Kristen Ledbetter wasn’t one of those kids that always had “her head in the clouds”…but she was a kid that always had clouds on her mind. Growing up, she wanted to be a meteorologist—fascinated by the idea that the shapes of clouds could predict weather patterns upon which plans were made.
However, she then began to notice how angry people would get, especially those who had made plans based on those predictions, when a sunny day turned out rainy. Reasoning that she didn’t want to spend her life being blamed for bad weather, she set off on a different path.
She headed to college to study marketing, but ended up becoming equally fascinated with concepts such as supply and demand, GDP, and financial yield curves. She thought through how she could combine the love of marketing with the fascination tied to numbers. And that set her on the path to pursuing a career in financial services.
One of the things she finds most rewarding in what she does every day is the ability to look at numbers to help people plan—and to look more deeply beyond numbers to find ways to help clients on areas they may not even have considered. A shining moment for her is helping clients review beneficiaries on their accounts to ensure the information is up to date.
Kristen’s love of numbers influences her “Plan B”—that is, what she might have done if she hadn’t pursued this career. Her mom was a math major in college and drilled her kids constantly on concepts. Although the math drills seemed mundane at the time, it helped Kristen teach concepts to her own children in the future. Kristen could see herself running a math center to help others in the same way.
Kristen’s daughter had a major influence on her—helping her to overcome a very real terror: the class pet. They were given the opportunity to care for the class’s lizard for the week and Kristen’s daughter assured her she would do ALL of the work and one day in Kristen found herself doing ALL the work—cleaning his enclosure, feeding him his crickets, overcoming each day the terror that the lizard would jump out at her and land on her head. But survive she did and related story: the family has no pets.
Kristen loves reading autobiographies and stories of those who have overcome struggles; it helps her keep perspective on her own life. A favorite is Maya Angelou’s story, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings—if you’ve got a good suggestion, Kristen is open to it!
And if you’re wondering who Kristen is reminding you of—she gets told often that she looks like Jada Pinkett Smith. We think her smile is even bigger and brighter than Jada’s, though.