Riding Toward Success

November 3, 2015 //
Johanna Walters
Johanna Walters

Johanna Walters’ networking skills landed her in wealth management, where she began as a Client Associate and worked her way to Senior Vice President – Wealth Management

Johanna L. Walters

BBA ’00 | Senior Vice President, Wealth Management and Wealth Management Advisor, Glassman Walters Associates, Merrill Lynch

Hometown: Muskegon, Mich.

Guiding with math: “My work is like a complicated math word problem. I gather all of the puzzle pieces of clients’ lives and provide the answers and guidance to help them achieve their goals and dreams.”

Her love of horseback riding put Johanna Walters, BBA ’00, on track to become a Senior Vice President – Wealth Management and Wealth Management Advisor within one of Merrill Lynch’s largest wealth management practices, Glassman Walters Associates.

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the then-18-year-old student calculated the costs and benefits of pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

“After mapping it out, I realized I would never be able to own my horse, which was something I really wanted,” Walters recalled.

She transferred to the Fox School of Business to study finance and business law, and reconnected with her former employer — and future business partner — Saly Glassman. As a teen, Walters worked in Glassman’s stables and watched her daughter in exchange for horseback riding lessons.

Glassman offered Walters a 20-hour-per-week job at her Merrill Lynch office. This job, along with her Fox School classes, influenced Walters’s interest in wealth management. Walters graduated and joined the firm as a Client Associate. She worked her way up to her current role as Senior Vice President – Wealth Management of Glassman Walters Associates at Merrill Lynch.

“It’s amazing to work on one of the largest wealth management teams in the firm. We are fortunate to have a lot of autonomy to continue to create unique solutions for our clients.” Walters said. “Although with that work comes great responsibility.”

Walters never let hurdles get in her way. Although gender bias is still an issue in the industry, Walters does see improvement as more women continue to enter the field. Early in her career, Walters’ age presented challenges, at times, since some had difficulty taking a young person seriously. Being a successful wealth management advisor helped her exceed expectations.

Walters said her ongoing professional and personal successes proves you can excel when you believe in yourself and have a vision.

“Be honest and come from a place of integrity,” Walters adds. “If you can do that, you will be successful.”