We recently connected with Bernadette Girvin and have shared our conversation below.
Bernadette, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. What do you think matters most in terms of achieving success?
I think it takes equal parts passion for what you do and extreme discipline in your daily habits and rituals. Being at the top of your field, whether in business, sports, the arts, or caregiver for your kids, requires incredible sacrifice to show up day in and day out as the best version of yourself. You do this through disciplined habits and rituals that put you in the right state of mind and keep you healthy and energetic. But you have to be passionate about what you’re doing to act with an intense level of discipline. You have to be fiercely connected to that mission.
Bernadette, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I joined the financial services industry in 2008 after years of playing professional golf and having no idea what I would do with the rest of my life. A friend of mine introduced me to the business and it just kind of stuck! I have served in many capacities in the financial services industry, from life insurance salesperson to operations management, to trainer, to finally being a business consultant. When my business partner and I founded our firm in 2019, we were passionate about changing the way business owners approached their financial lives. We come to the table from a consulting perspective to work with our clients on Asset Protection, Tax Planning, Key Objective Planning, and Exit Planning. We create a board of advisors, essentially, for our clients and bring to the table their CPA, banker, attorneys, all key decision-makers, and advisors in their world. We have set out on a path to create a complete ecosystem for our clients so they can go to one place for all their business needs. We have recently launched GFG Benefits, a group benefits company focused on serving and elevating the human at work. We aim to launch GFG Payroll before the end of 2022 and the sky is the limit!
As business owners ourselves, we know what keeps our clients up at night and it is our joy and mission to bring peace, clarity, and simplicity to our business owners.
How do you keep your team’s morale high?
I believe creating great culture or morale really starts in the Attraction and Selection experience. I always start with, first Who, then What. If the person is a “Who” we will find a place in our firm for them! We select individuals and make overall firm decisions based on our values – that will never steer you wrong. Curating a meaningful and memorable selection experience that leaves the candidate better than when you met them is so important. What interview questions are you asking – have you updated your interview guides lately? What assessments are you using? Does the candidate get to engage with other team members or team outings to get a feel for the current culture?
The other aspect that is important to managing high-performing teams and giving them the gift of high expectations. The best performers always rise to the occasion and want and appreciate feedback, early and often. If you’re not getting that kind of vibe from someone, they may need to go. Equally as important as high expectations and accountability, is making sure that you develop a cadence of experiencing meaningful stress, then intentional recovery. We’re not robots and if you want your best people to stay the best, they. need to work hard and then recover intentionally (be that vacation, work from days, mental health days, et). Promote a culture of thoughtfulness around exercise, diet, rest, and fun. Our energy is the only expandable resource we truly have. Time is equal for all, but energy is expandable.
These 2 philosophies have helped me maintain high morale and manage high-performing teams.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
I believe that people buy differences, not similarities. There are a couple of ways I have tried to be different while maintaining authenticity. First, our business model, consulting expertise, and client-counselor-centered approach have made us disruptors in our industry. Financial Services has long been a vast landscape of suited-up wealth managers – a good ‘ol boys network of sorts. We came into this space intentionally not focused on building assets under management or chasing rate of return. Rather, we have created a business focused on consulting to bring unbiased advice, in the best interest of the client, with master-level experts. We can comprehensively serve our clients in one-stop around tax planning, asset protection, group benefits, payroll services, exit planning, and key objective planning/wealth accumulation.
Secondly, I’m a young (ish :)), tattooed woman, who primarily wears band tees, with 14 years of business planning experience. I don’t exactly look like the stereotypical financial advisor you might envision in your mind. I do none of those things to only draw attention or stand out…I genuinely love tattooing and rock n’ roll…but it does separate me in the sea of financial advisor sameness. If you have not thought about your personal brand and what makes you different or unique, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Take the time to build a thoughtful, creative, aesthetically pleasing media kit, share your vision or message, and build your brand!
These items combined have helped me build a great reputation in my community and market as someone who will drive value to your bottom line, create financial certainty for you and your business, who knows her shit and has fun doing it too!
- Website: www.gfgsolutions.com
- Instagram: @gfgsolutions
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_V2MvesZfCuvE3F2PfpwDw