Hear and Persevere: Inspiring Stories of Dynamic Women – Lori Hardwick

“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

Lori Hardwick

Chairman and Board Member, Riskalyze
CEO, Wealth Tech, RedRock Strategic Partners, LLC


Lori is a 25-year veteran of the wealth tech industry and known for her intense passion for continuous improvement on behalf of financial advisors and the firms that serve them. Today, Lori is Chairman of Riskalyze where she helps guide strategy and product solutions as part of the Riskalyze executive team.

She also serves as CEO of Wealth Tech for RedRock Strategic Partners providing C-suite consulting and thought leadership to financial services firms.

In 2017, Lori co-founded Advisor Innovation Labs (AI Labs), where she and her colleagues were focused on building intuitive ‘systems of engagement’ between advisors and their clients, creating a more meaningful relationship, via a digital interaction layer. Prior to founding AI Labs, Lori served as Chief Operating Officer for Pershing, a BNY Mellon company, sharing leadership responsibility with the CEO for managing the Pershing family of companies.  Previously, Lori was Group President of Advisory Services for Envestnet. She had been with Envestnet since its founding in 2000.

Lori has been recognized by many industry publications; “Winner in Wealthtech” by Wealth Management Today, A “Woman to Watch” by InvestmentNews, and was included in the Investment Advisor’s list of “The 25 Most Influential People in the Financial Industry”, among others.

In addition to Riskalyze, Lori was named to the Board of Directors for both Vestwell and AI Labs.  She is also an active member of Ben Franklin’s Tech Partners External Review Committee in Philadelphia, and serves on the Executive Committee for the Envestnet Institute on Campus.


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

Lori: I have a broad and diverse background in financial services, and some of that was by design, and some of it was by accident. Nuveen Investments was where I first learned of my love of working with advisors. In 1997, I went to my boss at the time, Ami Tully, with a business plan on how Nuveen could approach the RIA market. We built a small division, which I am told, is now one of the largest inside Nuveen.

In December ’99, Jud Bergman, Jim Lumberg, Brandon Thomas, Bill Crager, and I all left Nuveen to start a fintech company. Of course, fintech was not what it was called back then. But it was a cloud-based technology that independent advisors could use to streamline their business, scale, and compete with the wirehouses.

I’ve kept my entrepreneurial spirit alive with my company, Advisor Innovation Labs, which I founded with Mike Zebrowski in 2017. Prior to that, I’d spent some time at Pershing and currently, I serve as Chairman of Riskalyze and CEO of Wealth Tech at RedRock Strategic Partners. All of my experience has really allowed me to bring a unique and valuable lens when working with firms either as a board member, or in a consulting capacity, to grow and thrive.

If you had one wish for a “do-over” in your career, what would that be and why?

Lori: When I was hired to be COO at Pershing, I came in to that role really feeling like, “They really want change. They’re ready to transform.” I went there guns-a-blazing, and looking back, I should’ve listened more and pushed less.

When folks didn’t want to change, I was adamant that they should, rather than taking the appropriate time to understand the reasons for why they felt that whatever I was proposing, maybe was not a good idea.

Had I taken a moment to really hear them, it would have been a lot easier to get alignment across the organization. It’s a large organization that takes time to think through and rationalize new ideas. That is a very honest and candid answer as to what my career ‘do over’ would be.

Who is your most influential mentor?

Lori: Jud Bergman. Of course, when someone passes, you think about all that they’ve taught you and how much they influenced you. We worked together for nearly 24 years, and he would throw things at me and say ‘you can do this Lori’.  He had such trust in us as a team, and me as a person, to move things ahead for the company.. Because of that, I took on uncomfortable things, that I normally would not have leaned into. It was my natural instinct to say, “I am not qualified to do that”, but he would never take that as an answer.

But right before he decided to leave Nuveen and start Envestnet, I actually said to him, “I would like to work with you on this new business idea you have.” He said, “I don’t think you’re the start-up kind of person.” I was 29 years old with two babies at home, and so he would challenge me by saying, “You have a young family. You may go months without a paycheck. Are you sure you really want to do this?” But I always felt like Jud was a brilliant guy and a visionary, and I felt sure about my decision when I followed him.

He used to publically tease me much later, “Can you believe I almost talked Lori out of coming to this company? Where would we be if it wasn’t for Lori?” because had such an appreciation for what I had done to help grow the company and create the culture of Envestnet. In a way, it was because of him that I had the confidence to pursue opportunities outside of Envestnet. He was always one of my strongest supporters and I will miss him.

On behalf of all of us at Copytalk, we extend our deepest condolences to Jud Bergman and Mary Miller-Bergman’s family, friends, and colleagues. Our prayers are with you.