WSFS Bank and Bryn Mawr Trust’s Women in Wealth Making ‘Measurable Impact’ in Male-Dominated Industry
Wealth management has traditionally seen males take leading roles, a fact that makes WSFS Bank and its Bryn Mawr Trust division somewhat of a unicorn in the realm of financial services.
In a male-dominated industry, where businesses still have a long way to go to make gender equity a reality, WSFS boasts a strong lineup of women whose collective experience is a testament to how much the company is committed to supporting female professionals throughout their careers.
March is Women’s History Month, a time of year that WSFS enjoys celebrating, for the bank would not be where it is without the critical contributions of the women working there.
The paths of three particular women at WSFS today — Michelle Jones, Glen Reyburn, and Elizabeth Wagner — reflect the bank’s commitment to developing female leaders, who are traditionally underrepresented in the financial-services industry.
Jones, an Investment Advisor who was recently promoted to Senior Vice President, has been with Bryn Mawr Trust since 2005. She works closely with high-net-worth individuals and families to develop and implement wealth-planning strategies to help clients meet their financial goals.
“Building relationships is really important in our line of work,” said Jones, a Certified Financial Planner who specializes in asset-allocation strategies and investment management for both short-term income needs and long-term growth objectives. “Listening is foundational to building relationships and critical if you want to take a comprehensive approach to managing assets and not look at things in a vacuum.”
Reyburn, who has been with WSFS for the last eight years, boasts more than 20 years of experience in private banking and credits the company with recognizing the unique talents that women possess.
“We’re different in our approach, in terms of the way we listen and cultivate relationships,” said Reyburn, a Chartered Financial Consultant (CHFC) who advises her clients in the areas of financial planning, credit, and wealth management. “I was hired to develop private banking in Chester County, and I’ve seen WSFS grow and acquire numerous banks. All through that time, it has maintained an impressive culture, one that values its women leaders.”
Wagner is a Senior Vice President and Director of Institutional Wealth Management for Bryn Mawr Trust. She has more than two decades of experience advising nonprofits along their paths to long-term sustainability and building charitable solutions for high-net-worth individuals and families.
In her experience, women advisors are skilled at quickly building trust with their clients.
“With many of my peers who are women, I don’t see a lot of indicators of stress,” said Wagner, a 21/64 Certified Advisor who has extensive training in family dynamics and charitable issues. “We balance heavy workloads with a lot of complexity.”
The Edge Women Bring to Financial Services
According to a report from McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, one of the advantages women in financial services offers is the high level of support they provide their team members.
“Women managers in financial services are slightly more likely than their male peers to say they set clear work-availability boundaries, ensure employees’ workloads are reasonable, and organize team-bonding events,” the report stated. “Employees recognize this difference. Financial-services employees with women managers are 50 percent more likely to say their manager provided emotional support and 25 percent more likely to report that their manager has helped them navigate work-life challenges.”
Navigating the “Broken Rung”
For many women in financial services, though, climbing the corporate ladder has been a challenge, as they’ve often experienced a “broken rung” — the step that bridges the gap from entry level to management. Several studies suggest that men continue to be more likely to be promoted than women.
“WSFS/Bryn Mawr Trust is a place where women can make an impact, a measurable impact,” said Wagner. “We didn’t grow up in a world where women were encouraged to pursue careers in this field or even be proactive in planning their financial futures. The strength of this company is how much people, both men and women, genuinely care for each other and their clients.”
Advice for Peers
What advice do Jones, Reyburn, and Wagner have for young women considering careers in their industry?
“Do not be afraid of any challenge,” said Jones, who inherited her passion for investing from her grandfather.
“In this world of texting and e-mails, you still have to understand the importance of meeting someone face to face,” said Reyburn. “In-person networking is more valuable than ever.”
“Find the people whom you admire and turn them into your mentors,” said Wagner, who referenced some of the lessons offered in the book Unapologetically Ambitious by Shellye Archambeau. “You don’t even have to ask a person to be your mentor. Just ask them for advice on something, use that advice, then go back to the person and tell them how the situation worked out. Before long, that person has become your mentor.”
Learn more about WSFS Bank.
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