Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, and attending an all-girls high school, Sallie Behnke remembers her mother always encouraging her to pursue her dreams. His father, a business owner, taught him the value of hard work. These valuable lessons learned at home and at school inspired her to pursue her passions and developed her drive to succeed, regardless of gender.
When Sallie arrived on the University of Missouri campus as a freshman, she quickly realized that the values instilled in her in high school would not only allow her to survive, but also to thrive. She found herself more emboldened to share her thoughts and ideas with confidence than many of her female peers.
As an intern, while participating in a five-year program to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting, Sallie discovered a passion for finance. She still remembers going back to college and telling her friends all about the principle of capitalization. A chartered accountant, Sallie worked for a few years as a tax advisor at Ernst & Young, where she advised clients on personal financial matters and then transitioned into wealth management.
A financial advisor for more than 20 years now based in Dallas, Texas, Sallie says her favorite part of her job “is working with clients, many of whom are entrepreneurs and self-made. I love to hear their stories of how they succeeded. But just as important, I love hearing about their failures and how they overcame them. It’s really inspiring to me.
Wynn, Sallie’s youngest son, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 17 months old. Overnight, his life changed. She and her husband realized “it would take a whole village to take care of him”.
Camp Sweeney was a big part of this village. The Gainesville, Texas-based camp’s mission is to teach children how to deal with the highs and lows of diabetes, managing both the medical and emotional components. Wynn’s attendance at camp with medical staff who could help meet her needs 24/7 was a gift to their family, Sallie says. She and her husband are active fundraisers for the camp, which does not turn away any children for financial reasons. Whether it’s hosting an annual gala or hosting events at their home, their wish is “that magical experience for every child with type 1.”
Sallie will tell you that she is proud to have balanced her career while raising her two sons. She is grateful to have chosen wealth management, which is a “great industry, especially for women”. She smiles as she remembers the day she had a particularly important client meeting; her boys’ school had been cancelled, and she was frantically driving them to their nanny when Wynn said, “Oh mom, why don’t you stop; It’s too hard.” Immediately, before she could say anything, her brother Will, who was only six years old at the time, replied, “Oh no, mum can’t take her She loves it and she’s so good at what she does.
Today, Sallie is known to be a strong advocate for the advancement of women, particularly within the firm, constantly mentoring others and sharing ideas to help them grow their practices. She serves on the board of directors of Texas Wall Street Women and is a founding member of Morgan Stanley’s Dallas Women’s Advisory Council, which aims to make the company the best place for women investors, advisors and employees. “It all comes down to the women standing up for themselves, to make sure their worth is seen,” she insists. “It is also very important that we support each other in our careers. This advice helps us do both.
Recently appointed Morgan Stanley MAKER, Sallie joins a distinguished group of women and men, all nominated by their peers for serving as advocates, pioneers and innovators for the advancement of women. Other recognitions include appointment to the Forbes’ Best in State Wealth Advisors in recent years as well as the working mother‘s Top Wealth Advisor Moms, and the Dallas Business Journal‘s 2015 40 Under 40.
For Sallie, being a MAKER means helping women get where they want to be. Her advice to any young person, especially women, is to “make sure you stand up for yourself from day one, that you speak your mind loud and clear. Also, make sure you get rewarded for the value you bring to the table. »
Sallie believes in education for career advancement and has earned the Chartered Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) designation. She also earned the title of Family Wealth Director at Morgan Stanley, which “required a dedication to the pursuit of lifelong learning.”
In fact, she advises others to “enjoy learning and make sure you learn new things every day because” it will keep you engaged and inspired.