According to a 2019 Catalyst research study, women represent less than a third of financial advisors.1
Rebecca Forrer, Sales Operations at Schwab, understands what it’s like to feel underrepresented.
“Early in my career, at a previous company, I was in a role where I supported new business reviews with the executive team,” explains Rebecca. “I was the only woman, the youngest person, and had the least experience. And I was extremely nervous before every meeting.”
Today, Rebecca is a leader supporting the Schwab branch network based out of Richfield, Ohio, but she hasn’t forgotten her past experiences. And as a result, Rebecca, along with her colleague Karen Barrett, a leader in the Wealth Management and Relationship Consulting group at Schwab, also out of NE Ohio, developed the CARE program to help develop, retain, and promote female financial consultants and women in other client-facing roles within the branch network.
CARE, short for Career Accelerator Resource for Emerging branch network talent, was launched in May of 2021 with 26 participants. It is now in its second year and has seen great expansion with a cohort of 73 women who will participate in the 3-month program. The program contains approximately 25 hours of activities including four workshops led by leadership coaches from CRA, a company that traditionally specializes in coaching for executives but is being offered to emerging talent as part of CARE.
In addition to the specialized trainings, the program serves as a connection point for women in the broader Schwab branch network. It enables them to get to know each other and build a network of female colleagues—people they may not have otherwise met—that they can learn from.
“We want women to thrive in the branch network,” says Karen, explaining the goals of CARE. “We want women to understand what success looks like as a female advisor. We want to empower them to be extremely successful. We want to unlock options for them on various pathways to success in the advisor role.”
“We’ve always had the tools, resources and programs for the technical skills,” adds Rebecca. “But the gap we are filling with CARE is some of the soft skills that give women the confidence to put themselves out there and take that next step in their career.”
Rebecca is referring to specific trainings that teach women how to navigate their careers by finding the right allies, sponsors, and mentors, and how to overcome limiting beliefs. They also address tactics for building deep relationships and having influence. And at program completion, participants will join Ellevate, a professional women’s network organization to support ongoing development.
“We have a business opportunity to have financial consultants that represent the communities and clients they serve,” explains Rebecca. “And that includes women. So, we need to invest in them.”