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Women’s History Month: Celebrating Women’s Achievements in Wealth Management

Rashelle Salimi

Director of Account Management

Published on

It’s Women’s History Month, when we celebrate the many accomplishments of women in every avenue of business, government and our communities.

At Addepar, we’re privileged to partner with the best of the best in wealth management. The landscape is shifting rapidly, seeing more women managing and building wealth. Their career journeys and the milestones they’ve achieved inspire us.

With women exerting their influence in fast-growing areas such as value-based investing and private markets, we thought now would be an ideal time to sit down and benefit from their observations and insights.

Our conversations included: Margaret Dechant, co-founder and CEO of 6 Meridian; Amy DeTolla, chief experience officer, Connectus Wealth Advisers; Mel Lagomasino, CEO and managing partner, WE Family Offices; Holly Mazzocca, president and principal, Bartlett Wealth Management; and Ann Senne, U.S. head of advice & solutions, RBC Wealth Management.

Q: You’ve been tremendously successful in your career and are in a position that reflects your expertise and leadership. We’d love to learn more about how you got started and what led to your current role.

Mel Lagomasino, CEO and Managing Partner, WE Family Offices:

“I fell in love with the job early on. The key for me is that as financial advisors, we have an incredible duty to these families to put their interests before our own and provide them with the highest-quality service. I built WE Family Offices on these same values.”

Amy DeTolla, Chief Experience Officer, Connectus Wealth Advisers:

“My career path hasn’t been a straight line. What has defined me is my lack of fear in tackling new challenges and new roles. Several months into my first job in wealth management, my manager quit. I asked for the job. It hasn’t always been easy, but I was never afraid to make the ask.”

Holly Mazzocca, President and Principal, Bartlett Wealth Management:

“I think it’s important to gain experience across different types of firms—both large and small. It’s been helpful to see the business from many different angles. We believe management should be deeply involved in client relationships. My experience has enabled me to have a unique perspective and approach with our clients and business.”

Q: What’s the most impactful way you’ve invested in yourself over the course of your career?

Margaret Dechant, Co-founder and CEO of 6 Meridian:

“Investing in myself has been key. I’m always reading and listening to podcasts to learn. I’ve got my Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, and I also network with other women executives in a forum I belong to. Learning never ends.”

Ann Senne, U.S. Head of Advice & Solutions, RBC Wealth Management:

“Working with an outside career coach has been a game changer for my career. I also participate in, and have helped grow, our Women Empowered network at RBC. What started as 12 women now numbers 650 in the employee resource group. It’s a fantastic community and resource.”

Holly Mazzocca, President and Principal, Bartlett Wealth Management:

“It’s important to not get pigeonholed. You need to diversify your knowledge. It’s fine to be an expert in some areas, but you should never be deficient in others. This is a quality I’ve admired in the best leaders I’ve learned from.”

Amy DeTolla, Chief Experience Officer, Connectus Wealth Advisers:

“I’ve always trusted my inner voice and learned to be comfortable in my own skin. I strive to look forward and not backward, and I feel confident that I’ve made the right decisions at the pivotal moments in my career. I also try not to compare myself to others—it sounds simple, but you need to remember to be kind to yourself.”

Q: What’s the biggest professional obstacle you’ve encountered and how did you navigate it?

Ann Senne, U.S. Head of Advice & Solutions, RBC Wealth Management:

“Being passed over for a leadership position early in my career caused me to take a step back and engage the support of others to build and refine my skills. I found an internal sponsor and partnered with them to advocate for the position. It took some patience, but I ultimately got the position and this experience opened many new doors.”

Mel Lagomasino, CEO and Managing Partner, WE Family Offices:

“I’ve always viewed obstacles as a puzzle to solve—that changes your perspective. Some things aren’t solvable, such as when there’s a misalignment in values. This will create a tremendous amount of negative energy and you won’t be the best you can be.”

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Holly Mazzocca, President and Principal, Bartlett Wealth Management:

“Invest in yourself and those around you. You can only pour into others if your cup is also full. The more you can invest in yourself, the more you can invest in your teams and your business.”

Margaret Dechant, Co-founder and CEO of 6 Meridian:

“Deliver what your clients need when they need it. Always look forward and anticipate what your clients will need in the future.”

Ann Senne, U.S. Head of Advice & Solutions, RBC Wealth Management:

“As women, we have a unique perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t sweat the small stuff. Be patient. If you don’t like something, wait six months and it will most likely change.”

Q: What advice do you have for the next generation of women in wealth management?

Amy DeTolla, Chief Experience Officer, Connectus Wealth Advisers:

“Celebrate and empower the women around you. View them as your allies and not your competition—it will make a tremendous difference in their careers and will ultimately benefit your own.”

Margaret Dechant, Co-founder and CEO of 6 Meridian:

“Don’t play small. Don’t be quiet about what you want. Celebrate wins and be proud of your accomplishments.”

Mel Lagomasino, CEO and Managing Partner, WE Family Offices:

“Women have a meaningful advantage in that they tend to be better listeners. It’s not about how smart we are, but how smart we make our clients. Really successful people in our business think about their job as empowering clients. And I think for us, as women, we have an advantage there.”

Winning together

Themes we heard often from all five women included the importance of continuing to learn in a myriad of ways—through formal education, by obtaining licenses, in peer groups and of course from clients—and how keeping a relentless focus on client and team success will always pay dividends and help everyone win together.

I want to thank all of our amazing clients, especially the women at these five firms for taking the time to participate in our conversations. It’s an honor to be able to feature such impressive executives.