NAPFA Women to Know 2024

The NAPFA Women’s Initiative recently surveyed members of our community to gain valuable insight into their experiences as women in the financial planning profession. As part of this survey, we asked participants to provide us with the name of a female NAPFA advisor who they believed deserved to be recognized for their professional accomplishments and commitment to promoting women within the profession. We are excited to recognize these incredible NAPFA members as part of our NAPFA Women to Know program.

Karen Caplan Altfest, Ph.D., CFP®

Altfest Personal Wealth Management, Principal Advisor and Executive Vice President

Karen Caplan Altfest, Ph.D., CFP®, is a Principal Advisor and Executive Vice President of Altfest Personal Wealth Management. She helps many of the firm’s clients on a variety of investment and financial planning issues and specializes in helping women clients and widows. Karen’s Financially Savvy Woman® programs, including the Women’s Financial $pa®, are popular with clients. Her focus is to educate and empower women.

Karen is frequently a speaker on the subject of women and money and conducts educational seminars for recent widows and people looking to retire. In 2017, Karen’s article, “Life After Loss: 6 Smart Steps for Coping with Widowhood,” was published by the American Association of Individual Investors Journal. Karen was also featured in “Say What? A Dying Man Says ‘Don’t Worry’ About His Wife” on in 2016. She is a frequent contributor to

Karen is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, holds BA and MA degrees from Hunter College, and holds the CFP® designation. Karen received her Ph.D. in history from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).

She was the Co-Director of the Financial Planning and Investments Program at The New School in New York City and the Coordinator of the Financial Planning program, a professional program for financial planners, which she originated at Pace University in White Plains, N.Y.

Patricia M. Conway, CFP®

Conway Financial Group, LLC,

Financial Advisor, CFO, 65% owner

Early in my career, I worked with two firms that helped cultivate the direction of my career into financial planning. A defining moment that shaped my motivation, was my boss’s belief, that clients would not want to work with a woman advisor. Given my personality, I finished my MBA and in 1995 moved to St. Louis.

I teamed up with a NAPFA woman advisor in 2001, to learn the business and share office space and established CFG. The firm has grown tremendously, not only in the number of clients we serve but also in revenue growth. Our team has transformed after much trials and tribulations, and now I am joined with a fellow advisor/partner and our client administrator, in servicing our clients.

It has been exciting to build a succession plan from within, identify the “must haves” in developing a Fee-Only planning practice, to build client relationships based on trust, with purpose, love and passion. I have been very fortunate to have a few mentors throughout my career, that have provided inspiration and continued strength to forge ahead. I look forward to meeting new challenges, continue to promote women in our profession and promote a positive outlook in life!

Cheryl Costa

Woodside Wealth Management, Founder

Cheryl is the Founder & Principal of Woodside Wealth Management LLC. She began her career in financial planning and investment management in the late ‘90s after graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and working as an information security engineer for the MITRE Corporation. She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.

Cheryl has over two decades of experience advising clients in all areas of wealth management and her specialty is helping retirees and almost-retirees develop a financial plan that assures that income is available for a retirement that may span multiple decades. As a proud WPI grad, Cheryl also enjoys working with clients in the tech and pharmaceutical industries and she has a niche working with women in those industries.

Cheryl served on NAPFA’s Northeast Region Board from 2005 through 2010 and she served on NAPFA’s National Board from 2012 through 2015.

She is also very active with the CFP® Board and served as a CFP® Board Ambassador From 2015 through 2023. In addition, she served as a member of the CFP® Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (DEC) from 2014 through 2018 and 2000 through 2022.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

This is a fabulous profession for women! When I made a career change into this field, I had 3 kids under the age of 5 and was able to start in a part time position. I gradually transitioned to full time employment as the kids got older and sometimes I even brough them into the office with me. They made their first deposits to their Roth IRAs by prepping and mailing our company newsletters!

