From leaving home at 13 to advising ultra-high net worth clients as a Private Wealth Advisor.
by Angela, Wealth Management, New York
05 Mar 2017
Angela is an experienced Private Wealth Advisor (PWA) in Private Wealth Management based in New York. Without any natural network or family in the US, she has translated her life experiences into a career focusing on ultra-high net worth clients.
"When I entered the industry, I was ready to be anything to anybody and what I found is that, ultimately, nothing came of those relationships," states Angela. "If you're a nerd, be a nerd; if you have a whacky sense of humor, crack jokes." It was this outlook that helped Angela build and grow her own network. "I'm black, I worked in the apparel industry in Germany, and I went to Cornell. Those were the three pillars I focused on."
Born in Zambia, Angela left home at 13 – lucky to have access to a decent education in Zimbabwe. She would go on to earn her M.A. in linguistics at the University of Konstanz in Germany, having first had to learn the language six months prior, and eventually landed a sales job at a global sports apparel company based there.
After her time in Germany, Angela enrolled in the MBA program at Cornell. When she eventually became a PWA at UBS, she returned to the apparel community by traveling and attending large tradeshows. "I wore comfortable shoes and worked the floor looking to build a network. People remembered me and knew I was familiar with their business. They were willing to listen," remembers Angela. She also tapped into the Cornell network by attending every single alumni event in the area and volunteering within the Cornell community.
To her surprise, breaking into the black community was the most difficult. "While I'm black, the sub-networks are so diverse and quite difficult to penetrate." Initially, she did not intend to focus on celebrities, music or sports, but the black entertainment community ultimately emerged as the most responsive. "I went to conferences in Cancun and would read beforehand who would be at each conference and studied their backgrounds. If I could walk away meeting three good people, then it was worthwhile. It was the hardest pillar to build, but when it hit, it really hit." Angela currently has notable clients in the music industry.
To this day, there are times Angela is still discouraged. "It is a very humbling industry. What we do is hard. It looks a lot more glamorous from the outside, but there's a lot of competition and markets do what markets will do, you have no control of that."
Angela was a sole-producer for a majority of her career. Now a partner, Angela strongly advises emerging female and black female Financial Advisors to team early.
Angela in her own words
"I'm a client advisor, a mom and a spouse; I'm an adventure traveler, a runner and a philanthropist. I'm all those people all the time and I don’t separate them out."