Last name: Delynn Alexandre
Solidify: Mutual of the North-West
Location: Durham, North Carolina
AT M: $ 250 million
Forbes Rankings: The best American women counselors
Background: Alexander, 52, began his three-decade career at Northwestern Mutual as an intern, but his exposure to financial services came even earlier as the daughter of a financial advisor. At a young age, she would help with filing and the “big job” at her mother’s office. “
Competitive advantage: “Our competitive advantage comes from being a women-led organization that works with women at the top of their game,” boasts Alexander.
The team that Alexander co-founded, Aria Financial Services, is predominantly female with six of the nine members of his team as well as her and her co-founder being women.
Best advice: The best advice Alexander has ever received is to talk less and listen more. She says this has been helpful when meeting with clients and prospects as it allows them to go to the next chapter in their story and feel safe to speak honestly as she is there to listen to them.
The biggest challenge: Hiring proved difficult for Alexander and his team. As they grow and seek to develop, it can be difficult to find the right people for internal and external roles.
“We want to grow and we believe our practice can reach more people, but to do that we need more people to provide a great experience and introduce Aria Financial Services to a new group of people,” she says.
Mentors: As a second generation counselor, Alexander says his first and longest-serving mentor is her mother, who has been successful not only as a counselor, but also as a single mother.
“She was the one I admired and relied on for my support and motivation,” says Alexander. “Seeing his work ethic continues to be inspiring. “
She also mentions her business partner and co-founder of Aria Financial Services, Reena Bland. “We came together because we motivate and support each other both professionally and personally,” she adds.
Lessons learned: Every day is a lesson, according to Alexander, citing the rapid pace of change in wealth management. Working closely with her clients, she has experienced births, deaths, marriages and divorces which have all brought new wisdom. She says it can be an attractive selling point for clients that her team has 30 years of experience under their belt.
Biggest customer misconception: Alexander finds that clients are not good at discerning the different types of advisors available to them, from those who excel at investment management to insurance planning specialists to comprehensive financial advisors.
“As a woman in this industry, working specifically with other women, we try to simplify the complex,” says Alexander. “If we can tie all of their financial data together and summarize it in one or two pieces of paper, it can turn a conversation they weren’t thrilled to have into an inspiring conversation. “
Investment outlook: Coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are many reasons to change financial plans, explains Alexander. From fresh perspectives on risk to an economic boom and potential tax changes looming, Alexander believes that after the pandemic there will be a lot to reassess.
What keeps you from sleeping at night: Alexandre is kept awake at night, wanting to set a good example for his children. As a business owner, she also feels responsible to customers and employees.
“It keeps me awake at night trying to be a mother to everyone, to all the 2,000 clients we have, and to be a good steward of the $ 300 million in assets we manage,” she adds.
Favorite Book / Movie: Recently, she read the book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear. She also watched the Disney + live recording of the Broadway show “Hamilton” and now finds herself regularly listening to the soundtrack. She is inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of the Founding Fathers, as she puts it.