Judy L. Redpath, CFP®, AIF® owns VISTA Wealth Strategies LLC located at 12020 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 180, Reston, VA 20191, a holistic financial services and wealth management firm (Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, a member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Advisor). Redpath is an active and avid supporter of community and charitable causes, and is an alumna of George Mason University where she earned her MBA. She recently served as a guest speaker at the School of Management’s How to Leave Your Legacy panel to encourage fellow alumni to continue to support Mason. Judy now shares a bit about her success, her industry, and the legacy she hopes to leave.
Tell us about your current professional responsibilities.
I own and manage an independent, holistic wealth management firm in Reston, Virginia. Our clients are small business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals and happy retirees. We focus on simplifying the complexities of our clients lives by focusing on their wealth systemically, designing and implementing plans that benefit them over their lifetime and beyond.
What has contributed to your success?
Passion for my work with clients combined with a positive focus, persistence combined with empathy and dedication to leadership and continuous learning.
Where do you see your industry headed over the next few years?
The financial planning profession is ever more regulated and many of us have migrated to working on a fee basis. There is a lot of opportunity for professional and personal growth serving clients in a variety of different capacities.
If you weren’t working in financial services, what other profession would you chose?
I am passionate about my work and my profession. I cannot imagine being involved professionally other than as a business owner, financial planner and wealth manager. This is my fourth career, and I will celebrate 16 years in this business in June 2012. Before I started my business, I was a business consultant and technology consulting manager and sales manager.
Are you involved with the community or any groups outside the workplace?
I became very involved with community organizations as soon as I started my own business, which afforded me the flexibility to schedule my time. I’ve been an active Rotarian for 15 years, taught classes on basic personal finances for Reston Interfaith, served for many years as the Selection Chair for the Best of Reston, served for 6 years on the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce Board, serve currently on the Board of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society National Capital Area Chapter, and served for 9 years on the board of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) National Capital Area Board, including President in 2006 and Chair 2007.
Do you think social media is helpful in your career? If so, how do you use social media?
Social media is becoming more accepted in business and important as a means of communicating. My business has a website, a LinkedIn profile and a Facebook page. Our industry is highly regulated, and we have constraints on how we can use social media today. Today we use our website to communicate the essence of our business and use LinkedIn to extend my network.
Tell us about a mentor that made an impact on your life.
My father was a great mentor to me throughout my life. He was in management in the retail industry. Dad taught me critical thinking skills, how to read and negotiate contracts, how to write and read resumes, how to hire and fire employees, how to make good business connections, and business etiquette.
Why did you choose George Mason University over other universities?
I chose George Mason University’s MBA program, because it was a part-time evening program focused on serving full-time employed business professionals who had at least five years of business experience, including some management expertise. The curriculum was oriented to practical application as well as theory. George Mason was a young university with great energy that attracted professionals who, like me, were intent on becoming excellent business leaders.
Where do you hope to see George Mason University and the School of Management in the next 5-10 years?
I hope to see GMU and its School of Management recognized as leaders in the Washington, DC metro area, and in the top 50 public universities in the US within the next 10 years. With a new University President with international expertise, and also Dean Haddock’s leadership, I expect and hope to see George Mason University address global issues of importance that affect us all.
Tell us about an unforgettable moment that occurred during your time at Mason.
I remember an assignment given in my capstone management class especially clearly. We had to write our own obituary as a classroom assignment. I struggled with writing mine and did not like the result. From that experience, I realized that I wanted to leave a significant legacy in the community. This event led to my starting my financial planning business in 1996 and becoming fully engaged in the local community.
What career/professional advice do you have for today’s college students?
Be patient, learn something new each day, listen carefully, ask for help and understand that it will take you 3 to 5 years to become a journeyman in whatever line of work you choose. Find work in a field about which you are passionate —time flies when you do work you love. Expect to change careers several times during your work life, and expect to work until at least age 70.