Women in business are creating their own path, starting businesses, raising amazing families, leading academic institutions, and breaking through the C-suite ceiling. In this issue of Know Your Network, we celebrate Women’s History month by asking Emory alumni to share about the female trailblazers that impacted their course.
Laura K Schilling 90BBA
Laura K Schilling, Esq, CPA, CSA Estate Innovations LLC
Financial Innovations, LLC
In honor of women’s history month, share how women have positively impacted your world view and/or career.
The short answer is the power of a female part-time workforce. I own a law practice, Laura K Schilling, Esq, CPA, CSA Estate Innovations LLC, that includes myself and my college friend, Rachel Tuckman (Sanford) who has worked with me since 1999. I also own a Fee-Based Financial Planning firm (www.financialinnovations.biz). Both businesses were built by hiring women who were stay-at-home moms who wanted to work part-time. I found they were efficient with their time and hard workers. It is a huge, untapped talent pool especially when I started. I still hire this way, although I now have some full-time individuals too. Being a female in a mainly male industry (financial planning) and especially a female owned firm I feel we have a huge impact on our clientele. We come from not only a business standpoint but also an emotional one. I always say a good financial plan takes into account the financial and emotional aspects because without an emotional investment the plan will not succeed.
What is your definition of success?
Success in business is when I can give someone peace of mind. I have a sculpture in my office of people climbing similar to this image. Some people need just a hand up and others need someone to help them climb to meet their goals. I love helping people meet their goals/dreams.
Is there a lasting lesson, memory or skill gained from business school that you particularly remember or credit your success to?
I loved the class where we got to write a business plan. Not only did I learn the skills to write a business plan and see what running a business entailed, it also showed me that you need to pick your team wisely or you will end up doing all of the work. Finally, I learned that if you are not passionate about what you are doing that even if you are successful business-wise, it will not make you feel good. At Goizueta, we did our business plan on an earth day catalog. Incredible idea but not my passion. We did great, but I did not love the project. Also, not everyone on the team pulled their weight and it informed my thinking on carefully selecting team partners. This exercise was a great learning experience.
What advice do you have for today’s business students?
Network! This world is about who you know and your reputation. Go out and meet people and get to know them personally. Stay in touch with them. Help others. If you help others, they will remember you. Good things do happen to good people. Remember each of your classmates will do something great, spend the time to get to know them and stay in touch. With social media, it’s even easier to stay connected.
What is a professional moment or accomplishment you are most proud of and why?
I started working for a financial planning firm in 1997 after I graduated law school in 1996. I had zero assets under management. When I left in 2003 to open my own firm, I started with $25 million under management. We are now at around $300 million under management. One of my proudest accomplishments is seeing the business grow and our list of amazing clients, mainly from referrals. Nothing is a higher compliment than a client referring us business. When I see the amazing team we’ve created and our wonderful clients I am proud. Any time we can assist a client during some type of financial change in their own personal lives, I feel proud to be allowed to help and be a part of their lives.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I never found Mr. Right, so I never married, but I did adopt, now ages 7 and 11. In addition, four members of our team are Emory grads, including financial planner, Charles Goldberg 92JD/MBA.