Forging success through the power of positivity, featuring Margaret H. Folk

margaret folkMargaret Folk is a firm believer in the power of positivity. She has learned that in her profession, as in personal life, approaching a challenge as an opportunity rather than a barrier—whether it’s helping a client or advancing in your career—can have a profound impact on your success.

Margaret has no memory of the tragedy that changed her life forever. She was just three months old when her father died, an event that turned her family’s world upside down. Margaret’s mother was suddenly left with the sole burden of providing for the family as a waitress while simultaneously putting herself through college. “Life is hard,” Margaret says pragmatically. “It’s the reason I became a financial advisor. I want to help others.”

Margaret credits her early loss with building her resilience. “When life starts with loss, you just always think about loss. I just taught myself to live life to the fullest, and understand that hard things are going to get in your way…but by staying positive….that’s how you move forward.”

Her advice to others who need to build resilience is to keep going and never give up. She firmly believes women tend to be better positioned than men to handle obstacles because women so often, and for so long, have been doing it all—raising children, working, serving as caregivers. “Life is tough,” she says, but one can “stay resilient by being positive.”

Stay resilient by being positive.

Margaret found extra support in her life in the network of financial advisors she built around her. It is this network of trusted colleagues and friends who make up her “social safety net,” and who are responsible for much of her success. “Those people in your network become your professional family… [The network] continues to help build you up,” she explains. Success inevitably follows with that kind of support.

The most important lesson Margaret has learned, though, is to “be patient.” Life is a marathon. Being patient means looking back and seeing where you’ve come from, and seeing where you are today. It’s important to understand that “you will come out stronger.”

Be patient.

She advises women just starting out in the business to take the notion of patience to heart. But it’s also crucial to give oneself grace. It’s easy to give up in difficult times. The hardest part is staying positive and doing the work of building networks bigger and smarter.

Margaret is working arduously to encourage more women financial advisors, much as she was and continues to be. She currently serves as a mentor for a class of new women financial advisors through Raymond James’ advisor mastery program. She’s also actively working to change the notion of what a financial advisor looks like, and “help people understand that the stereotypical financial advisor is me, and it can be you.”

Margaret has big plans for the future of her business. At the end of next year, she’ll take over her partner’s practice and run the business alone. Her first order of business is to drop the clients she feels are a drain on the staff. “Life is short and you should work with people you like,” she says. To make up for the loss, she is actively looking for a more diverse group of clients. She explains, “I want to diversity my practice because there are many people who are left behind. Anyone who needs it should feel my practice is inclusive.” True to form, Margaret remains steadfast in her commitment to help others on their difficult journeys.

Life is short and you should work with people you like.


Q+A with Margaret

What is your hometown?
“Lancaster, Pennsylvania.”

How long have you been in the financial services industry?
“Since 2015.”

What’s your theme song?
“‘You Don’t Own Me’ by Lesley Gore.”

What or who inspires you?
“My mother.”

What are two charities close to your heart?
The Junior League of Lancaster, Pa. and Leadership Lancaster.”

Follow along on social media with #RJWomen.