CFP BOARD - Women's Initiative - Increasing the Number of Women CFP® Professionals

March 2015

Nancy Kistner

Eleanor Blayney, CFP®

From CFP Board's Consumer Advocate

March is Women’s History Month!

As CFP Board celebrates women’s history this month, we are also committed to changing it. For too long, the percentage of CFP® professionals who are women has been below 25 percent. You can be a change maker this month by helping to make financial planning a welcoming and supportive career for women. Keep reading for some ideas on taking action.


“#Disrupt the default”


Change begins when we speak up to support it. Catalyst – the nonprofit organization focused on the professional advancement of women – has created a website where you can take a pledge to change the status quo that puts women behind men in the workplace.

Click here to find suggested “scripts” for improving the status of women in the workplace. One great example: “When someone says, ‘I know she’s got a lot on her plate at the moment – does she have the bandwidth to take this on?’ promise you’ll say, 'Let’s ask her.'” You’ll also find a list of the social media platforms where like-minded disrupters are congregating.


Getting the Majority to Support the Minority

Workplace gender issues are not just a women’s issue. Men, too, stand to benefit from gender diversity at work. What’s important is that they be engaged in the change, as opposed to being targets.

An article published by The Glass Hammer – an online community for women executives in financial services, law and business – provides five strategies for getting your male colleagues to engage in efforts to promote gender diversity.

Some of the recommendations may surprise you. One involves understanding that many men are simply unaware of gender issues. Education is therefore called for, rather than confrontation. Another perhaps counter-intuitive idea involves getting a white male executive to be the diversity “captain” in your workplace. This sends the message that the “majority supports the minority” and shifts the discussion from inequality to inclusion.


No Interruptions Allowed!


Recently in The New York Times, Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, and co-author Adam Grant, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, published an article entitled “Speaking While Female,” discussing the fact that men and women get very different responses when they speak in meetings. In short, women who speak up are often interrupted, and their contributions discounted. Men, by contrast, are regarded positively when they take the floor. This positive regard goes up the more they speak.

Sandberg and Grant marshal considerable evidence supporting this professional asymmetry, and suggest this explains why women choose to be silent in meetings. The article also considers some possible counter strategies you or your firm may like to consider, such as “innovation tournaments” where employees can submit their ideas anonymously for consideration, or “no interruption rules” as part of the rules of order for all meetings. Last but not least, getting more women in leadership positions is ultimately the most effective solution.



Update on the WIN Advocates Program


Peggy Doviak, CFP®, speaks with two University of Oklahoma students about
opportunities in the financial planning profession on March 12.

Would you believe that there are now 119 CFP® professionals – women and men – who have become WIN Advocates, willing to get the word out about the need for more women professionals in our profession? We’ve been busy at CFP Board enrolling these volunteers and sending them the WIN toolkit to help them in their advocacy efforts. Many have taken the first step and have presented to audiences of women and girls. In this newsletter we want to give a shout out to those WIN Advocates who have started the ball rolling.

Thanks to the following WIN Advocates:

  • JJ Burns, CFP®, who spoke at the Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University on the status of women in financial planning on December 10. He also spoke at Northport High School in New York on January 8 to seniors who are part of the Academy of Finance Financial Planning 101 class and emphasized the opportunities for women in the financial planning profession.
  • John Hauserman, CFP®, who spoke to the students at Patapsco Middle School in Ellicott City, MD about financial planning careers on January 23. John shared with us the thank-you notes he received after the event and we were gratified to see the appreciation expressed by the girl students for helping them think about their future careers.
  • Amy Wiitala, CFP®, who spoke about careers in financial planning to an audience of 100 juniors and seniors at Bishop Watterson High School in Louisville, KY on February 27.
  • Peggy Doviak, CFP®, who spoke to young women about opportunities in the financial planning profession at a career fair organized by Rotaract, the college chapter of the Rotary, at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK on March 12.
  • Tanya Steinhofer CFP®, who presented on personal finance topics and careers in financial planning to 50 women at the Women in Leadership conference at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley on March 14.

If you are a CFP® professional interested in becoming a WIN Advocate, go to for information and everything you’ll need to enroll.

If you are already a WIN Advocate and have taken those first steps to spread the word about the need for more women CFP® professionals, please let us know. You can email us at or complete the feedback form in your toolkit to tell us about your experience.







The mission of CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative (WIN) is to identify why relatively few women choose to become part of the financial planning profession, to make recommendations for encouraging and supporting women to pursue careers in financial planning, and to undertake efforts and campaigns to address the “feminine famine” in financial planning.


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