Jen Dawson

Hemington Wealth Management, Owner and Managing Director

Jen Dawson, CFP® is a Senior Wealth Advisor, Managing Director, and Owner of Hemington Wealth Management, a boutique financial planning and investment management firm that was founded by and for successful women. She is a 9-time winner of the 5-Star Wealth Manager award, a 2024 Forbes Top Women Wealth Advisor in Illinois, and an impactful leader of NAPFA’s Women’s Initiative. Jen’s favorite compliment she’s ever received is that she is like the “Ted Lasso of Financial Planning” – her approach creates space and vulnerability for conversations about what’s most important in life and recognizes the importance of a holistic approach to financial well-being. Jen is also a wholehearted champion of women and girls. She is dedicated to empowering the women in her life through financial education, strategic networking, and by creating space for new perspectives and discussions about women’s issues. She hosts regular women’s networking events in Chicago and is a frequent speaker and writer about women of wealth and personal finance. Her work as a volunteer leader and co-founder of the mentorship program of NAPFA's Women's Initiative (and beyond!) has been integral in supporting, retaining, and advancing fabulous women in the financial planning profession.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

I feel incredibly lucky to make an impactful difference in the lives of my clients each day AND to get the opportunity to learn from them through very meaningful, long-term relationships. I work with such extraordinary people leading successful and inspiring lives and I get to help reduce stress and handle the minutiae in an area of life that can often otherwise be a source of great anxiety - it's so rewarding!

Holly Donaldson

Holly Donaldson Financial Planning, LLC, Founder

Before starting an advice-only practice in 2006, Holly spent 20 years in private wealth management, where she served as a Senior Vice President. During her banking career, she was featured in Inc. magazine as a “Banker You’ll Love.”

Holly markets her practice through content with a behavioral economics focus. Her monthly e-letter, “View from the Porch,” received Constant Contact’s All-Star award over 10 years running. Her book, The Mindful Money Mentality: How To Find Balance in Your Financial Future, was called “..a great addition to an advisor’s shelf, as well as a hugely valuable book for clients who are at a personal and financial crossroads” by NAPFA Advisor.

She has enjoyed serving NAPFA in roles including Leadership Development Committee Chair and South Region Board Chair. Currently she co-leads the West Florida Local Group.

Holly has been a CFP® certificant since 2004 and a NAPFA-Registered member since 2007. She holds 2 master’s degrees - an MBA and an M.A. in Economics - from the University of South Florida. She received her B.A. in Economics from Davidson College.

A Florida native, Holly enjoys Gulf of Mexico beaches, the Rocky Mountains, and birding with her husband, Ken. She has no kids, no pets, and all plants entrusted to her care have passed on.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

This profession is a wonderful career for smart women to combine technical and communication skills in a way where they can feel like they make a direct impact on individuals. It provides a number of different paths to success, from becoming a leader in a large firm to running a solo practice. You can find opportunities across the spectrum between working in person all the time to 100% remote.

Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA®, CES™

Francis Financial, Inc., President and CEO

Stacy is the President and CEO of Francis Financial, a fee-only boutique wealth management and financial planning firm dedicated to providing ongoing comprehensive advice for women in transition such as divorce or widowhood.

She is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®), and Certified Estate and Trust Specialist (CES™) with over 20 years of experience in the financial industry.

Stacy is also the founder of Savvy Ladies®. Founded in 2003, Savvy Ladies Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that brings financial education to women.

Savvy Ladies has helped over 25,000 women of varied backgrounds identify their goals, make proactive financial choices, and lead more rewarding lives through our unique programming.

Savvy Ladies’ free financial education programs and Helpline help women build the knowledge and confidence they need to thrive and develop a financially stable future. Stac believes that financial knowledge is power and helps make families stronger, communities better, and ultimately change society.

In addition, Stacy is the host of the Financially Ever After podcast, and the author of the white paper, Unveiling the Unspoken Truth: The Financial Challenges Women Face During and After Divorce and Financial Help for Widows - A Complete Resource Guide.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

As a financial advisor, I've found immense fulfillment in the ability to impact the lives of countless women. Through personalized guidance and support, you can help them gain control over their finances, achieve independence, and bridge the gender wealth gap. Witnessing the transformation as our female clients become more confident and knowledgeable about managing their money is incredibly rewarding.

One of the most gratifying aspects of my profession is the opportunity to educate and advocate for financial literacy, especially for women in need. We work with thousands of vulnerable women probono through Savvy Ladies each year. By equipping women with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions, we are helping to break down barriers that prevent women from achieving financial success and security.

Moreover, the flexibility of being a financial advisor has allowed me to strike a balance between my career and personal life. Whether attending my children's events or being there for my partner, I've prioritized my family and career without sacrificing either. As long as I get my work done for clients, it does not matter what day and time I do this.

