Updated: Aug 30
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Today we are talking with Kirsten Forrester about her career as a Vice President of the Regional Sales Associate Department at Fisher Investments.
As with many of the Talent Spotlight guests, I have both a personal and professional relationship with Kirsten. Kirsten and I first worked together as Regional Sales Associates (RSA's) back in 2014. We were on different teams in the department, but developed a strong working relationship throughout that time. She then stepped into training opportunities throughout the firm and I did much of the same in various other areas. We both loved connecting and sharing knowledge on various aspects of our careers over the years.
On a personal level, I have to brag about Kirsten. She is the ultimate hostess, an incredibly thoughtful person, and has a natural ability to light up a room! She makes the most amazing baked goods and always remembers birthdays/major milestones/important dates. Her thoughtfulness and care is something everyone appreciates about her both professionally and personally.
She is also a talented author! She has written and published 3 novels all while leading a very successful career in the finance industry. (Don't worry, I will give you all the details later on in the blog!) Kirsten is someone you want to get to know and add to your network - she is going places!
Now let's learn more about Kirsten...
Name: Kirsten Forrester (Breuner)
Vice President; Regional Sales Associates
Time in Current Position: 4 months
Where Can You Connect with Kirsten?
Connect on LinkedIn!
What does a day in the life of a Vice President look like?
I manage a group of ~100 team members whose objective is to navigate the sales process for our external salespeople as well as our internal partner groups. While we do not personally interface with clients, we are conducting all of the resourcing in the background to help make the prospective client experience as strong as possible and ultimately welcome in new clients. In a given day, I am providing direction to the group and helping sort through ambiguous situations, analyzing data to help make informative decisions, and advocating for the group as well as our salespeople wherever possible.
What roles did you have prior to your current role?
Funny enough, I started almost 8 years ago in the role for the group that I now manage (where I met Brandi!). After nearly 2 years as a Regional Sales Associate, I moved into a training manager position for the group, helping to build out a systematic training program for the role.
From there, I moved on to broaden that training approach to the rest of the sales organization, including our Account Executives and Inside Salespeople. After a few years immersed in sales, I became part of a centralized training department where I led the first-ever centralized logistical and training design team. That experience gave me the opportunity to work with the service side of the firm and interact with clients, which I thoroughly enjoyed. About four months ago, I returned to my “roots” in RSA to head the group, truly coming full circle!
How did your experience in previous roles help you succeed in your current position?
Training is a world where you have to become proficient in everything you touch in order to deliver the right solution. It enabled me to learn so much about every role and function within our US Private Client Group, giving me broader perspective and insight that I can now carry into my group.
Training is also all about solutions and finding the root of a given need, which has really helped me make objective, data-driven decisions. Also, helping to develop others is fun and rewarding!
Is there any specialty training or area of expertise needed to succeed in your current role?
The most helpful competency to build for this role is driving both results and engagement. In order to set the right course for your group, you need to be able to show how we’ll get there and ensure that it’s something the majority believe in pursuing. You have to genuinely want to help people develop and help the business at the same time, a mutually beneficial arrangement. And if you can execute on that, you’re golden.
How do you think your job will change in the next 5 years?
Oh, what a question! At my company, a lot can change in a few years, so thinking five years down the line, anything could happen! But I believe that the group will evolve in a way that removes the team from mostly operational tasks and empowers team members to help drive and navigate the sales process.
How did you find this career field?
I found the finance world completely by chance. I was originally planning to “take down Wall Street” by becoming an attorney. I had my own thoughts on how the finance world isn’t set up to deliver the best to the client, and so stumbling upon Fisher Investments was a completely random, fortuitous encounter. After learning what the company was all about (the client’s interests are ALWAYS first), I decided that it fit what I was seeking to do in changing the industry and jumped on board.
What does a career path look like at Fisher Investments?
What’s really unique and rewarding about my company is that you can drive your own career path and take many different routes. We call it “Controlling Your Own Destiny”, which is exactly what it is.
I found my niche and have been able to fully pursue that course. Anyone can do the same! You could pursue sales, research, client service, marketing, data and analytics, diversity and inclusion… the list goes on and on. You can expect to spend between 2-5 years in a role and move around to a completely different area of the firm if you’d like.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume?
I am a Young Adult Fantasy author! It’s a completely different arena from my day job, but it’s a passion I enjoy pursuing in my free time and feeds my creative brain. I’ve just about wrapped up a trilogy. If you’re curious, you can look for the title Seraphin.
Spoiler Alert! Kirsten's 3rd novel, Heir, is soon to be released! This link takes you to Goodreads where you can get all the details if you want to read the trilogy!
Want to learn more about Kirsten??
Check out her article feature on Fairygodboss that gives you an inside look at how she manages writing and her professional career! You can also feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn. There is a direct link at the top of the blog!
If you would like to be featured on the Talent Spotlight Series, please contact me here!
I would love to share your career journey!
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