“Inspire others.” With Tyler Gallagher & Megan Gorman

Second, women need to take more risk with their careers. Too often we wait until we think we are ready or are ‘perfect’ to ask to move forward. Trust me — the guys don’t wait. We need to be unafraid to take strategic risks with our careers and take these risks earlier. I had the […]

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Second, women need to take more risk with their careers. Too often we wait until we think we are ready or are ‘perfect’ to ask to move forward. Trust me — the guys don’t wait. We need to be unafraid to take strategic risks with our careers and take these risks earlier.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Megan Gorman, Managing Partner, Chequers Financial Management.

As the Founding Partner of Chequers Financial Management, a high net worth tax and financial planning firm headquartered in San Francisco. Megan’s clientele ranges from entrepreneurs to corporate executives to inherited family wealth. An attorney by training, she is passionate about the problem-solving required to work in the world of complex financial planning.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Finance field?

When I was starting out, I would never have thought I would have had a career in finance. In fact, I am an attorney by training. While in law school, we were required to take a course on personal income tax. I thought it was going to be a boring requisite class but turns out, I found it fascinating. What really appeals to me about tax is that it is all about problem solving.

I was recruited out of law school by a wealth management firm that was owned by Goldman Sachs. In that role, I worked with corporate executives on all areas of their financial planning — and it was real planning, not just a marketing tool. I love the idea of advocating for clients and navigating all the different disciplines of financial and estate planning.

Like all careers, I have been lucky to be on a path that is ever evolving. Having my own firm and creating strong bonds and trust with my clients is very important to me.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

One of the most interesting thing that has happened to me was about five or six years ago, I had the opportunity to present a course on financial education to the San Francisco 49ers. Working with NFL Football players is similar to my work with CEOs as their compensation packages are both very significant. But the difference is that NFL players really only have three to five years to save enough to last a lifetime. As a result, a significant amount of my presentation focused on cash flow management and tax planning.

After the presentation, what surprised me is that one of the most well- known players came up to me. I didn’t really know who he was as I don’t follow football that closely, but I was told after the fact that this person who was a future Hall of Famer. While this individual plays with intensity on the field, we had a very detailed discussion on municipal bond ladders and the need to have principal protection in a portfolio. It was a lot of fun to see that this person’s private persona was quite different from how they are viewed publicly.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am passionate about what I do and am always looking to engage new audiences on the importance of financial planning. I’ve ventured into podcasting, virtual speaking engagements and am looking to publish my first book.

Last Fall I launched a radio podcast on Voice America Radio that consisted of 13 episodes where I interviewed a variety of individuals from AI to Broadway to Cannabis about their “Money Stories” and how it has impacted their relationship to money and wealth accumulation.

Since the advent of Covid 19, I have been hosting several webinars and have also been a webinar and podcast guest discussing a range of topics from PPP loans, estate planning, managing taxes and how to build a trusted brand in financial services. In addition, I am a senior contributor at Forbes on personal finance.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

When I worked at Goldman Sachs, I learned the importance of personalized, high touch client service. My clients are mainly high net worth and ultra high net worth. What is interesting is that most people think that these individuals do not have the same issues that we all have with money. In fact, not only do they have the same issues, but because they are considered wealthy, it’s harder for them to sometimes talk about it.

Wall Street and Finance used to be an “all white boys club”. This has changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?

Of course, Wall Street and finance is still predominately an all-white boys club. I am not sure if it has really changed or if there is just more lip service being paid to having more diversity in finance. However, I have been running my firm for 5 years and I have not found it challenging to build a diverse and smart team. It is very doable — it just has to be a priority.

Additionally, there is a perception of what a job in finance is. At first glance, most people think finance jobs are very number centric. While they are in some functions, many of the great financial jobs are truly about relationship building and problem solving. As more women enter the financial space, they’re realizing that the ability to create deep, lasting relationships really is something that they excel at.

While the industry has a long way to go, women need to seek out mentors who will encourage them to take more risks with their career. When I reflect on my career, one of my biggest regrets I have is that I stayed in in certain roles longer than I should have. My regret is that I wish I had started my firm five years earlier.

Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. According to this report in CNBC, less than 17 percent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support this movement going forward?

There are a number of ways to look at this issue. Here’s three ideas that might help.

First, people tend to hire people who are similar to them. It’s human nature. In the hiring process, we need to be unafraid to challenge who we want to be part of the team.

Second, women need to take more risk with their careers. Too often we wait until we think we are ready or are ‘perfect’ to ask to move forward. Trust me — the guys don’t wait. We need to be unafraid to take strategic risks with our careers and take these risks earlier.

Finally companies need to include women and minorities in the decision making. Getting various life experiences and points of view can really make a difference.

You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive things one should do to become more financially literate, what would you say? Can you please give a story or example for each.

My husband and I are childfree — but I give the same advice to young people again and again. In your teenage years, get a job. Whether it is lifeguarding or working in an office or store or a restaurant, it can teach you a lot about money and work. The best experience I had was the years I spent from age 14 to 22 working in the restaurant industry. It taught me how to save at an early age and how to navigate the workplace. It was better experience than any internship could have given me.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have been lucky in my career in that I have had many great mentors. Recently one of my mentors passed away which caused me to reflect on his advice. He pushed me while providing guidance on building my firm, what my vision should be and how I should continue to build my tax knowledge. Ultimately, he pushed me to focus on enjoying the best part of the job — working with clients.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

To quote Nora Ephron, “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

Your life — and your career — is a grand adventure. In starting out my career, I spent too much time focusing on what I thought others wanted — particularly in playing politics and climbing the corporate ladder. But over time I found that I didn’t quite fit the ‘mold’ necessary to be successful and satisfied in those places. To me, being the captain of my own ship where I am in control of my destiny, was important for me to find career satisfaction. Further, it is pushed me to do things I never thought were possible — like being a writer. Since turning 40, I’ve been more focused on building a career on what I am interested in — it makes you eager to go to work.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire anything, I would tell people to not be afraid to take a risk. Be fearless and get out there. Starting a firm and putting myself out there as a thought leader was and continues to be a terrifying experience. However, what I’ve also found is that by taking risk, I’ve had the greatest rewards of my career. There is no other place I would rather be career wise than where I am today. It is satisfying and exciting. That is really all you could ask for in a career.

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