Jessica Westman grew up in Marsh Lake, but spent her school and work life in Whitehorse. Like many Yukoners who grew up in the territory, she left for 10 years to attend university and get work and life experiences before realizing there is no place like home. She moved back to Whitehorse in 2015 to start a new life.
Her father, Grant Westman, has been a financial consultant in Whitehorse for 20 years and has always wanted his daughter involved in the business. In 2016, that dream became a reality as she joined her father as a broker at the Investor’s Group. According to Westman it was a great opportunity to learn and be mentored by her successful and respected father.
When you sit down to chat, her tenacity, vivacious spirit and ability to strike up a conversation with anybody is evident.
“I felt ready. It isn’t a short term job, it’s a long term commitment,” Westman said.
She has opened a branch of the national financial management company Investors Group. As a financial consultant, her first meeting with clients is setting out goals and dealing with concerns.
“Whether it be a major purchase like a home, retirement planning, your child’s education or anything, we build tangible timelines with realistic monetary amounts,” Westman said. “We look at the whole picture of your financial life, focused on what’s best for the client.”
Starting out with no clients, she built her base through networking and local connections. In May her father retired and she took over his client roster as well.
Westman appreciates helping people identify ways to better plan finances.
“I like to educate people on the tools available,” Westman said. “Money isn’t the end all and be all, but it allows us to have a richer life with experiences. I want to ensure my clients have this kind of life and experiences.”
She is a local person who understands the opportunities and struggles of living up here in the Yukon.
“My schedule is flexible,” she said. “I can accommodate better than set institutions like banks and their hours. I can go to people’s houses with accessibility issues or children. Time and distance are flexible.”
Her long-term goal is to improve financial literacy, not just in Whitehorse, but the throughout territory. She has already reached out to the communities such as Faro and Dawson City and hopes to continue building relationships in other communities – even Atlin, B.C., where Westman is also a certified consultant.
“I want to be a prominent pillar in the financial consultant business in Whitehorse and the Yukon.”
She recognizes that It is a tough business to run, relying on commission and there are some big obstacles.
“Rejection is a hard thing. Putting yourself out there is a challenge,” Westman said. But she added that time and practice, building solid foundations, and building relationships help overcome those challenges.
For many, financial management has been predominantly associated with older men, but Westman is not finding being young and female to be an obstacle.
“I haven’t had any direct discrimination,” she said. “But I think there is a lack of female presence, not just in finance. Women have a natural inclination to risk aversion, which can be a benefit for long term sustainable growth.”
Westman shared some of the keys to being successful that she uses in her profession.
“Being accountable to yourself and task management,” Westman said. “Don’t be intimidated. Challenge old beliefs. Build a solid business plan. Determine your unique value proposition, what [you are] bringing to the table. The first place to start should be developing strong vision and mission statements.”
Westman is pleased with her decision to become a financial consultant.
“It’s an amazing feeling helping people live the life they want to live and using money as a tool to get them there,” she said. “My door’s always open.”
For more information check out Westman’s Facebook page at Jessica Westman – Investors Group.