To some, finance can seem like a man’s world—but Fidelity Investments is helping to set a new standard. The multinational financial services company is already pacing above the industry average and has made it a priority to attract more women to financial services. (Interested? Apply here!) Together, we’re highlighting women who are thriving in finance, to hear their experiences in the industry, and get their best career advice. Below, Kathleen, a VP at Fidelity Investments with 30+ years of experience in financial services, shares her advice.

How did you land your current role?

I made sure to let the firm know that I wanted the position beforehand. When a VP Financial Consultant position first opened up, I interviewed for it and did not get it. I used this as a learning experience, and when another position opened up down the road, I was approached by the manager (who knew I wanted to be in the role) and ended up getting it about 6 months later.

You work at one of the world’s largest financial services companies. What is one common misconception people may have about working in the financial services industry?

With personal investing, it often comes down to what money means to each person and getting a strong understanding of their risk tolerance, so you can help them stay on track. Yes, some of it is a math equation, and you have to know what they are saving for, but there is also a huge psychological aspect to investing that makes helping clients even more fascinating. I feel there is an art to it, and finding the right balance is what creates a long-term, trusted relationship between you and the client.

Networking is incredibly important in every industry. What are your best tips on finding a mentor and networking?

The new way of networking is social media. LinkedIn is a great starting place to see if you have any connections at the company you are interested in working for. I recently had two women ask me to be their mentor, and when I asked one of them, “what do you want to do?” her answer was “I want to be you.” This just blew me away. I advise you to look for someone who has the experience you desire.

What is your favorite part of your workday?

I love listening to clients’ stories; each appointment is like hearing a novel. The best part of my role is the long-lasting relationships I have been able to build over time. As a financial advisor, you become part of their family and knowing how much of a difference you are making in their lives is so rewarding. I could not see myself doing anything elsethis is not just a job, it’s also my life’s passion.

How does the culture at your company empower you to blaze your own trail?

Fidelity is always looking for ways to help move obstacles out of our way as employees and encourages us on a daily basis to always do the right thing for the client. We like to say we are client-obsessed. If you remember this, you will have a long-lasting career in this industry.

What does work/life balance mean to you?

I will admit this is the hardest question for me to answer because I care so much about my clients, and I often find it hard to quit at night and go home. Fidelity has been great in helping us with this. They are giving us the opportunity to work from home and to use our technology to save time. I am trying very hard to work smarter, so that I do not have to work so many hours.

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