Financial Advisor Magazine’s Invest In Women Conference Wrap-Up

Contributed by: Melissa Joy, CFP® Melissa Joy

It was a pleasure to attend and speak at the Financial Advisor Magazine “Invest In Women” conference this May. More than 300 attendees gathered in Dallas, Texas for the second annual event. This was the second year I attended the event and the attendance doubled from the inaugural conference.

A personal highlight of the event was the opportunity to speak on a panel with Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, Consumer Advocate for the CFP Board, and Jocelyn Wright, CFP®, American College of Financial Services’ Chair for Women and Financial Services. It was a great opportunity to share ideas on “Disrupting the Status Quo”. We all agreed that the numbers of female advisors need to increase and are looking for new ideas and opportunities to increase our ranks.

I was proud to highlight the efforts of Raymond James’s Women’s Network as well as the emerging opportunity related to their Women’s Giving Circle which is raising funds in a donor advised fund to invest in opportunities for women advisors. As a member of Raymond James Women’s Advisors Council, it has been exciting and rewarding to participate in these efforts.

The conference brought three big names for general sessions.

  • Former first lady Laura Bush talked about her time in the White House and her passion for helping women through the George W Bush Presidential Center Afghan Women’s Project.
  • Alicia Munnell, a leading academic on retirement research and director the Boston College Center for Retirement Research, shared her thoughts on retirement challenges for America. She emphasized the need for people to save more, work longer, and consider the house a financial asset.
  • Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary might seem like a strange keynote at a women’s investing conference. But the audience loved his take on female entrepreneurs – he says his portfolio’s most successful ventures are those founded and run by women! He shared a Shark Tank success story and spoke of his new venture into the asset management business with O Funds.

In addition to great general sessions, the conference had great panels on a variety of financial planning and investment topics. One of my favorites included Raymond James Financial Services Financial Advisor and Carter Financial Management partner Kathy Muldoon. Kathy has been a terrific friend and mentor to me over the years. Kathy spoke with her panel on the impact of philanthropy in financial planning conversations. The topic was both technical and from the heart and was very well-received by attendees.

Financial Advisor Magazine plans to have this conference annually, and I’ll look forward to attending again in 2017. In the meantime, if you know girls or women who are interested in careers in financial services, please encourage them to reach out to me for resources and support.

Melissa Joy, CFP® is Partner and Director of Investments at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. In 2013, Melissa was honored by Financial Advisor magazine in the Research All Star List for the third consecutive year. In addition to her contributions to Money Centered blogs, she writes investment updates at The Center and is regularly quoted in national media publications including The Chicago Tribune, Investment News, and Morningstar Advisor.


Financial Advisor magazine's inaugural Research All Star List is based on job function of the person evaluated, fund selections and evaluation process used, study of rejected fund examples, and evaluation of challenges faced in the job and actions taken to overcome those challenges. Evaluations are independently conducted by Financial Advisor Magazine.