Q&A with Brianna Shealey

Hear from financial advisor trainee, Brianna Shealey as she navigates life as an aspiring advisor at Raymond James

We recently sat down with wealth management associate and member of BFAN Brianna Shealey to hear her story and how she’s building an impressive career in the financial services profession. Brianna has always had an aptitude for both finance and helping people – serving her well as she navigates life as an aspiring advisor at Raymond James.

Brianna Shealey

Q: What’s been the most pivotal moment in your career?

Despite only being in my 20s, I already have a pretty broad range of experience under my belt. I’ve been an auditor, a financial analyst, a resident advisor, a cashier and I’ve even run my own house painting business for a short period of time. But I feel like my professional experience hasn’t only shaped my career, it’s led me down the path where I truly believe I belong.

Looking back on my first year at Raymond James, I’d sum my experience up as eye-opening – or, in other words, I learned a lot. For the first time in my professional career, things feel right. I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing, and I’m finally comfortable in my profession. Raymond James has been phenomenal in providing me with the support, resources and mentorship I’ve needed to properly transition and grow into a role as a financial advisor.

Q: What part of being on the path to become an advisor gives you the most satisfaction?

The main fuel behind my passion is working with people to help them pursue their goals. Supporting my clients through their issues and big life moments – so that they can live their best lives – is beyond satisfying to me. Being a financial advisor is like going on a journey with someone through their life and not only watching them change and grow over time but also being a force for good within that journey.

I find that until people sit down with a financial advisor, they don’t realize how much money is connected to their life, their emotions, their family and everything they do. I like to take the time with my clients to really get to know them and understand their attitudes and behaviors toward their finances – almost like a wellness session!

I’m also motivated to change the perception – stigma, even – of the financial services profession. I worry that people still see advisors as stockbrokers who are always priming and readying themselves to upsell something. However, the reality of my day-to-day involves building long-lasting relationships that are focused on financial planning and finding financial strategies to real-world problems.

As someone participating in the Advisor Mastery Foundations program and then the Advisor Mastery Program by the end of 2023, I get a distinct opportunity to help other advisors build a network within the firm to benefit them down the line while also building my own book of business. That, and I have the chance to learn directly from other senior advisors who have been in the business for years. Advisor Mastery Foundations has taught me that you really get to make this role what you want. You can shape it around your vision and values.

Q: How are Advisor Inclusion Networks such as BFAN making a difference?

You can feel like you’re on an island sometimes. Being frank, I’m one of the few Black advisors in my office and my complex. Being able to connect with other people who look like me and have been where I am as a young advisor, and then see their success firsthand does wonders for my psyche. I’m confident others will share that experience.

To have people that are also part of the Black community to lean on is irreplaceable. It’s an unspoken, automatic connection. To have a space that cultivates that connection is beautiful. I think any person of color or ally can benefit from Advisor Inclusion Networks, like BFAN, by simply having a space to fully be themselves.

The great thing about BFAN, along with the other Advisor Inclusion Networks, is that they’ve been initiated, launched and built by Raymond James financial advisors. While the firm is fully supportive, the Advisor Inclusion Networks weren’t mandated from the top down to fill a quota. The fact that the networks are advisor-built and advisor-led helps make the communities around the firm feel genuine and representative.

Q: What accomplishment makes you most proud?

Changing careers. Before joining Raymond James, I was hesitant because I was leaving a career that was very stable and had a clear career path. But I was adamant I wanted to be happy. I wanted to feel purpose and happiness in the work I do. My biggest professional achievement has been making the move into wealth management and becoming a financial advisor.

My biggest personal accomplishment, though, is becoming self-sufficient. I got myself an apartment, I furnished it and I pay my own bills. Now, I’m “grown-grown!” And I’m really proud of myself because I’m in a position now where I can give back and support my parents here and there. Every day I get better, and every day I’m one step closer to the dream.

Q: What’s a life lesson you’ll never forget?

Self-care and balance. I learned the importance of those the hard way. When I was 18, I ran a house painting business that burnt me out. I was responsible for marketing, hiring, upselling, closing deals and so on. I was doing 80 hours a week while going to school, having a side job and still trying to be an 18-year-old. After reaching a breaking point, I realized that never again would I put my physical, mental and spiritual health through the wringer like that again. From that moment on, everything I do has a work-life balance built into it.

This piece was featured in BFAN Connection, an annual newsletter from the Black Financial Advisors Network. View the latest.

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