It is rare to find a financial advisory firm almost solely comprised of female financial professionals. Women are attracted to Francis Financial for the same reasons that I love working here. I am committed to creating a work environment prioritizing support, empowerment, and work-life balance for my team because this was not present for me when I started in the profession. Offering more flexibility is one of the many reasons why we have a remote option for employees. This is especially helpful for advisors who have children, other commitments or want to live outside a large metropolitan city. On a personal level, the remote flexibility allows me to take off when my children have vacations and work from anywhere in the world that I desire.

Ultimately, being a financial advisor isn't just a job—it's a calling to make a positive difference in the lives of others while enjoying the flexibility to lead a fulfilling personal life. I believe that there is no other better profession for women.

Liz Gillette

Curio Wealth, Founder & Senior Financial Advisor

As a Founder and Senior Financial Advisor at Curio Wealth, I partner with individuals and dual-career couples in their 30s and 40s, guiding them toward wise financial decisions. Most of my clients are navigating the intricate dance of work, life and caregiving responsibilities.

With over 15 years of professional experience, I use my talents of listening and executing (as well as encouraging and influencing others) to steer clients towards success. I lead with a curious mindset to understand my clients’ goals and lay out a roadmap to fulfill them. When working with couples, I ensure *both* partners have their voices heard and I'm a strong advocate for shared responsibilities.

Looking ahead, my focus is on growing Curio Wealth while maintaining our unique company culture, where clients are at the forefront of every decision. At our core we believe the client is the expert on themselves, and our role is to guide them in transforming their financial future.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

The financial advising profession offers flexibility, an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships, and a healthy income. It’s a great profession for women to benefit from their own financial expertise - particularly since we battle lower wages, longer life expectancy, and often more unpaid leave from work.

Bridget Venus Grimes, CFP®

WealthChoice, President

Co-Founder of Equita Financial Network

Bridget Grimes is President of WealthChoice, a wealth management firm for women executives, and Co-founder of the SEC registered investment advisor Equita Financial Network, a community of women-led financial planning firms. She is also a proud CFP ® Board Ambassador. Bridget believes in empowering women to take confident steps toward a better life. She authored the best-selling book Corner Office Choices: The Executive Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom and has written countless articles for major US media channels.

Her commitment to women’s financial education extends not only to women professionals but also to fellow financial planners. She has spoken at major industry conferences and co-hosted the Financial Planning Association’s Women’s Knowledge Circle. Bridget splits her time between Arizona and California and enjoys boating, golf, entertaining, anything French and, most of all, cooking. She holds a B.A in German language and literature and a minor in Art History from Mount Holyoke College.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

Why would you recommend this profession to other women? This is a terrific profession for women. Having your own practice allows you to serve who you want, get paid what you are worth, have the flexibility to have a work/life balance and be present for your family, and build the business you want. Im a strong proponent of women planners having their own practice so they have the ability to have these choices. As financial planners we help clients make smart financial choices. For women who are empathetic, good with numbers, and entrepreneurial there is truly no better profession.

Raquel Hinman

Hinman Financial Planning, Inc., Firm Owner/President

Raquel Hinman is an Erie, Colorado-based CFP® and owner of Hinman Financial Planning, a fee-only financial planning and investment advisory firm she founded in 2015.

She helps clients navigate the financial and non-financial issues that accompany major life transitions, specializing in working with people who have inherited money, gone through a divorce, or are preparing to retire. She helps people anticipate changes in their finances and guides them in making the right financial choices to help them preserve and protect their wealth, all while honoring what is most important to them.

After receiving a degree in Finance from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1992, she began working in financial services. She earned her CFP(R) in 1998.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

I recommend this profession to other women because it is so flexible. For the most part, you can choose how, where, and with whom you want to work. In addition, our work is intellectually stimulating and provides the opportunity to make a good living.

Amy Irvine

Rooted Planning Group, Founder and CEO

I started Rooted Planning group because I wanted to offer financial PLANNING services. Our profession has a tendency to focus on “assets under management,” and I wanted to focus on lives under care.

Over the course of the past 30 years, I’ve worked in various financial services positions. But I’m most proud of the ensemble of women that I’ve brought together at Rooted Planning Group.

