How much do you understand about Wall street? Meet Elisabeth Dawson, your comprehensive financial advisor, and the Life By Design Magazine cover for March 2020! Elisabeth is the founder & CEO of Copia Wealth Management and Insurance Services. Growing up, Elisabeth always knew that she wanted to help people and make a difference in the world, but little did she know she would grow up to create custom and comprehensive plans that make money work for you.
Although Elisabeth had a dream of creating an impact, she got started working in retail. Though she knew that she was helping people, it wasn’t quite what she wanted. Elisabeth enjoyed the fifteen years she worked in retail, with nearly ten of those being with the Nordstrom family. Through these formative years, Elisabeth worked in every area of retail from sales, to buying and even got the opportunity to open up the North-East region. This took Elisabeth out to New York and New Jersey to start an amazing journey.
Ultimately though, she decided to come back home to California and start her family. This journey was just getting started. When Elisabeth had her second child, she needed to find something new. At this point, she thought she might have to go back to school to learn something other than buying, so she could find a career with similar pay and also more flexibility in hours. After considering many options, Elisabeth landed with a company called Metlife, where she started as an employee. While she was at MetLife, she had the fortune of being mentored by the number one advisor in the country at the time, as well as finding a mentorship opportunity through the million-dollar round table. This was something that would end up shaping Elisabeth’s entire career, because with the correct mentors, the sky’s the limit.
It was no accident that Elisabeth found herself in the financial field. Even from a young age, math and numbers were things Elisabeth enjoyed. From as far back as fifth grade, Elisabeth remembers learning the skill of money management as well as how to balance a checkbook. This carried with her as she grew up and began to help her mother in her business by working on the financials. But having a mother from Europe also helped shape Elisabeth’s relationship with money: her mother did not talk about money. When her father wanted to retire, Elisabeth started to understand more about money.
Elisabeth was looking for a sign on what direction to take her life; she found her father trying to retire at the age of fifty-four. When her father got to retire and everything turned out okay, Elisabeth found this to be the sign she needed to jump in. At this point, she felt like she had already learned the good, the bad, and the ugly, and she decided if she was going to jump feet first, she was going to do it the right way. So Elisabeth found the right mentors and began to learn everything she could to shape the thriving business she has now.
One of the first things Elisabeth learned was how she wanted to treat her clients since she had found that so many people have a skewed relationship with money. Whether she found her clients had no relationship with money or a very negative relationship with it, she knew she had to change up the conversation. You see, Elisabeth started to realize her family wasn’t the only one that didn’t talk about money, and that many of her clients had difficulty opening up, and that simply talking about money left many feeling vulnerable. This is why Elisabeth aims to have a customer relationship that creates a culture of comfort and vision, so each person can build their financial dream as they step into her office.
Although at the time, Elisabeth found herself working in a male-dominated field, she did not fear getting out on her own and starting her own business. Elisabeth attributes her audacity to growing up around her mother who owned her own business. She had also surrounded herself with mentors who encouraged and lifted her up as she expressed her desire to own her own business.
Now Elisabeth has created a client experience that is entirely custom and encompasses the idea of comprehensive wealth management. Often when one thinks of a traditional agent or a traditional stockbroker, a very traditional plan comes to mind. Still, if traditional planning worked all the time, everyone would be wealthy. This is why Elisabeth encompasses all aspects of her customer’s lives in their financial plan. This is one significant difference between a traditional agent, and a fiduciary financial advisement firm: it is more in-depth and held to a higher standard. Elisabeth doesn’t have a one size fits all plan for finances but instead listens to her customers and builds a relationship that focuses on all aspects of a person’s life. This includes their financial and personal goals, leisure spending habits, and her each customer’s life vision.
Elisabeth’s journey was not one without struggles; as she started, Elisabeth had to fight to earn her respect. She found her thought processes were utterly different from her male counterparts; she wanted to be ahead of the curve, not late in the game. As she struggled to gain respect, Elisabeth also found herself facing personal struggles as well: she fought her way through a catastrophic divorce, and even a business divorce from a mentor and partner. Elisabeth never gave up. Being a low earner was never an option for her because she had to support her children. As she pushed through each struggle, each hurdle, she learned something new and has continued to break through each new glass ceiling of complexity. Elisabeth found she had honed in on her skills and realized just how far she had come when one of her personal mentors asked her to do his financial planning. Although he said he could do them himself, he preferred she do them because she “did a better job.” From that moment on, Elisabeth knew that she had made it.
Now, Elisabeth gives back to those around her just as her mentors have given back to her. Throughout her entire career, the best advice Elisabeth has ever learned is that no matter the amount of academics you go through, it will never be the same as being in front of someone. What made the most significant difference in Elisabeth’s journey was having brilliant mentors along the way. Although yes, Elisabeth encourages as much reading as possible, there is no comparison to having the right person in your life who will allow you to get a tailored learning experience. With any entrepreneurs looking to make an impact in the financial field, Elisabeth would one hundred percent recommend that you find a mentor who will personally teach you what you need to know. When Elisabeth started, she found a mentor who allowed her to help handle all of his planning, which allowed her to practice customer service and sit in on meetings. This hands-on experience gave her such a competitive edge to make a difference in so many lives.
The other piece of advice Elisabeth gives comes from her definition of consistency. Since the March magazine issue’s theme is consistency, we got a unique insight into Elisabeth’s office and work ethic when we asked, “What does consistency mean to you?” Elisabeth does not run her office on her own, a well-oiled machine of an office backs her up, and that is what consistency means to her. Having the correct systems, processes, and team working alongside you can give you the edge it takes to become successful.
Elisabeth finds that her team not only helps the business stay on track but also gives her the opportunity to step away and still have a well-oiled machine running. This helps build the kind of consistency where Elisabeth can come in everyday with a positive attitude. The old adage rings true: if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. Another takeaway from Elisabeth’s wisdom is to build your systems, processes, and team to create consistency in your life and business.
Elisabeth finds that she may not be able to change the economics of the world, but she can change the economics of your world, and that is why Life By Design is honored to have Elisabeth Dawson as our March 2020 Cover. With so much amazing advice and insight into the world of finances, Elisabeth has wowed the Life By Design staff with her fantastic interview! Don’t forget to check out the full interview on Life By Design’s video podcast.
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