The co-president and chief operating officer of a Alpharetta’s Kalos Financial firm is helping women shatter the glass ceiling in finance.
Chrissy Lee at Kalos Financial of Alpharetta is starting a Women’s Advisor Network for female financial advisors. Lee has worked at Kalos for 13 years, where she started out in operations and climbed her way up the ladder. Now as the co-president and chief operating officer of the firm, she works with financial advisors and oversees businesses operations.
As she ascended in the company, she heard conversations among the female advisors about the challenges they face as a female in the financial industry.
“The challenges are pretty consistent across the board,” Lee said. “(There’s) a sense that they need assistance as they meet with clients. The standards are higher for women (they have to be perfect in all aspects to be given the same footing) in terms of ideas and feedback, and there are still biases when dealing with male clients.”
Lee says that Kalos had thought about creating a network for some time for the past couple of years, but they began seeing a need for a network following two conferences where all their advisors come together.
Outside of those conferences, female advisers were creating their own networks and having this communication with one another. When she really started talking with female advisors, Lee says they started just talking about different challenges they face as women, especially in their industry. In 2018, only 13.5% of financial advisors were women, according to Catalyst.org.
Right now the Women’s Advisor Network has eight female advisors outside of Kalos, and two women from Kalos. Lee says that they are also working on bringing on recent college graduates. The network is still evolving through planning stages, but Kalos hopes to have a website live in the next few weeks.
“We want to form this network where we can help one another and be able to attract female advisors to our firm so that we are addressing what’s out there — female investors are really looking for female advisors,” Lee said. “We need the men to lean in with us, to join in the dialogue and to support that.”
For women interested in breaking into the financial industry, Lee recommends to keep pushing and participating as much as possible. Lee says she constantly offered to take on more work and contribute to more projects around the office. She encourages women to join the dialogue, find mentors and ask questions.
“Keep reaching and keep asking if you can be part of it,” Lee said. “We’ve come along way but I think in the finance industry it’s still predominantly male financial advisors.”