I am the author of "Uncork Your Finances" and podcast co-host of Money Roots, which were both created as a way to take the "scary" out of finance. I also co-founded the Southern Tier Women's Financial Conference in 2014, which is an annual event with a day of collaboration, networking, and financial education for women.

I hold a Master’s Degree in Financial Planning, and the following designations: Certified Financial Planner®, Enrolled Agent, Certified College Financial Consultant, Master Planner Advanced Studies®, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® and Certified Financial Therapist.

In addition to serving on several boards, I am honored to serve as a mentor to other women in the profession, and I serve as a Trustee for the NAPFA Foundation and volunteer for two pro-bono financial planning organizations: Savy Ladies and Advisers Give Back

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

When I talk to women about joining the profession, I share with them that it is about problem solving, helping, guiding, mentoring, and finance. It's not just a "digits" driving profession, it is PERSONAL finance. Nature gave us, as women, a blessed innate nurturing tendency. That's also a skill that most of the planners I know that are successful have in common. We are educators, we are the CFO's of our household, we are the one's our kids run to when they are hurt, these are all transferable skills to our profession, which makes us great candidates for the profession.

Lea Ann Knight, CFP®

Better Money Decisions, Co-owner and Managing Partner

Lea Ann Knight, CFP®, is a co-owner and Managing Partner of Better Money Decisions, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisory firm. With her background in investing and financial planning, she enjoys working closely with clients to design and implement customized financial plans.

Before joining Better Money Decisions, Lea Ann was a partner at North American Management, a Boston-based RIA. Previously, she was the founding member of Garrison/Knight Financial Planning; a Limited Partner with Edward Jones; Chief Administrative Officer for a private equity group at Morgan Stanley; and a Senior Manager for Deloitte & Touche LLP.

Lea Ann is also a past financial columnist for Time Inc.’s All You magazine and has been frequently quoted in the Wall Street Journal, SmartMoney, and Kiplingers, among other financial media. A large part of her focus has been on helping clients through life transitions and empowering women to manage their affairs with greater confidence.

She is a graduate of Stanford University and has a masters’ degree in Advanced Financial Planning from Golden Gate University.

When not helping clients, Lea Ann is forever working on her backhand in tennis.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

If you are passionate about empowering women (or really anyone) to manage their financial life with confidence, this is a highly rewarding profession. You will help people every day. And if you are a woman who wants flexibility to scale your work hours up and down as life progresses, there is no better long term career. In what other profession can you listen to stories, tell stories, do math, laugh, cry and celebrate - and get paid for all of it!

Kristen Moosmiller

NorthAvenue Financial Advocates, Owner and Senior Advisor

Kristen is a proud Fee-Only advisor with over 15 years’ experience, which include 12 years of membership with NAPFA. She was grateful to have the opportunity to serve on the NAPFA National Board from 2019-2022, and especially enjoyed her time serving as a liaison between the board and the Women and DE&I Initiatives.

Kristen started her company, NorthAvenue Financial Advocates, to challenge the long-held beliefs about women and wealth management, by consistently delivering a transformative service model, through exceptional client experience with unparalleled tax-focused expertise. Over the past 5 years since the company’s inception she has grown her team to include four other client facing women. Her company was recently the matching donor of The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s annual Keyholder fundraising event, a non-profit near and dear to her heart.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

This profession provides women the opportunity to wake up each day and see the positive impact they make in the life of others. Women can truly have a life outside of work while also being truly fulfilled in their work life as well.

Mindy Neira

Modera Wealth Management, Principal, Wealth Manager

As an LGBTQ+ financial planner, Mindy has a particular interest in providing financial planning and wealth management services to those clients in the LGBTQ community. In addition to being a CFP® professional, Mindy is a Chartered Special Needs Consultant® and advises clients who need help with their own or a loved one’s special needs financial planning.

Mindy has a B.A. in Economics and Psychology and a minor in Spanish from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and has earned the NAPFA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) certificate. In 2022, Mindy was awarded NAPFA’s Inspiring Leader Award having established a record of encouraging and motivating others in reaching their full professional potential.

Mindy co-chairs the NAPFA DE&I Steering Committee. She is a member of the New Jersey LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, the Association of African American Financial Advisors (AAAA), and the Special Needs Chapter of the National Association of Divorce Professionals (NADP). Mindy supports other organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, and Autism Speaks.

