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PRIDE Month Feature - Q&A with University of Akron alumni Jessica Rorar, B.B.A. in Financial Services

To celebrate PRIDE Month, we’re spotlighting LGBTQ+ students and professionals in the wealth management industry.  Jessica Rorar, a member of the LGBTQ+ community and Certified Financial Planner, shares her perspective on how she fits into the financial planning field and gives her advice to young LGBTQ+ professionals and students on how to position themselves in the industry.

What personality traits do you think make you a good candidate to work in the field?

An individual has to be naturally curious and have a passion for learning to be in the financial planning industry. Financial planning is truly an art. There are so many creative solutions and strategies to learn which can enhance a client’s unique situation.

Those interested in this field should be open to learning and building upon their existing knowledge foundation throughout their career as regulations change. Folks also need to be able to listen to clients –70% of client meetings should be listening to clients and showing engagement as well as understanding their situation. Empathy can go a long way in this field!

What advice would you give to other LGBTQ+ students/young professionals thinking about joining the industry?

LGBTQ+ individuals are largely underserved in regard to financial planning. There is an opportunity to connect with clients who feel comfortable working with you due to commonality. Clients like to work with someone who can fully understand the unique challenges they go through day to day.

Financial planning isn’t only about asset management, it is also about helping clients think through family planning such as marriage, adoption, or starting a family. Working with an individual who is going through the same life events or who has experienced those life events creates a special bond and comfortability where LGBTQ+ clients can truly be themselves with you.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?

You have to feel comfortable being your true authentic self. The only way you can excel in your career is to feel confident and comfortable in your own skin. Hiding certain portions of your life will do nothing but hinder your career growth and the connections you build with others. You never know, you may be changing someone’s outlook on the LGBTQ+ community in a positive way if that person doesn’t usually have LGBTQ+ individuals in their close circle.

What has been your favorite financial planning course so far and why?

My favorite financial planning course was the capstone financial planning course offered during my senior year at The University of Akron. I graduated in the Fall of 2014 with a B.B.A. in Financial Services. The University of Akron offered all of the prerequisite courses for me to be able to sit for the Certified Financial Planner™ exam after graduation which immensely impacted my career trajectory.

The capstone course prepared me to successfully pass the CFP® exam after graduation. We reviewed holistic case studies and crafted financial plans. I was able to use everything I learned from my investment, estate planning, and insurance courses and apply that knowledge to these case studies. This course solidified my choice of choosing financial planning as a career.

Tell us about your family.

I have been married to my wife, Katie Rorar, since September 2018. We recently welcomed our beautiful daughter, Adley Kate Rorar, to the world in January 2022. We enjoy taking walks as a family and trying new restaurants. We can’t wait until Adley can try new foods!

Jessica Rorar, CFP® is a Director, Investments & Financial Technology at Valmark Financial Group. She graduated with a Financial Services degree and Spanish minor from the University of Akron.

Jessica, an LGBTQ+ community member, believes in exhibiting authenticity in the financial services industry. She insists that the greatest strength of industry professionals representing marginalized groups is the potential to serve clients from similar backgrounds.