What impact do you want to have on your industry, or change you want to see or make happen?
I created a “Women Focused” wealth advisory practice in New Jersey because I wanted to help women bridge the confidence gap when it comes to investing. With extensive global investing experience and a career that spans more than 28 years and three continents, I have often seen how the financial planning industry fails to adequately address women’s unique needs and perspectives.
Financial success is a goal for many, but women face unique barriers that can make that goal more difficult to achieve. Women live longer, earn less and head far more single-parent households than do men. Many married women still defer much of their financial decision-making to spouses. Yet nine out of 10 women will handle their own finances at some point in their lives.
Today, all women — single or married, widowed or divorced, need to plan-ahead for their financial well-being and that of their families.
I want women in New Jersey to understand today’s financial landscape so that they can rise to the challenge, know their worth and take control of their futures. While I can’t create economic equality overnight, I can help make sure every woman in New Jersey is fully equipped, supported and prepared to pursue her own unique goals.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
My biggest success has to be the formation of WHEEL (Women, Helping Educate & Enhance Life), a volunteer organization designed to educate and empower women in transition by providing access to free expert advice through networking and educational seminars.
When I went through my divorce in 2015, I recognized there was a void for a support group that encompasses all aspects of change in a woman’s life. Even as a successful businesswoman with a finance background, I was overwhelmed with the enormity of change. Merely through trial and error, I pieced together a “Super-Women” transition team that helped me through my toughest days. In the years after my divorce, I realized that I was not the only woman seeking practical tools and education to help map out a new life. Hence, the idea for W.H.E.E.L. was born.
There are eight core spokes of W.H.E.E.L. to help support and educate women: Legal, Finance, Health, Career, Medical, Grief Management, Mental Health and Mindfulness.
My commitment at W.H.E.E.L. is to always provide women with access to free educational resources. The WHEEL Board members volunteer their services through a combination of free educational seminars, free online content and through our articles in local magazines.
When was the moment you realized you made it – when you realized you could play at the top of your field?
In 2018, I realized that I had unique skills to influence the way women navigate their financial health. After a career break from the corporate world and a divorce, I returned to wealth management through Geeta Brana Wealth, my own boutique independent advisory firm established in Monmouth County. The focus of my practice is on “Women In Transition” – assisting women in all phases of their lives. Over the past five years, I have created a unique firm that blends extensive corporate experience with compassionate local service.
I knew earlier this year that I had made it when we received a record number of new referrals from local community professionals including CPAs, attorneys and charitable organizations. In February 2023, we also hosted our first in-person event (after COVID-19) called Women, Wealth & Well Being Level Up Party. Our success was evidenced by the number of attendees (150) that also included prominent community leaders. We are valued for our empathy, compassion, and commitment to helping local women achieve their goals and dreams.
Describe your active involvement in community organizations where you have made a significant impact.
At Geeta Brana Wealth, we are deeply committed to serving our local New Jersey community. A portion of our income is re-distributed back to the community to provide resources to women going through difficult life transitions. Over the past few years, we have provided ongoing support to the following:
- WHEEL: Women Helping to Educate & Enhance Life (2018-2023)
- Sponsorship of MANAVI, New Jersey charity that fights against gender-based violence (April 2023)
- Sponsorship of Stephy’s Place, a 501© 3 organization that offers free services to those suffering the loss of a loved one (September 2022 & 2023)
- Geeta Brana & Goldman Sachs hosted the inaugural launch of The Anne Vogel Family Care & Wellness Center, Eatontown (May 2022)
- Sponsorship of the New Jersey State Bar Association (October 2022)
- Sponsorship of the NJ South Asian Bar Association (May & October 2023)
- Sponsorship of “Women In Law” events in New Jersey (Ongoing)
- Speaking engagement at Rutgers Law School on Financial Wellness (January 2023)
- Interview with Investor’s Business Daily (IBD), on impact of financial infidelity (January 2023)
- Educational articles in publications that reach 50,000 local residents of Monmouth County including The Journal and Monmouth County Woman Magazine (2018-2023)
- Free in-person seminars and events in New Jersey (2018 -2023). Our last Women, Wealth & Wellbeing event was in February 2023.
- Board position at No. 2 High School in New Jersey, Academy of Allied Health & Sciences (June 2023)
- Collaboration with MOB (Moms of Business), WE Forum & Local Assembly Women.
“Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference”
Who/What were your early influences and why?
My early career was on Wall Street where I had the privilege of working for Smith Barney/ Citigroup. I had an opportunity to work with Sallie L. Krawcheck former CEO of Citigroup’s Smith Barney unit, for which she was named to Time’s 2002 list of “Global Influentials” and Fortune’s Most Influential Person Under the Age of 40. She has been called “the most powerful woman” on Wall Street.
Sallie has always been a supporter of “Women & Wealth” initiatives and a big advocate on Wall Street for bringing about change in the financial services sector. Her success is inspiring as she is currently the CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a digital financial advisor firm for women launched in 2016.
Sallie has inspired women like me to pursue Independent Wealth Management with a unique focus on helping women reach their dreams and goals. My goal is to assist local New Jersey women bridge the gender gap through my investment practice and community work.
To learn more about our work, please visit www.GeetaBrana.com.