Lisa A. Brown, CFP®, Greenwood Gearhart's Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, was recognized as a member of the 2020 group of honorees in Talk Business & Politics' Women in Business feature in the June issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. You can read Lisa's profile in the digital version of the NWA Business Journal on TBP's website through the link below.
Lisa has been a transformational leader in Greenwood Gearhart's recent history, helping to grow and refine the firm's financial planning services and provide scale in every aspect of the business's operations. Read Lisa's whitepaper Redefining the Client Experience below or access a PDF Version through the link below.
Lisa Brown: Redefining the Client Experience
If you're familiar with Greenwood Gearhart's recent history, the name Lisa Brown might have a familiar ring to it. Having served from 2001 to 2006 as an Intern and Client Service Associate, Lisa has experienced much change at 26 East Center Street, both operationally and personally. Now serving as the firm's Chief Operating Officer (COO) & Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), Lisa's responsibilities encompass the oversight and refinement of the day-to-day processes that help Greenwood Gearhart (GGI) perform at the highest level for clients, as well as the regulatory measures necessary to maintain adherence to SEC mandates.
Following her time with then-Greenwood & Associates, Brown pursued other business interests, most recently working in a leadership role with a large wealth management practice inside a national financial services firm. During her time away, she developed broad leadership skills and deep knowledge of the investment and wealth management industry, particularly in financial planning. It only affirmed her passion for the work that GGI does with its clients and the business model the firm has followed for nearly 37 years: one that places the client’s interests above all else.
Returning to Northwest Arkansas and Greenwood Gearhart in 2016, Brown – the firm’s first Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) – assumed the role of Director of Financial Planning. She provided new perspective, greatly expanding the firm’s planning practice. With the addition of Corbin Foster and Jett Moore as members of the financial planning team, Lisa was promoted to Managing Director in 2018 to assist in general firm operations and oversight. Although Lisa’s role has expandedfrom Director of Financial Planning, to Managing Director, and now COO & CCO, her primary focus is to promote the importance of a comprehensive financial plan as a key part of the wealth management process.
“Having a larger talented financial planning team has brought fresh perspective and new and innovative ideas to our planning work and has allowed me to maintain my strategic focus with clients. I see this service as one of the most important things we do and something that we need to continue to feed and refine so that we are positioned to provide this work for each client who finds value in it.”
Greenwood Gearhart’s financial planning purpose is twofold: first, by providing clients with peace of mind that they will be able to meet their unique financial goals; and second, making the process easy on our clients from the first conversation to implementation. The overarching goal is to simplify what others may overcomplicate, taking a conversational approach and ensuring that their financial plan is a living, breathing document.
By continually keeping in contact with each planning client on a cadence that fits their specific needs, the firm’s financial planning team can ensure proper monitoring of a client’s circumstances as their lives evolve. This process involves “fanatical attention to detail”, one of Greenwood Gearhart’s core values and something that Brown stresses in every facet of the firm’s operations.
“I believe technology will continue to support and enhance our planning process, but that there is a human and relational element that cannot be replaced by technology. My hope is that we continue to find new resources to help us plan efficiently for more and more clients, while allowing us to maintain and enhance relationships with each one of them.”
Beyond the planning process, “fanatical attention to detail” is something that Brown feels that is crucial to embrace within every aspect of the business as the firm continues growth. Within her role as COO, Lisa has shifted her focus to ensure that client needs are exceeded and accomplished with considerable efficiency.
“As I have zoomed out a bit, I spend time thinking about how we get from A to Z on any client process, how we can arrive there more efficiently and provide even better results for our clients. More often than not, if I have an idea or see a need, I can reach out to any member of our team and our collective talents are able to provide a solution, which is always better than something I could have thought of on my own. It is so energizing to spend each day in such a collaborative environment with such talented people.”
This team-based wealth management approach is one which Brown believes has been transformational in both the firm and each team member’s development.
“I have and will continue to learn that empowering others is important for growth and innovation. Learning to let go and trust our teammates is paramount to growth and change. This is something I think our firm culture feeds well and something I want to continue to feed. I am so honored to be in this role and always want to keep perspective on the great responsibility it carries for the firm and our clients.”
The responsibility to the firm’s clients is central to Lisa and each team member’s focus within Greenwood Gearhart. One tenet of the firm’s strategy and guiding principles is to constantly keep in touch with its core values to ensure that each client relationship is one with meaning and purpose.
“Our clients are the reason we are here and should always be at the center of our work. Our ambitious nature means that we want to continue to grow and serve more clients, but we must remain diligent to make every client know that they are so important to us and to execute on anything we do for them with the highest quality possible.”
Lisa’s attention to detail, care and concern, and servant leadership extend well beyond the walls of the firm. Brown is a mother of 3 young boys, Finley, Griffin, and Palmer. Her oldest son, Finley, was recently a graduate to the “long term survivor program” in June 2019 as a result of his fight against cancer.
“First and foremost, my faith in God and perspective on life remains forever changed by my experiences. Every day really is a gift. I’ve learned to embrace and appreciate challenges because they can lead to great and unexpected blessings if I allow them to. In my role as a leader, I seek to always bring humanity to my actions for our team and our clients.”
Lisa Brown has helped to transform the client experience by providing meaningful insight from her personal experiences and professional expertise. Through her constant monitoring and oversight of every aspect of the firm’s day-to-day inner workings, she has allowed for the firm to flourish and continue its growth and innovation trajectory. If Lisa could summarize how she feels the firm approaches each unique client relationship, she wouldn’t spend time in specifics:
“Simply put, we care deeply about each of our clients and serving them in the right way.”
And that’s the only way to do business.