Hear and Persevere: Inspiring Stories of Dynamic Women – Sally Cates

“Women, I hear you. And I revere you.

As a woman, and especially as a female CEO, I cherish the dynamic women whose counsel and support have inspired me to persevere throughout my career. And I cherish our own Amy Yoder, who has partnered with me to tell their stories – stories of how women overcame formidable challenges to rise to the top of their respective fields. For this new Copytalk initiative, Amy will focus her incredible talents on interviewing these woman and writing their stories, which we will publish as an ongoing series. Why are we doing this? Because I’m confident that these amazing stories – extraordinary women all – have something of great value to offer you, as well.”

– Maree Moscati, CEO,  Copytalk

Sally Cates

Share how your career path positioned you where you are today.

Sally: So I had a meandering career path. I was a history major in college and focused on English and writing, and then I spent five years at the beginning of my career at CBS covering Wall Street. Understanding the news business has been a huge benefit to me. That’s been a real differentiator for my career, knowing the news business in my bones.

In addition to that, in high school and college, I read a lot, and I was always writing. Once I started getting involved in financial services, I started writing on financial topics.

In my 11 years at Citigroup, I was often the only woman in the room, but I was the one that was able to articulate our initiatives, and as a result, I was very, very valuable. That gave me a seat at the table.

When I started working with Dynasty, those writing skills helped us shape our entire message.

Who is one of your most influential mentors?

Sally: The Dynasty CEO, Shirl Penney, is younger than me and has been a mentor in interesting, surprising ways. I’ve obviously been in the business a long, long time, but he comes at the business from a fresh point of view. He’s incredibly optimistic, and he taught me the benefits of being much more transparent.

I came out of a highly political atmosphere at Citigroup, and I pretty much had my armor on, game face on, and couldn’t trust anybody. Shirl leans toward being much more transparent in discussing the strategy of Dynasty, in discussing how we make our decisions.

He’s also a super optimistic person and knows how to take negative news and make it much more palatable. Sometimes, you have to say no, and he’s a master at it. Nobody feels badly, because it’s couched in very optimistic, positive terms. It actually comes off with people feeling fine about it and still appreciating working with him.

What recommendations would you have for young women?

Sally: I’m hoping that more young women will consider financial services as a career. The industry is much more open to having more women, and I want to get more women to join.

I’m doing what I can to highlight the women that I’m working with in various ways to give them more visibility and to show more role models. I look at some of our top female financial advisors, and they have flexibility. They are very well-compensated. They have really interesting jobs. But we still don’t see that many women joining the industry, and as I said, I think that needs to change.

Do you have any book recommendations you want to share and what you enjoyed about this?

Sally: I think probably my favorite book trilogy is the Elena Ferrante books, My Brilliant Friend. The book tells the tale of two girls and their intense and competitive friendship in post-War Italy. I really enjoyed how the book described how these two girls were able to navigate a complex society with restrictive views of women and achieve career and personal success through sheer persistence.


Ms. Cates is responsible for public relations for Dynasty Financial Partners and the Dynasty Network of Advisors. She has designed and managed worldwide public relations programs and has strong, sophisticated media relations and communications skills. Prior, she handled public relations for Standard Chartered Private Bank – Americas, International Planning Group and Evercore Wealth Management. Before that, she led corporate communications at Thomson Reuters and at Epsilon, a leading digital marketing firm. Before that, she was at Citigroup and led global communications for The Citigroup Private Bank.