Melisa Mersini, VP, Wealth Strategies & Management

MelisaWhat inspires you as the VP of Wealth Strategies & Management LLC?

I am inspired when I am able to help provide clients with advice pertaining to their investment and financial planning and help build their financial confidence for their own financial future. Changing market and economic conditions requires focus.  My clients look to me to help them navigate these changes and provide customized advice to their goals.

Talk about your journey as a woman at the top of your field and the challenges you faced along the way.
My career was challenged when I moved from Northwestern Mutual Insurance to PNC in August of 2001.  I essentially started from scratch to pursue a position that focused on Investments.  I originally teamed up as a junior advisor with a pair of experienced consultants who were unhappy with my addition – without their consent.  After my first few weeks on the job, I found myself in a difficult position; I was a young female soliciting potential investors in the shadow of 9/11.  No one wanted to talk about investments; especially with someone that appeared to be new to the industry.  Thankfully, I had perseverance and worked hard to have conversations, demonstrating my knowledge and passion to help people during what turned out to be a time they needed advice the most.

Talk about your journey into the financial services field industry.
I never intended to begin a career in financial services.  I was studying marketing with an art minor and wanted so much to be like Darren on the show “Bewitched.”  In 1994, my husband and I moved to Pennsylvania from South Carolina.  Still attending college, I was seeking a job and interviewed for a position at a physician’s office.  The interviewer determined that I would be a better fit for a marketer position with her friend at a Northwestern Mutual Insurance Agency.  Shortly after starting with Northwestern Mutual, my agent highly recommended that I get licensed and pursue a financial services career permanently. I’ve never looked back.  I enjoy helping and educating individuals and families on a critical component of their life: their finances.

What are your strengths?
My strengths are my energy and my drive.  I love tackling a difficult task and going to whatever lengths necessary to find a resolution.  Additionally, I think of myself as a “girl’s girl.”  I enjoy being there for my fellow business women and support them in any way possible. Lastly, I am not afraid to lead by working hard and I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something I haven’t done before or wouldn’t do myself.  I often receive feedback that I communicate in a concise manner.

How do you develop yourself and continue to improve?
In my profession, one must be a student of the business and constantly read and educate themselves as changes occur rapidly.  Professional development is essential in an ever-changing economic landscape.  In recent years, I have become more involved in my community by volunteering my time and skills with various organizations I feel are making a vital difference. Improvement comes in many forms and my association with these organizations challenges me and allows me the pleasure of working closely with people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

In what ways have you learned to become adaptable and flexible in your job?
Just as the economy and markets are constantly changing, the financial industry has seen many changes. On a personal level, making the move from Northwestern Mutual, where the focus was on family insurance protection, to PNC, where I actively provided investment advice, was a major adjustment.  After two significant downturns in the market during my career, I realized that I needed to increase how often I was meeting and communicating with my clients to help them through difficult times and decisions.  Technology has allowed me to be tremendously flexible on how and where I provide advice. I can share real-time views of my computer screens to collaborate with clients while reviewing reports in my planning software.  I can work with clients across the country, just as easily as I can with someone sitting in my office.

What is your advice to women seeking to rise in their profession?
Stand out.  Do everything possible to become the one who knows the most about your industry.  In the early years I personally paid to attend conferences, classes and I joined professional groups to gain essential knowledge and be exposed to bright minds in my industry.

How would you define “success”?
I define success as when someone is happy.  A “Type A” personality will never be content. We are always pushing ourselves; however, when you reach a point that you are balancing the areas of your life, having fun, and feel comfortable with the progress you are making, a sense of happiness abounds and, to me, that is success.

What are your “words to live by”?
“Done Bun Cannot Be Undone.”  I learned to not dwell on negative emotions that crop up when things did not go my way, or if I said something that didn’t come out perfectly, or rehashing decisions after they had been made.  Letting go of something that you cannot change, learning what you can from it and moving on is life-changing.  In my opinion, it is by far the best way to get to the point of living in the now.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investment advice offered through Private Advisor Group and Wealth Strategies and Management are separate entities from LPL Financial.

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