On the dividends of balance, featuring Cindy Boury

Cindy BouryDon’t leave yourself at the door when you step into your office, Cindy Boury, FCSI®, CIM®, FMA, said, or you’ll lose your heart.

“Your life experiences are the tough stuff,” she said. “They define you as an advisor. The more you care, the more it defines you. I take my life experiences and try to use them.”

So, as the leader of a thriving, multigenerational wealth management business, and the mother of two women who are unalike in so many ways yet perfectly suited for their work in the office, Boury has created an environment where balance is more than an ideal. It’s a practice.

(Bringing her daughters into the practice necessitated some firm barriers regarding the bounds of work and family, Boury said. She also brought in a separate supervisor for them.)

Her team of nine is a team, not a team of rivals – Boury redesigned the bonuses and compensation structure to match. Team members are cross trained, preferences are taken into account when handing out assignments, and when someone goes on vacation, they don’t come back to a mountain of paperwork on their desks. Flexibility in scheduling is largely assumed. Responsibility is gladly given.

“It rewards me. I see my team coming up, it gets me all choked up,” she said. These days, when the practice is hiring someone new, Boury takes a high-level approach, meeting with candidates essentially after they’ve been endorsed by her team. Her default position is to trust her teams’ judgment. When revisiting processes, the entire team gathers around a large printout of the flow and works out responsibilities.

“It’s a team, right, it doesn’t matter who does it if it gets done,” Boury said. This approach makes sure everyone is heard. It also makes her team strong and able to cover for one another when life happens.

“Make it work for the team and as long as the team agrees, we’re good.”

Part of her approach to leadership is in recognizing the value of others’ skills and perspectives. She offers an example with her two daughters, Susan Bonner and Sheryl Ward, who work for the practice as a portfolio manager assistant and business development specialist, respectively. The three were riding together in the car and passed a golf course as a player was making a 20-yard chip shot.

Boury asked her daughters what they saw. Bonner, a classic left brainer as described by her mother, noted the distance, trajectory and club selection. Sheryl Ward, a graphic artist by training, commented on the grass length, shadows and textures that belied the curvature of the course.

For Boury, this object lesson demonstrates a central tenet of her business – people bring different skills and arrive to solutions in different ways, so you have to give them the space to get there. Let them show you what they can do.

Boury knows this may sound a touch too utopic for some. Where’s the grind, they may ask? However, the results speak volumes. Her business is strong, her earliest clients are still with her, her practice handles difficult work, including the regulatorily complex, paperwork-heavy work of managing the finances of cross-border clients, and her team is happy.

“If you’re happy at home and you’re happy at work, money happens,” she said. “If you have life balance, and if you have the right reason, I think everything is achievable.”

“I’m just not that bottom line person,” she adds. “Do what’s right for people. When you do really good work the end result is the bottom line. It just shouldn’t be what drives and defines you.”

This piece was featured in Aspire Magazine, a biannual publication from the Women Financial Advisors Network. View the latest.

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