Rianka Dorsainvil had not planned to become a financial planner. She is proof that exposure to personal finance can generate passion for the subject and lead to a purposeful career. As one of many women we’ve interviewed, Rianka emphasizes the positives of financial planning both for clients and for the women who choose this profession. She is a strong proponent of the industry’s initiatives to bring more women into financial planning and underlines the importance of visible role models as one of the routes to achieving this.
Promoting the benefits of financial education as a foundation for well-being, Rianka encourages women to view wealth creation as a road to financial freedom in whatever flavor each woman prefers.
What initially drew you to this profession?
I took an optional course in personal finance at Virginia Tech and that led me into the financial planning profession. From there, I eventually went through the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) board-registered program at Virginia Tech and started my career. Prior to this program, I had no idea this profession existed. I was not exposed to this world as my parents or family members did not have a financial advisor nor did we talk about money.
The principles I was taught in class, and then experienced personally, catalyzed my passion to see that my generation, and future generations, receive personal finance education. The personal finance information I have learned over the years have been truly invaluable and I want to see other families thrive.
How do you approach financial planning and why?
I approach financial planning with a strong emphasis on financial education. My goal is for clients to leave our meetings feeling encouraged and empowered. I provide individuals and families with the tools to make informed financial decisions that lead to financial well-being.
Why do you think there are so few women in this profession and what needs to happen for this to change?
This profession is great for women! However, lack of awareness and familiarity with the profession are major reasons why there are so few women in this profession.
There is a misperception that financial planning only involves big complicated math problems and investments, which is far from the truth. Financial planning is about relationship building, communication and giving holistic advice. Women bring an organic, and nurturing, approach to financial planning that lays the foundations for long standing relationships and trust with clients.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
I wanted to be a doctor when I was a child. My grandmother was a nurse and I saw the impact she made on the lives of others. Looking up to my her as a child, I wanted to be just like her.
How can we encourage more women to get excited about building wealth?
By helping them envision the end result of what wealth can create – financial freedom.
Financial freedom can be interpreted differently by each woman. One can define financial freedom as having enough money saved to leave their current job and start a path in a new career or having the financial capacity of being able to do what they are truly passionate about which may be in a position that does not traditionally earn a lot of money. However you personally define financial freedom, find the vision that will keep you anchored and steadfast in your goal of achieving financial freedom so that you can live a life filled with passion and purpose.
Who are your female role models in the finance world?
There are a lot of phenomenal women in the finance world however, my role models are Dr. Ruth Lytton, Lazetta Rainey Braxton, Elizabeth Jetton and Eleanor Blayney. Each of these dynamic women are blazing trails and helping to shape the financial planning profession. They have played a significant role in my personal and professional development and I am very grateful that they are part of my life.
If you could change one thing about the finance world, what would it be?
The first step before taking any action is awareness and the CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative (WIN) is helping our voices to be heard. The profession has started positive dialogue about diversity and inclusion for women and WIN has uncovered the specific issues women are facing. Solutions are being offered such as increasing the visibility of women role models and embracing the retention of women through mentorship programs.
We need to continue down the path of embracing diversity. Diverse group of people with diverse experiences and intellect will stimulate innovation and move our profession forward.
Do you have a favorite book, and why?
I have two favorite books: “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg and “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brené Brown.
I have read both books more than once and they have each encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone, personally and professionally. As mentioned above, a major component of financial planning is building relationships and, to do this, both sides have to be vulnerable which Brené Brown’s book goes into great detail. “Lean In” has encouraged courageous conversations amongst my peers to “lean in” and say yes we are a minority as women in this profession but we belong to sit at the table too.
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