How do you spot a leader? Often, it’s the person who doesn’t see problem—instead, they see opportunities. That was the case for Loreen Gilbert when she hit a ceiling at her corporate investment job in 1997. While many might react with defeat, she embraced it as an opportunity to launch her own business, WealthWise Financial Services, and has since grown to be a leader for women business owners around the nation.
Based in Orange County, California, WealthWise Financial Services is made up of six wealth management professionals (and one office dog) and offers securities and investment advisory services to individuals and businesses. But growing her business over the years hasn’t always been easy, especially in a male-dominated industry where less than 10 percent of financial advisors are women. “I knew I would have to work harder and there were times when (being a woman) has certainly been a challenge,” Loreen says. . “A woman has to be twice as good as her male counterpart in this industry. Yet, I believe in being excellent at what I do; so in reality, it has been to my advantage.”
To further empower herself as a leader, Loreen finds tremendous support from NAWBO. A member of the National Board of Directors, past President of the Orange County chapter and past NAWBO California board member, she credits NAWBO for helping her to continue to grow. “One of the best things that NAWBO has done for me is make me more confident as a businesswoman,” she says. “Being a minority in my industry, at times I felt out of place and yet at NAWBO I met other women business owners who were very supportive of each other—I felt that I was around like-minded people. It helped me to increase my confidence as a business owner and I thought, ‘I can do this; we can encourage each other to grow our businesses!’”
That sense of camaraderie at NAWBO has also connected Loreen with many of her business coaches—something she believes has contributed to her exponential business growth. “I think it is important to have someone outside looking into my business helping me figure things out. It’s been invaluable,” she says. “Now I cannot imagine running my business without a business coach or a business peer group. It’s good to be able to talk about the business with other professionals. We get so busy in the day-to-day that it can be hard to step back and work on the business.”
After seeing the impact that it can make on a business owner, Loreen also extends her expertise as a mentor to other women whenever possible. She has participated in the NAWBO-OC mentoring program and she is currently a mentor through a non-profit organization. She also enjoys giving back to her community through various philanthropic organizations, including HOPE International, The Women’s Philanthropy Fund, Opportunity International, Women Helping Women, and Impact Giving, among others.
As she looks ahead, Loreen is focused on continuing to grow her firm and while so far her growth has been organic, she is now focused on growth through acquisitions. “The average age of the financial advisor is around 60 years old and this provides an opportunity for acquiring other practices,” she points out. She is also excited to serve as a leader with NAWBO to support women business owners across the nation. “I am very excited to be a part of the NAWBO National Executive Board and be instrumental in developing our strategy,” she says. “Everyone on the Board is there to be a voice for women business owners and to help NAWBO chapters in their own growth.” As a seasoned entrepreneur, she also wants to encourage women in achieving their dreams. “Small business owners want to be successful and for a lot of women, reaching the million-dollar revenue mark is a huge goal,” she adds. “It’s important to reach for that goal—and every woman can attain it. I want women to be encouraged that it can be done.”
Loreen M. Gilbert is a Registered Representative with and Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. For more information about WealthWise Financial Services, please visit www.wealthwisefinancial.com.