I first recall meeting Teri Shepherd as she was a panelist for the Carson Group and thinking to myself, “WOW ~ she is truly amazing, inspirational, and a powerhouse!” No matter what the accomplishments in one’s life and career, we still all have the need to be empowered, to find those exceptional people whom we aspire to and respect fully. Teri Shepherd is truly one of those incredible leaders for me. We are so proud and honored to share her story.
– Maree Moscati, CEO, Copytalk
The Carson Group
How did your career path launch you to where you are today?
Teri: When I was in college, I really wanted to go into finance, but I was told there was really not a lot of job opportunity for people with a finance degree. I ended up getting an accounting degree, joined a CPA firm, and then quickly transitioned to the private corporate world. This company had 50 advisors at the time, and I just fell into the independent financial advisor space. Over the 10 years I was there, we grew it to 500 advisors, and the president of the company really took me under his wing and put me in a position to run the leadership meetings and lead different initiatives. So I think that the power of a mentor who is on your team and who can help raise you up to the next level as a leader is such an important thing. I continue to try to do that for others. I know that I really benefitted from that, and my mentor really positioned me in a way that helped me gain confidence. I was from a small town, and I never dreamed, really, of doing big business.
How has mentorship impacted your career?
Teri: The president at that initial firm really gave me the initial confidence, but I would say I still tended to be very silent. Over the last eight years, Ron Carson has given me not only a seat at the table, but a voice at the table. If we were in a board or executive meeting and he didn’t hear me speaking up, he would look at me and say, “Hey, Teri, what do you think?” Men who are business owners and businesses leaders need to do this if they’re looking to incorporate more women into their businesses, to take those types of opportunities to encourage them to speak up. Thoughtful leaders and mentors need to have that emotional intelligence and understanding to realize who is being silent. That is another level of leadership that is crucial in day-to-day interactions with your team.
What is one do-over you wish you could have in your career?
Teri: Well, I’m 43 now, and I feel really comfortable in my skin. If I could have a do-over, I would go back to my younger self and say, “Believe in yourself. Have confidence.” I was always a leader who was probably pretty silent and didn’t speak up unless I needed to. I would have exercised my voice more if I could go back. If you aren’t that voice, then sometimes the other voices are saying the wrong things. I certainly spoke up if I felt like the wrong things were being said, but I wasn’t driving it myself. I have learned that people want female leaders who are strong, respectful, and confident. My younger self struggled with that.
What was the best lesson you learned growing up in a small town?
Teri: I grew up in a wonderful town of 800 people. I had 14 people in my graduating class, but in truth I moved there in seventh grade, so I was the new kid in town. Yet everyone really adopted me as their own and welcomed me immediately. So the best lesson I gleaned was that everyone was so engaged in each other’s lives, and my small town taught me that it all starts with caring for people and thinking of others before ourselves. It’s really helped me nurture a sense of community at Carson.
As President at Carson Group, Teri Shepherd focuses on strategic planning and development, financial forecasting and analysis as well as continuous improvements to optimize the financial services client experience. Teri was the first female executive to join the Carson Group leadership team and now oversees the operations, technology, compliance, HR and talent, and legal teams that support more than 130 advisor firm locations. Teri loves to spend time with her husband, Glen, and three sons. Her family loves to go camping, water ski, play sports, and are big fans of Star Wars.