to adjust, to take a step back and celebrate your accomplishments, keep the vision ahead of you. Surround yourself with people who believe in what you're doing and you and them. So it is, you know, a community effort. And, um, to also say in, in those, in those dark days because you're going to have them, um, as a entrepreneur that as long as the vision is before you and you have people who were being truthful with you, in a caring way and to know that you're on the right track just makes the journey really worth it.

Rianka: 46:48 Yes. Yes, it's that mirror that we talked about. Well Lazetta before I let you go, is there anything else you would like to share with the listeners?

Lazetta: 46:52 I want to share that you are so wise to tune in to Rianka's TrailBlazers 2050 because you will be a part of her journey in ways that will change the, the, the conversation, reinforce the conversation of knowing that financial planning is, is for all of us and there are so many people who are committed and determined to bring financial planning to households, in reaching people in different to make that happen. So I salute you, and your vision, and your willingness to invest in something that is for the greater good.

Rianka: 47:44 Well, thank you so much Lazetta. And I am sure that this is one of many conversations that we will have here on 2050 TrailBlazers. So thank you so much for joining us.

Lazetta: 47:53 Thank you for having me.

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