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844 739 6626
Watching Over Your Wealth
I was pleased to speak with Kim Shores, Private Wealth Advisor with Wells Fargo's Private Bank. Kim has been in the banking industry for 30 years. "I started on the East Coast in the '90s working for NationsBank, which then became Bank of America. I worked there for 15 years and helped build out their private lending platform." A new concept at the time, Kim was part of a team that created the predecessor to what exists today in most major banks.
"When we first started, our division encompassed specialized loans for high-net-worth clients, which included lending against concentrated securities for corporate insiders; lending against luxury assets, such as fine art, yachts, and aircraft; and other items like commercial real estate for high-net-worth investors." From there, Kim was part of a team that joined Deutsche Bank in New York who were expanding their private bank footprint in the U.S. She remained for 11 years.
Kim was then recruited by Wells Fargo’s Private Bank. While she began in a private banking role that focused on customized lending to high-net-worth individuals, her talents were quickly recognized and she was promoted to Private Wealth Advisor, her current position, which she has held since 2018.
As a Private Wealth Advisor, Kim likes to say that she knows a little bit about a lot, but not a lot about any one thing. With this in mind, Kim calls upon a large pool of subject matter experts who all know a lot about their individual lines of business. "We utilize the knowledge and skills of planning strategists (many of whom are former estate planning attorneys), trust officers, bankers, lenders, fiduciary investment strategists, real estate specialists, philanthropic specialists, and others. It is my job to advocate on the family’s behalf with this team of professionals, seek their advice and support, and organize this advice for presentation to the clients. I pride myself on simplifying the complexities of financial services for my clients.”
So what were the factors that guided Kim on this path to success? Like most 20-year-olds graduating from college, Kim had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. "I struggled to put myself through college and married two weeks after graduating. We moved to a tiny town in North Carolina. My husband, Keith, worked in a bank's management training program."
Stuck in a small town looking for a job, Kim found a position as the activity director for a nursing home. It was a brave move by Kim and her husband that would lead her into the financial services industry. "We quit our jobs, and both went to graduate school. At the time, having an MBA was critical to career success, and my husband's parents were both academics, so we were encouraged to pursue our MBAs." Also at that time, formalized training programs were common with the large financial institutions. Kim and her husband ended up in these programs at competing banks.
Kim immediately sought out mentors to help her navigate a career path in a male-dominated industry. “I connected myself to people I wanted to emulate. I would watch how they conducted themselves in meetings, listen to how they built consensus in groups, and sought their advice. I would ask them to lunch so I could build a more personal relationship with them. While I never had a formal mentor-mentee arrangement, I learned a lot through these organic interactions. Mentoring is important in the broad sense; whether it is formalized or not. I would encourage young professionals, in any line of business, to seek out a relationship with the executives they admire. And as seasoned individuals in a profession, I firmly believe in leading by example. Whether we recognize it or not, we are being watched and setting an example for future generations."
Kim makes a concerted effort to be available to the younger associates with whom she works. “I crossed paths with Stasia Krahling, Senior Premier Banker at Wells Fargo’s La Costa Towne Center Consumer Bank branch, when we were working across lines of business on a client initiative. I felt right away she was a bright young star with enormous potential at Wells Fargo. Stasia is enthusiastic, positive and enjoys learning new skills. Stasia is the type of individual that I enjoy mentoring because she is inquisitive and self-reflective. I know how important it is for her to achieve the goals she has set for herself."
While mentoring is one aspect that Kim loves about her job, she also loves being an advocate for her clients. "My role is to work with high-net-worth families and advise them in managing their wealth. This doesn't mean just managing investments. It's much more complex than that because family dynamics are complex. I get to listen to clients discuss their goals and financial objectives, and really hear what drives them. What motives them and what they desire for their family legacies. I then articulate these complexities with various specialists and advocate for the family within Wells Fargo."
What was the single most important event or challenge that led you to the leadership position you currently hold? "I would say support. Support at work and support at home. At work, that support is having the resources available to perform my job to the best of my abilities and having a mentor and internal advocate is a great way to ensure this. It is wonderful when you get to know people at work and have those connections where they can amplify your accomplishments. In my opinion, it’s equally important for a professional to have a strong support system at home.
Many women I have spoken to over the years have attributed career success to a supportive partner. Kim admits that it is a necessity. "My husband has been wonderful in supporting my career. There have been times when I have had to travel quite a bit, and he had to do whatever he needed to work and care for the children while I was traveling. That's not easy on the spouse left at home to pick up the pieces and can be tough on a marriage. So, their support is critical if it's going to work."
This was my perfect opportunity to delve deeper into Kim's personal life, as we all want to really get to know the women on our pages. So, your husband, Keith, and you were married right out of college. "Yes, and I am the one who asked him out!" I must admit this was not a big surprise to me. Kim is a go-getter and certainly focuses on what she wants. This is definitely the woman you want looking after your wealth. "We were married right after college and had two beautiful children: our daughter, Berkeley, who is 25, and our son, Bryson, who is 22. My daughter is on the autism spectrum, which is important because it's part of what made me who I am. She has had various challenges in her young life. And I learned a lot from her."
Kim's children did not follow in her footsteps but instead went on to do what filled their hearts. "Berkeley has spent a great deal of time over her lifetime with psychologists. As a result, she decided to go into the field of psychology. Early on in her life, I didn't think she would graduate high school, but she did! I didn't think she'd go to college, but she did! I wasn't quite sure she would graduate, but she did, and now she's a behavioral technician working with children on the autism spectrum. She goes into people's homes and helps teach the children and, tangentially, the parents. I would say, in some ways, she is one of my mentors. She taught me a lot about who I am. In teaching her emotional skills and advocating on her behalf with health professionals, I learned to be patient, kind and less judgmental." Kim is equally proud of her son Bryson who recently graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is a mechanical engineer. “He graduated and, two days later, he began working at his new job. He has a wonderful girlfriend and is taking on adulthood with a flourish."
With her children no longer living at home, Kim found herself with free time, but not for long as she decided to volunteer. "I started looking at volunteer opportunities and thought, how can I make the most impact in the community? And I thought it was taking the skills I learned with my daughter and applying them. It was complicated navigating an environment where she was considered different, especially in the public school system. Fortunately, we had the ‘time, talent and treasure’ to navigate the complexities with Berkeley. But what happens to parents and children who don't? So, I started volunteering through "Voices for Children" as a court-appointed special advocate for foster youth. Similar to my job at Wells Fargo’s Private Bank, my volunteer role is to listen to the youth, coordinate with their team of professionals and advocate on their behalf within the legal system. And I have been doing that for the last five years.
Not that there appears to be much time left with her job and volunteering, but Kim and her husband manage to fit in their love for sports. "We are Raiders fans. My husband and I have season tickets and often fly to Las Vegas for the games. We also have season tickets for the Padres, which was super exciting this year." When she and her husband aren't watching sports, they participate. Kim is an avid golfer and also enjoys time playing pickleball.
I asked if Kim had any suggestions for our readers who might be interested in following a similar professional path. "I would suggest that success is not all about knowledge, education or a particular path. There needs to be a balance between that knowledge, the IQ, and EQ. IQ is one's mental ability relative to peers, while EQ, referring to emotional intelligence, is the ability to articulate or apply that knowledge to the world around you. I think it’s the combination of both IQ and EQ that have contributed to my success. It's not only about knowledge but also being able to use that knowledge motivating and influencing others.“