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Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®

Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Thank you for taking time to review my spotlight. I am an Independent Wealth Advisor, A Certified Financial Planner Professional™ and a Certified Kingdom Advisor®. This makes me uniquely qualified to help clients integrate their faith and their finances. With over 20 years of experience in the investment industry I design financial strategies for individuals, families and small business owners. My mission is to provide affordable financial planning services to those who are committed to creating a financially fit future. My focus is on helping clients through the maze of decisions they face regarding investments and retirement planning. I especially enjoy working with women who are taking charge of their financial futures, who are engaged and mindful of their financial decisions.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

My favorite Ellevate Network memory is relatively recent. I attended the Ellevate Houston – Book Club meeting a few weeks ago where we discussed Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brene Brown. As a small group we were able to enjoy an energizing yet intimate discussion. It was wonderful to engage with women willing to share and risk being “vulnerable” in front of each other. We explored living into our values where I shared my two overarching values of courage and faith. These are the two things that have guided me along my journey and never failed me. It’s events like this that prompted me to join the group. I work at home and love that I can avoid the crush of commuting in Houston traffic. However, I enjoy occasional opportunities to get out of my box and take advantage of all this wonderful city has to offer.

How would you define your professional mission?

Service. I am a teacher at heart which is partly what makes me a great advisor. Having spent a lot of years in training roles, I am geared toward making the complex language of personal finance simple. My mission is helping clients become better stewards of their God given resources in order to achieve their financial goals. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge acquired through years of corporate service and now be able to provide sound financial advice in a way that embraces Christian values.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

I believe that all financial decisions are emotional decisions. In order to be a successful advisor, you must be able to get to the emotions that are driving a client’s decisions. In order to do this well you have to be able to connect with people. I do this by remembering details. If it’s important enough for someone to share, it’s important enough for me to remember it. You must also be comfortable asking great questions and listening, really listening to the answer. To get to the good stuff usually requires a follow up question. Listen more than you talk. It is true, people don’t care how much you know, they care about how you make them feel.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

Right when I thought I’d be stepping away from work and looking to reinvent myself I find myself embracing a new challenge. My path led me to my current opportunity, and I couldn’t be happier. I found a home where I can take my financial knowledge and integrate it with my faith, serving clients who are looking to do the same. I feel certain that God has been directing my steps all along, I just couldn’t see it at the time. I am humbled by this. But that leads me to where I am now, looking to grow my practice. If you or anyone you care about is looking for help making sense of their financial future, I’d welcome the opportunity to talk with them.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Helping people make better financial decisions. I especially like working with women. Women are at a financial disservice because of a longer life span. If they choose to work outside of the home, they are almost always shortchanged financially due to the gender pay gap, child bearing, child rearing and care-giving. 75% of women will be responsible for themselves at some point in their future. It is very important for them to understand the moving pieces and parts of their financial life. They don’t have to know how to build the clock, but they should know how it works and what it does. I find satisfaction in helping them gain the financial knowledge they need to take control of their futures.

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

Financial Planning is part art and part science. I use the analogy that it’s like building a crazy quilt. You take the pieces and parts of someone’s financial life, weave them together, and create a blanket that keeps them warm at night. This is the perfect role for me because I am equally right brained and left brained. Every personality test that I have taken puts me right smack in the middle, equally analytical and creative. This helps me turn complex financial concepts into simple visuals that clients can relate to and remember.

What is your morning ritual?

This is my secret so please don’t tell. Now that I work from home and don’t have to deal with a crazy commute, I embrace mornings. I like waking up slowly. If I don’t have an early appointment I like to linger over coffee and my daily devotional. Then I like to do something fun that gets my brain working like a jigsaw puzzle or a game of solitaire on my device. This is how I turn my brain on in the morning and off at night. It’s a mindless activity that centers my mind.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

This is such a great question. For me my personal superpower is my faith, without a doubt. I’ve always had a strong inner compass that speaks to me. It reminds me that if I do my part, keep learning, growing and serving that He will open doors when needed. It’s never failed me. Things always have a way of working out. I have learned to trust in my faith.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

I don’t think balance is realistic. Much like life, work has seasons. That is why they call it work. There is an ebb and flow and a rhythm that comes with most work. If you want balance get a clear cut 8-5 job that you don’t have to take home with you. However, most of us want more. With that comes sacrifice. Whenever I’m on a project I know that I am going to give it my all. To do this I know I need rest and an opportunity to disconnect. That is how I clear my mind and allow the creative juices to flow. Usually it involves a beach. I get to the coast as often as possible. The sound of the waves and the smell of the sea restores me.


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