Mindy lives with her wife, Lisa, their daughter, Jackson and their dog, Avery, in Cedar Grove, NJ.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

This profession is about connecting with people and helping them. Some of the key skills to being a successful financial planner are actively listening, building trust, and building relationships. Our clients need someone to sit on the same side of the table as them to help navigate impactful decisions in their lives. For those women who have a desire to help and already do a great job connecting with others, this is a profession you need to explore.

Bronwyn Shone

EP Wealth Advisors, Vice President/Advisor

I am a career transitioner, having started in the late 90s in book publishing. I then worked for a dot com as a web publisher and enjoyed a higher income and stock options. This led me to eagerly read absolutely everything I could on investing and personal finance. After the dot com bubble burst, I knew I couldn’t go back to publishing. On a leap of faith, I enrolled in the beginning class to become a CFP® certificant and I was hooked! I began working as a paraplanner in a life insurance setting and quickly realized that selling products was not for me. I moved to a small fee-only firm where I gathered years of valuable experience advising individuals and families. Along the way, I earned my CFP® designation and became an EA (IRS enrolled agent) and prepared taxes for many of my clients. Now, as a Vice President/Advisor at a larger firm, I draw on my years of experience and varied skills to help my clients feel heard, to help them create a path forward, and to give them the peace of mind they need to thrive.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

Being a financial advisor means marrying the technical aspects of investments and financial planning with navigating the more nuanced needs and concerns of our clients. It’s not enough to know your stuff. You also need to know how to listen to, educate, reassure, and motivate your client, and with a genuine concern for their lifelong wellbeing. For me and for the women advisors I know, we thrive in this environment. We are not afraid of the tough conversations and we enjoy the challenge of helping our clients understand their personal finances and to feel confident in their choices. We are not just well suited to the profession; we are needed.

Melody W. Townsend

Townsend Financial Planning, President and Sr. Financial Advisor

Melody is the founding partner of Townsend Financial Planning, a wealth management firm that opened in 2006. Originally hourly only, client demand prompted her to offer AUM in 2016. Since then, her firm has grown quickly, resulting in going from $0 in AUM to $117 million and requiring additional staff.

Melody enjoys building long-term relationships with her clients and is passionate about helping them understand the difference financial planning can make in their lives. She loves going above and beyond in heartfelt ways, such as remembering a special date or their favorite flower or restaurant. Her main goal though is to make her team her #1 client by fostering a positive work environment that requires integrity, a commitment to service, and a family-first/work-life balance attitude.

Outside of her professional work, Melody is a devoted wife and mother to two children. She loves to read, take road trips, sing worship songs, eat good food, and spend time with her family & friends.

Over the years, Melody finds her definition of success changing, "Now it is measured by spending time providing our clients and team with an exceptional experience in a warm, positive, and encouraging office environment that reflects my core values daily."

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

I find this profession to be extremely rewarding and at the same time very flexible. As a woman who has goals to be available to my family and have a professional career, essentially to "have my cake and eat it too​," a financial planning career has helped make realizing those goals possible for me. But it has not been easy...I have had to take risks, work hard, draw clear boundaries, and thrive in a predominantly male environment. All of those things have led to making me a better person, mother, wife, boss, advisor, and friend. In other words, it has stretched me and grown me into someone who is accomplishing goals I never even dreamed about as a farm girl that grew up in a low-income family that knew nothing about money management principles in rural Kentucky. Ladies, hear me when I say, the sky is the limit in this field!

Danika Waddell, CFP®

Xena Financial Planning, President & Founder

Danika Waddell is a Certified Financial Planner and the founder of Xena Financial Planning. She serves women in the tech industry who care deeply about their impact on the world. Danika is passionate about making financial planning more accessible to people who have typically felt excluded by our profession. She loves helping women feel empowered around their money and co-creating their most fulfilled lives. She was recognized as one of Investopedia’s Top 100 Advisors in 2022 and 2023.

In her spare time, Danika loves to travel, spends as much time as possible in the mountains, and does her best to keep up with her 2 teen daughters, a frisky dog (named Xena), and a couple of cats.

Why would you recommend this profession to other women?

This is an amazing career that allows women to have meaningful work that makes a difference in people's lives and is typically very flexible (schedule/hours).