Eleanor Blayney: Inspiring Diversity in Financial Planning

Eleanor Blayney, CFP is the Consumer Advocate for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards, reaching out to consumers to help them understand how financial planning and CFP professionals can improve their lives. A recognized conference speaker and author of the book Women’s Worth, she has played a pioneering role in shaping the financial planning profession. Blayney has taught for the College of Financial Planning and helped develop practice standards and ethical requirements for CFP professionals in the U.S.

The greater part of her career was spent as Managing Director of SBSB, where Blayney helped build one of the largest independent wealth management firms in the country. For twenty-plus years, she worked with individual clients to help them articulate and plan for their financial goals. As the only woman in the firm, she drew upon her intuition, communication strengths and facility for sustaining relationships to serve hundreds of clients in the Washington, DC metro area and around the country.

Passionate about finding ways to foster gender parity in the financial planning profession, Blayney helped spearhead the CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative (WIN) to address the industry’s “feminine famine.” On this episode of the podcast, Blayney speaks to gender disparity in the industry and discusses the CFP Board’s work to reach out to young women and attract a more diverse workforce.

 

Key Interview Takeaways

The two root causes of gender disparity in the financial industry are lack of knowledge and discriminatory firm culture. “You can’t be what you can’t see,” and until young women are made aware of opportunities and introduced to role models in the financial industry, Blayney argues that firms will have difficulty appealing to talented women.

Combat lack of awareness with advocacy partnerships that give industry representatives the chance to tell their stories. Through the ‘Faces and Voices of Diverse CFP Professionals’ campaign, the board is working with organizations like Invest in Girls and Rock the Street Wall Street to connect speakers with their target audience and give young women a sense of what the profession looks like.

The financial planning industry is a good fit for women because it offers a sense of purpose and meaning. Blayney contends that the profession allows for the opportunity to create meaningful relationships and provides a creative outlet that appealed to her as a young professional.

Educational opportunities in the industry must be both relevant and accessible. The CFP Board has approved 300-plus registered programs around the country, both traditional classroom and online.

Candidates for certification with a professional contact are far more successful. The CFP Board WIN-to-WIN mentor program provides the opportunity to connect prospective female professionals with advice and support.

Investing in a diverse workforce improves outcomes in terms of profit, productivity and morale. Blayney emphasizes the necessity of inclusiveness in the financial planning industry to build a sustainable workforce that truly represents those they serve.

Connect with Eleanor Blayney

Email: eblayney@cfpboard.org.

twitter.com/EleanorBlayney

CFP Board Website: cfp.net

Resources

www.investgirls.org

rockthestreetwallstreet.com

fortefoundation.org

irelaunch.com

Women’s Worth: Finding Your Financial Confidence by Eleanor Blayney: http://amzn.to/2kyaARt

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