FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Director of Abundance at Summit Wealth Systems, Erin Colledge
Erin began her career in Investment Banking in New York, specifically the Equity Capital Markets group at Merrill Lynch, where she spent 6 years. The role was competitive, extremely consuming and Erin says that she has been unlearning many work balance behaviors since that start. But even in the intense environment, she found mentorship and true friends she could rely upon which, early in her career, underscored the importance of trusted, supportive connections. From there, Erin moved back to her hometown of Jacksonville, FL and heard from a professional mentor about an exciting start-up in wealth management technology, Black Diamond. Erin joined as the product team was established and worked in the product organization for well over a decade, most recently in the Head of Product role. "And I am excited to have recently joined the Black Diamond founder, Reed Colley, at a new and exciting venture, Summit Wealth Systems."
Erin's role at Summit is the Director of Abundance and she made her way there through great working experiences with the CEO, Reed Colley. "You may be wondering, what is this idea of Abundance? An abundance mindset is the paradigm that there is plenty for everyone, prioritizing collaboration over competition, long-term thinking over short-term, and generosity over self-serving behavior, ultimately all important drivers for well-being." Erin says: "At Summit, this is ingrained in the fabric of our team dynamics, and we aim to realize abundance for our team, the advisors we work with and their clients at all levels of how we partner. I’m working on several projects – it’s easy to wear many hats at this stage – but I’m most excited as we work towards connecting people to their purpose and values in their financial lives."
Erin feels incredibly fortunate to work with an amazing team. "We are an early and growing team and I love seeing the team showing up authentically. The team characteristics that are compelling to me are a true embracing of growth mindsets, challenging each other to do better when we know better. I thrive in contagious energy and curiosity, and this permeates all our interactions."
Finance and Technology have always been fascinating to Erin, partially because of the complexity and creativity of the respective topics, but "what has really resonated with me over the past few years are the themes that feel like FinTech with a heart. Effective financial planning experiences, creating a more human, accessible approach to finance and the alignment of investments with personal values/impact investing – Truly connecting people to their purposes with respect to their financial lives feels tangible within the wealth technology space." Erin thinks these themes are incredibly important to users' product experience.
More on Erin
Where you currently live: Jacksonville, FL
Living arrangement: I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we have two awesome, high-energy boys (Rawlings, 9 and Shepherd, 10 years old)
Family at home: Beyond my immediate family, we have many extended family members in Jacksonville and are grounded here because of this.
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
Favorite hobby: I love yoga, time out on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville and we’ve recently found a new family hobby in tennis. We love to travel in ways where we can learn and expand our perspectives.
Favorite part of your day: Wrapping work for the day and joining my husband and boys in the kitchen to cook dinner together and hear about each other’s days.
Favorite show to binge: Currently Stranger Things
Podcast Recommendation: Brené Brown’s perspective has been helpful for me personally and professionally. I love her Dare to Lead podcast series and have a ton of respect for the break time she’s taking this summer, but I’ll appreciate having her back. I often think, especially if delivering more challenging feedback, of her reminder that “clear is kind.”
What is the most important lesson you have learned from a mistake you’ve made in the past?
In moments of stress, admittedly I instinctively lean inwards – How can I solve this myself? The most important lesson I’ve learned is to bring teammates into the thought process – especially in the moments when it feels like the mistake is on my shoulders. Being more open in these moments has consistently led to better outcomes.
Can you tell us about a time someone encouraged you to try a task or take on a project you didn’t think that you would know how to do/or be good at?
In the early years of my product role transition, the idea of public speaking was terrifying (know I'm not alone here!). One of my key mentors encouraged me to see it as an opportunity to represent the team and to look it as an activity that, with practice, would become more enjoyable over time. Reluctantly, I found the advice to be utterly on point – I now prefer to champion a team or topic directly versus deferring to others. Building a muscle with respect to public speaking is a reality, and one I encourage every woman in this space to begin to exercise, starting with the most supportive audiences first!
6:30am: I’ve made my stovetop espresso with almond milk and I’m catching up on the news for the day. During this time I remind myself of the “whole life” (work and family) schedule for the day and write down any important to-dos or prep work. Writing things down helps me memorialize the info and I generally don’t need to refer back to the list until the next day.
7:00am: I’m at a cardio tennis lesson – dragging when I arrive and energized in leaving.
8:30am: I get started on my creative “heads down” work needed for the day. Much of my team is based in MT and PT time zones and I find morning times are most productive personally. Today I am creating a brainstorming board for a project we are kicking off in Miro and documenting anticipated plans for our PD priorities for the week.
10:30am: I take a break for a late morning snack.
11:00am: We sync each week as a cross functional team to identify shared priorities related to servicing, operational focus and product development. To start, we individually share moments of abundance over the past week. We then transition to dialogue related to clients we are working with, prospect insights and provide milestones and updates related to the product development process.
1pm: We transition to engineering planning conversations – identifying work we are wrapping up, what we will prioritize starting and how we will approach these.
3pm: I’m meeting with our designer and mobile developer to sync on plans for the week.
3:30pm: My boys are back from day camp and come in the office for a hug.
5:30pm: I’m wrapping up my work with the team and heading down to help with dinner prep. We start the week with a family favorite, salmon and collard greens – somehow the combo works really well.
7:30pm: Time for bed time rituals with the kids – hot tea, reading together and then winding down for the evening.
Friday - generally a work lighter, connect with people type of day.
8:00am: I’m dropping the boys off for tennis camp for the day and attempting to apply all the sunscreen on their faces.
9:00am: I’m looking at the progress for the week at work, thinking through what will be important looking to next week. Capturing what’s happened and what’s next helps me put down some of the more tactical work for the day.
11:30am: I’m meeting a great friend for lunch at a neighborhood spot, Biscotti’s – favorite lunch in Jacksonville!
2:00pm: I’m checking in with the team, to see how things are going.
3:30pm: The boys are again back from camp and we decide plans for the evening. Their favorite Friday treat is custard from a local spot, Whit’s, so we walk up for an afternoon snack.