While Olivia Flynn (’20) had an idea of what her career path would be upon graduation, it was the introduction of a new Financial Planning and Wealth Management course that brought it into focus.
“Professor Brian Kallback (’02) came to Loras the fall of my sophomore year, and he did not waste any time making an impact on the finance program. During the spring semester, he offered the first Financial Planning & Wealth Management course and encouraged me to take it. I always knew I would pursue finance, but I never knew how I would best make a career of it. This class was a great introduction to financial planning, but it was also a great networking opportunity,” she said.
Currently a resident in financial planning at Cornerstone Wealth Advisors, Inc. in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Flynn and fellow alumnus Logan Ben (’20) became the first two students to graduate with minors in Financial Planning and Wealth Management and pass the CFP exam.
Like Flynn, Ben knew financial planning was in his future and made it a reality through Loras.
“My grandfather often credited his financial advisor for his ability to retire early and spend time with his family,” he said. “I appreciated the time I was able to spend with my grandfather and ultimately value that time above all else. My grandfather also expressed confidence that if anything were to happen to him, his family would be financially secure. From an early age, I knew I wanted to have that same impact on other families so they could retire and spend that time with their families while having that financial security. The minor has allowed me to pursue my dream of making a positive impact on families’ financial success.”
Ben is now a financial advisor for Stackstone Wealth in Dubuque, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. He knows the combination of instruction and networking provided through the program played a crucial role in making his dream a reality.
“Loras provided a support system for me to lean on throughout my preparations,” he explained. “Loras and the Financial Planning and Wealth Management program opened doors to industry professionals who were able to provide me with guidance as I not only prepared for the exam but entered the workforce. One of those doors the Financial Planning and Wealth Management minor opened for me is with my employer, Stackstone Wealth. Not only did Loras provide me with the support needed to pass the exam but also introduced me to my employer. That work experience that begun my junior year was instrumental in developing my knowledge base to ultimately pass the exam.”
Flynn also cites the faculty support while at Loras for helping prepare her for her post-college pursuit.
“Loras is welcoming in many aspects, but what I am most appreciative of is their welcoming of new academic programs and student success. The support I received on campus inspired me always to do better. The ethics that Loras implements into our courses allowed me to understand the ethical standards required by the CFP Board extremely well. Again, Professor Kallback is a great teacher, coach, and mentor. He hosted mock exams once a semester that exposed us to the exam format very early on. Additionally, my finance professor, Dr. Eric Eller, taught the economic and financial fundamentals extremely well, which contributed greatly to my ability to comprehend the overarching ideas tested on the CFP exam. Loras does a great job of teaching the courses, providing us with opportunities in the community, and understanding and supporting students on an individual level,” she said.
These early returns of success for the program are due to the hard work of the faculty, according to Jim Padilla, dean of the Francis J. Noonan School of Business.
“A little over three years ago, professors Kallback and Eller developed this minor with the specific desire to help students properly prepare for the financial planning and wealth management field,” he said. “Under Brian’s leadership since that time, the program has taken off. Brian established two very committed advisory groups, including some incredible alumni of Loras College. Logan and Olivia are simply the proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg,’ and more students will successfully follow under Brian’s guidance and support.”
For Kallback, Flynn’s and Ben’s successes result from an effective program combined with motivated and driven students.
“It’s difficult to put into words how excited and proud I am for Logan and Olivia,” he said. “When I received the news from each of them, I felt like a proud parent and it was emotional. To realize the result of their hard work, dedication, curiosity, and drive to be the best is exciting. It was an honor to walk alongside them from the beginning of their journey to this point. Their future clients will receive the benefits of their knowledge and character. Logan and Olivia are wonderful representatives of our growing Duhawk financial planning community and serve as an example for their peers and future students. I am so proud of them.”
You can listen to Brian Kallback discuss the Financial Planning and Wealth Management program in this episode of the Duhawk Digest podcast.