Heather Hunt Ruddy

Today we are diving into how the Head of Client Growth & Experience at Wells Fargo Advisors; Heather Hunt-Ruddy has changed the game in an industry that once had a “sink or swim” mentality, with very high failure rates. 

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
Heather, you are dedicated to changing the future for women. It’s your passion to encourage more women to enter a male dominant field, the wealth brokerage industry. How did this passion begin?

HEATHER HUNT-RUDDY A:
I stumbled into the financial services industry in college by luckily answering the right ad in the school newspaper. When I began my career, women were generally offered positions of support—rather than leadership.

At the time, I was enrolled in college full-time and worked two jobs to support myself.  When I graduated, I asked for a more substantial role with the firm I worked but was told in so many words that I needed to be satisfied with a support role.  Frankly, it angered me because I did not work that hard through college—only to be blocked by someone else’s interpretation of my future.

I quit that job and found a better one and …then a better one after that…and so on. However, in those days, there was almost no one who looked like me in a leadership role.   I vowed to change that one day and I’m pleased to say that empowering women and expanding diversity in the workplace is one of the things I love most about my current role at Wells Fargo Advisors. There has been a great deal of progress in our industry yet we still have a long way to go.

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
Heather, you have created major waves in your current position at Wells Fargo Advisors. You are a game-changer in an industry that once had a “sink or swim” mentality with very high failure rates. You believe it’s critical to help change the demographics of WFA’s current team of managers so other women and diverse team members can aspire to leadership roles, as well. Tell us a little more about WFA’s Next Generation Talent program?

HEATHER HUNT-RUDDY A:
Since its start, Wells Fargo Advisors’ Next Generation Talent program has brought new career opportunities to more than 1,800 team members, enhancing the Wells Fargo Advisors team with increased diversity in age, sexual orientation, gender and ethnicity. While we don’t share our advisor retention rate externally, our research indicates that our numbers are far outpacing the industry and changing the firm’s own demographics.

The next generation of clients has to have the next generation of financial advisors they can relate to and trust for investment advice. Our research also suggests our Next Generation Talent program offerings give job candidates the most options in the industry to become a financial advisor, and are among the few specifically focused on diverse hires. Candidates include military veterans, students at historically black colleges and universities, parents re-entering the workforce and Wells Fargo Advisors team members.

The need for new talent is clear. About 1/3, or 32,000, are likely to be retiring in the next 10 years, across the industry.  Our Next Generation Talent program is helping us address that by bringing in new talent.

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
What is the driving force behind your mission, Heather?

HEATHER HUNT-RUDDY A:
The driving force behind my mission is a strong belief that having a diverse leadership group focusing on women, people of color, LGBTQ, military veterans for example, makes a workplace more inviting and quite frankly, is business-savvy.  It also makes the workplace a lot more engaging and fun.

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
How important is it for you to work according to your values?

HEATHER HUNT-RUDDY A:
Working according to my values is imperative to my happiness and my continued affiliation with any company.  Luckily, I get to work with an incredibly supportive and empowered group of men and women who believe that we can not only help to effect change in our business, but even our society as a whole.

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
Heather, you actively mentor between 5-10 women at any given time. You give 50 presentations annually. You are a dedicated wife and mother of 3, whilst being a chair at endless committees and non-profit organisations. What’re the secrets to keeping everything going?

HEATHER HUNT-RUDDY A:
For me, the secret to keeping everything going is that I am incredibly fortunate to have a husband who is a stay-at-home parent to our family.  He keeps the home team organized while I keep the work team organized and we are an amazing team together.

If you don’t find the right spouse/partner then women need to do themselves the favor of relying on a network of friends or family or hiring good help.  Too many women try to do it all and end up burning out.  I believe that it’s perfectly fine to buy store-bought cookies for the school bake sale or to hire a housekeeper, nanny etc.  Anyone who tries to make you feel bad about those choices is not an opinion you need to worry about.

“Heather has earned a wealth of awards and honors, but she feels most pride in helping others, particularly woman achieve success and happiness in their careers”

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
Heather, you are a beautiful person and are an inspiration to women. You give back to your community in so many ways. Tell us more about this.

HEATHER HUNT-RUDDY A:
I wholeheartedly believe in the adage, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.”

I have been blessed and lucky beyond belief in my life and so I give back because I want others to feel as great as I do.  Helping women, helping children, helping the arts and even helping the people I work with is entirely ‘selfish’ for me:  It makes me feel great!

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
Heather, throughout your 29-year journey, what has been your biggest learning curve? 

HEATHER HUNT-RUDDY A:
My biggest learning curve is to quit worrying about what other people think of me and focus on being the best, most authentic me that I can be—and I’ve discovered that the rest falls into place!  This realization came to me in my 40’s yet I wish it had come earlier.

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?

HEATHER HUNT-RUDDY A:
The best advice I have ever been given was to trust in myself first and foremost and to take some risks and lots of chances!

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
You feel most pride when helping women achieve success and happiness in their careers. What advice would you give to the BossBabe who has a dream but doesn’t know where to begin?

HEATHER HUNT-RUDDY A:
My advice to the BossBabe Dreamer is this:  Surround yourself with people who will support and love you.  Get organized—discard clutter that slows you down, even if people are your “clutter.”  Hire the right help. And finally, don’t be afraid for even one moment to forget that you are powerful beyond your wildest dreams. You’ve got this!!

“don’t be afraid for even one moment to forget you are powerful beyond your wildest dreams”

Heather, it’s been an honor for me to share your story. Thank you so much for being part of our Women Like You series.

Previous article3 Months to Christmas: 3 Steps to Still Reach your Goals 2019
Next articleHacking Your Own Flow State To Increase Your Productivity, Creativity, and Performance with Hollywood screenwriter Jessica Bendinger
👩🏻‍💻Sarah Jane Nyman dedicates her life to showing women who need to work from home how to authentically showcase a service online.                                                                                                                                             .✨Sarah Jane's mission is to create equality for those who are driven by a mission to serve the world but NEED total freedom and have self-limiting beliefs, are overwhelmed and feel fear around putting themselves out there.                                                                                                                                          .✨Sarah Jane says sensitive, introverted & anxious souls are often the ones in this situation, yet the strengths they could bring to the world could change lives.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          .💕Sarah Jane believes love is the answer. She gives clarity to those she serves by guiding them through how to take a vision from their mind and showcase it online, reaching ideal clients around the clock; leading the way to a life they dream of; serving the world with total freedom.                                                                                                                                          .✨Join Sarah Jane's community of Babes Born To Serve on Instagram: @sarahjanenyman                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     .✨WORK FROM HOME. HAVE TOTAL FREEDOM. SERVE THE WORLD.                                                                                                            

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here