Community//

Meet The Female Leaders Of Finance: “As a society and within our educational system, I believe we need to do a better job of teaching children about financial matters” with Valerie Murray of Beacon Trust & Provident Bank

Financial literacy and independence are important drivers to financial security. This is important for both men and women, and for people of all ages. If someone doesn’t understand money and finances, and isn’t a position to control those aspects of their well-being, then it will be difficult to have financial security, regardless of the level […]


Financial literacy and independence are important drivers to financial security. This is important for both men and women, and for people of all ages. If someone doesn’t understand money and finances, and isn’t a position to control those aspects of their well-being, then it will be difficult to have financial security, regardless of the level of assets. As a society and within our educational system, I believe we need to do a better job of teaching children about financial matters — budgeting, saving, basics of investing — so they can attain financial independence and maintain control of their personal finances once they are in the workforce.

As a part of my series about strong female finance leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Valerie Murray. Valerie Murray is president of Beacon Trust and also serves as chief wealth management officer at Provident Bank. She is focused on the overall delivery of wealth management services to individuals and institutions. Prior to her current role, Ms. Murray held the position of chief operating officer of Beacon Trust where she was responsible for initiatives across the organization related to client services, technology, marketing, and operations. Ms. Murray has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. Prior to joining Beacon Trust in 2011, she was senior vice president and senior trust officer at U.S. Trust in New York City. Ms. Murray serves on the Board of Directors of Jersey Battered Women’s Services, Inc. (JBWS). She received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Bucknell University, and she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.


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

There were a number of factors contributing to a career in financial services. I have always had a love of numbers and been analytical, which led me to attain a degree in mathematics at Bucknell University. My father’s career was focused on investments and finance, so I was exposed to the broader industry from an early age. Finally, during summers in college, I worked as a bank teller, so perhaps a career in banking was inevitable.

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

I did not set out to become the president of a company. I left a decent job in NYC to pursue a new opportunity 6 miles from my house, leaving behind 3 hours of daily commute time. Little did I realize I would replace the commuting time with longer working hours, but I didn’t mind because I LOVED my job, my colleagues and the clients. Within a few years, I had become chief operating officer, managing many aspects of the business and enjoying a role I had never imagined I would have. Things were plugging along rather well for me. About 30 days before a major system conversion that would impact employees and clients — a project I had been leading as COO — I was unexpectedly offered the role of president. I would by lying if I said I didn’t have some reservations — president? Me? Today??? Without too much hesitation — could I really say no to such a great opportunity? — I accepted the role. The conversion was successful — thanks to other members of my amazing team who took ownership of the project — and our firm continues to prosper and grow. As I have learned firsthand, good things come when you least expect them.

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

Beacon Trust is able to provide high-quality client service of a small boutique firm, with the resources and capabilities of a larger organization. We provide a variety of wealth management services in one place — financial planning, investments, tax planning, trust administration, and private banking. Our goal is to provide innovation wealth strategy solutions to meet the goals of our clients, and a client who leverages all our capabilities will be in the best position for financial security.

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?

I entered the workforce in the mid-1990s, and I have always been supported by both men and women. I never felt I was treated differently because I was a women, but there are many times when I am the only woman in a room full of men. I am a big believer of supporting younger professionals (both men and women) by giving them opportunities for advancement. I enjoy giving back in this way because others gave me similar opportunities for career growth and responsibility. But it is a two-way street — women need to be willing to work hard (yes, sometimes that means long hours) and be confident enough to ask for additional projects to learn different skills.

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?

Women need to support other women. As leaders, we should identify talent at all levels of the organization, and work to elevate those who can handle additional responsibility. This is true for both female and male employees; women do not need to be treated differently, but they should be given an equal opportunity. Regardless of gender, I look for individuals who have the skills and commitment to achieve success. I have been fortunate to work for managers — mostly men — who have supported my career growth, not because I am female, but because I am hard-working and able to meet the demands of the job and the goals of the organization.

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.

  1. Play the board game “Life”, which takes you on a journey through life, from college to retirement, with the potential for marriage, children, insurance policies, etc. Although it is not completely accurate, it will make a young adult aware of the many facets of life, income and expenses.
  2. Start saving early and you will realize the value of compound interest.
  3. Read. Read as much as you can about finance and money — there are so many resources in print and on the internet.

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?

Can you share a story about that? It is hard to pick one person because I have had many supporters along the way. My husband has been my biggest supporter for the last 15+ years, which is invaluable when juggling motherhood and a demanding career. My father, certainly, who exposed me to finance and instilled in me the values of hard work and commitment.

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

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: hard work, stick-to-itiveness, and common sense.” (by Thomas Edison) In both my personal and professional life, I have been focused and committed so I can achieve my goals. It has often required long hours and much effort, but I use a combination of experience, good judgment and intuition to guide me.

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. 🙂

Financial literacy and independence are important drivers to financial security. This is important for both men and women, and for people of all ages. If someone doesn’t understand money and finances, and isn’t a position to control those aspects of their well-being, then it will be difficult to have financial security, regardless of the level of assets. As a society and within our educational system, I believe we need to do a better job of teaching children about financial matters — budgeting, saving, basics of investing — so they can attain financial independence and maintain control of their personal finances once they are in the workforce.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

About the Author:

Tyler Gallagher is the CEO and Founder of Regal Assets, an international alternative assets firm with offices in the United States, Canada, London and United Arab Emirates focused on helping private and institutional wealth procure alternative assets for their investment portfolios. Regal Assets is an Inc. 500 company and has been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Market Watch and Reuters. With offices in multiple countries, Regal Assets is uniquely positioned as an international leader in the alternative assets industry and was awarded the first ever crypto-commodities license by the DMCC in late 2017. Regal Assets is currently the only firm in the world that holds a license to legally buy and sell cryptos within the Middle East and works closely with the DMCC to help evolve and grow the understanding and application of blockchain technology. Prior to founding Regal Assets, Tyler worked for a Microsoft startup led by legendary tech giant Karl Jacob who was an executive at Microsoft, and an original Facebook board member. Feel free to reach out to Tyler on Linkedin HERE .

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Meet The Female Leaders Of Finance: “If having your lattes in the morning are important to you, you can still have them, just know that they are part of your financial planning.” with Charlotte Cowan Geletka and Tyler Gallagher

by Tyler Gallagher
Community//

Meet The Female Leaders Of Finance: “High school and university curricula are outdated and are in deep need to be transformed” with Mariel Arraiza and Tyler Gallagher

by Tyler Gallagher
Community//

Meet The Female Leaders Of Finance: “Diversity must be part of a company’s strategic plan. It begins with that.” with Josephine Moran of Provident Bank and Tyler Gallagher

by Tyler Gallagher

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.