We are a community of women committed to lifting each other up through financial empowerment.
Hi there! I'm Leah. I didn't grow up thinking I would be a business owner or a financial planner, for that matter.
When I went to college, I studied sociology and was fascinated by the study of social change. When I went on to grad school, I became a teacher.
The transition from teacher to administrative assistant to investment analyst to business owner was a windy road, but it taught me the importance of embracing change and taking risks. I had to learn new skills, expand my network, and be open to opportunities.
But it was all worth it. I've discovered a passion for helping people manage their money better, and I still get to teach every day as my clients grow into more educated investors.
So, if you're feeling stuck, I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone. You never know where it might lead you.
Imagine this. You're sitting in a meeting and you receive a phone call...a call that will change your life as you know it. In 2013, I got that call. I will never forget that day.
My ex-husband and I went from no children one day to 3 children (ages 1, 4, and 5) three days later. We had no toys, no car seats, and no clothes for them. The children were coming to us from the foster care system. Each came with a garbage bag that did have some clothes - many they had already outgrown. The two oldest each had one toy and my daughter also had a blankie. That was it. They needed EVERYTHING.
We had been waiting for this call for several months as we were planning to adopt but this was not quite what we had in mind. We thought we would adopt one child, two at the most. We never even considered three at once.
It was amazing to have our family explode over night but it was scary, too. We made the decision out of the love in our hearts but didn't even consider the financial consequences. It was a budgeting nightmare. I didn't know how we were possibly going to provide for these kids.
All of our priorities literally changed over night.
My ex-husband and I quickly learned that we did not parent well together. Couple that with the financial stress we were under and we soon realized that staying married was not in the cards for us.
Not long after we divorced, I reconnected with a friend I knew in college. After a whirlwind romance where he won my heart and the hearts of my children, we got married.
In 2015, after I was divorced and before I got remarried, I lost my job as an equity research analyst. I applied for other jobs but I couldn't find anything that offered the flexibility I needed to grow professionally while also prioritizing being a mom.
The decision was made. I dove head first and started my own business full-time. I first established Great Lakes Divorce Financial Solutions as a way to provide compassionate financial guidance to those going through divorce. However, my clients wanted more. I opened Great Lakes Investment Management shortly thereafter as a way to maintain client relationships with ongoing financial planning and investment management.
Watch Her Thrive grew out of a passion project of mine.
I never had the kind of money that would require guidance from a traditional financial advisor, but I have had a lot of challenging financial times in my adult life (becoming a parent, getting divorced, and losing my job, to name a few). Times when careful financial planning was critical to my peace of mind.
Watch Her Thrive is about providing you with support regardless of where you're at. In addition to private offerings through our sister companies and group programs, there is a free Facebook community available to any woman who needs support.