The Power of Intentional Community

I officially started in the financial services industry in May of 2022 when I joined my father’s firm, Premier Planning Group. As a second-generation financial professional, my journey to this career has been deeply rooted in community. I grew up listening to my dad talk about his work at the kitchen table and I met his partners and clients at conferences, social events and throughout my local community. I witnessed the support of his colleagues in the business. As I considered the possibility of financial services as a career, I learned from an early age that this profession is about people—the people you help, the people who help you, and the power of community.

That power of community—and, specifically, of intentionally building a strong community—has never been more valuable now that I’m a young financial professional launching my career.  I am amazed at the opportunities this role provides to reach out and make real connections. In addition to working with some of the younger family members of my dad’s clients, I’m also responsible for creating my own book of business. I find incredible satisfaction from forming a solid, meaningful connection with people who are at the beginning of their journey, as I help them make sound financial decisions that will impact their future. I’m honored to include those clients as part of my community—but they’re not the only part.

Financial Planning is a male-dominated industry, and I am the first female advisor at my dad’s firm—the first, but definitely not the last. I work exclusively with other male advisors in the office, but I'm always looking to surround myself with women financial professionals. I love hearing about their experience, reflecting on their ideas, and seeing the things they have done to thrive. So, when Toni Gonzales, Immediate Past President of WIFS and Divisional Vice President at Ameritas, visited our office and started talking about the organization of Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS), I was immediately intrigued. She told me WIFS was hosting a conference in October. I got excited and mentioned I’d like to attend. Without hesitation, she walked into my office, helped me out, and waited while I signed up on the spot. In addition, I became a member of AWE, Ameritas Women Elevated, and it has provided me with an opportunity to expand my network of professional women helping other women.

I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first WIFS conference, but I had a great introduction when I met three women at the airport on the way to the shuttle—all of whom were attending WIFS—and they were so welcoming and enthusiastic. The conference itself was extraordinary. Toni was there, of course, and it was great to see a friendly face and to reconnect. It made me want to forge new relationships with other women who share my passion for helping people. Seeing women who have worked ten—twenty—even thirty years in the business and witnessing their success, the number of people they have helped, was really inspiring to me. I began to understand my potential for helping people in my community.  It was inspiring to witness the group of women there to encourage each other and celebrate each other’s successes.

The WIFS conference offered so much practical information—discussions on business, client relationship strategy, the changing market and technology tools available—but by far the biggest win of WIFS for me was the opportunity to build relationships with women that I know will last over time. Some of those same women I met at the airport came up to me as I was leaving the conference and encouraged me to come back next year…and I absolutely will. I’m looking forward to a long relationship with WIFS and the opportunities this membership will provide. I walked out of the conference motivated to make a difference.

That power of developing community is something I wanted to continue when I came back home.  I have begun starting to make connections with women who are members of the regional chapter in Pennsylvania (there are 25 WIFS regional chapters). I fully expect my national conference experience will be even more powerful next year because of the relationships I build over the next several months at the chapter level.

I’m looking forward to a long and fascinating career in the financial services industry. I cannot foresee everything I’ll experience or learn along the way—the highs and lows and everything in between. But I am grateful to have found groups like WIFS and AWE that were created to help women financial advisors not only thrive, but also to come together in celebration and support. It is exactly the kind of intentional community I have been seeking, and I know we will carry each other far.   

Laura Fazzini
Greater Pennsylvania Chapter

Originally published on WIFS website February 7, 2024

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