Guest: Janine Wertheim, who recently retired from Securities America after spending 37 years with the company. Janine started shortly after the company was founded and served in a variety of leadership roles. Most recently, Janine was President of Securities America Advisors, which is the $75 billion RIA firm she and a small team founded back in 1994.

Insight: I started my financial services career working for Janine back in 1993. Under her leadership, we built Securities America Advisors, the corporate RIA, from $0 to nearly $2 billion in AUM by the time I left in 1999. Today, the RIA has $75 billion in AUM and Janine has served as its long-time president. It was a real treat for me to interview Janine as she reflected on nearly four decades of leadership. The industry has changed over the last four decades, but a constant has been her thoughtful, innovative leadership.

3 Quotes from Janine Wertheim:

1. “One of the most important things to me about leadership is you’re not the most important person. A leader really says that the other people are the most important people. So you’re here to serve versus to be served. I do think that’s really, really important, not only your employees, but also, the customers that you serve. We sometimes tend to put CEOs and leaders up on this pedestal and the reality is we’re here to serve. You’re the important one, not me. I just think that’s really, really critical and that served me well. From the letters that I’ve received from advisors, it’s always about something that they remember that I did for them that made them feel really special. That goes to show that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. The other thing I think about leadership is when you get better, everyone around you gets better. So when you invest in leadership, I think it just has such a ripple effect.”

2. “I think teamwork is the big answer any time you’re going through something. You need everybody on the bus, working in the right direction. I’d say there was a lot of prayer. Certainly, God works in mysterious ways and we had a lot of people that certainly believe in prayer. Also just hitting it head on, over-communication, looking at the bright side of things, ‘This too shall pass.’ So basically I think leaders really have to be those rational optimists.”

3. John Hancock were one of the first to actually have a women-focused event. And I recall going to some of those and it’s almost like there was this law of you had to work your way into that little clique of the women that were already ahead of you. In other words, there’s only so many spaces up here, so I’m not gonna be as helpful as I need to be with this young up and coming 20-something-year-old woman that may be taking my place. In the beginning, I think it was a little bit more difficult to earn your stripes. The industry’s evolved so much over time. Now it’s more women lifting each other up: I’m going to lead and I’m going to lift those around me.


Janine Wertheim on LinkedIn