In today’s modern era, the pool of leadership opportunities and career advancements for the female workforce within the financial services domain is relatively shallow. In an industry dominated by men for decades, females have, then and even now, had to work almost twice as hard to try to eliminate the gender gap and level the field. Grace Staten is among the top female leadership ranks and making considerable headway in this sector. As Vice President, she heads the marketing department at Coastal Wealth. Grace commenced her journey as a financial professional’s assistant and diligently worked her way up the corporate ladder. Having just a minuscule portion of female role models in this industry, she is driven by her desire to change this scenario by volunteering to mentor young women and girls. Her passion for helping and teaching are some of her strong suits aiding her during this endeavor. Believing to have matured into a self-aware, hardworking, and compassionate woman, she reveals, “I have intentionally made myself uncomfortable professionally by taking leadership positions in every organization in which I am a member. I have learned from my mistakes and look at them as opportunities rather than failures. I now share these lessons and teach what I know with my team and with those I mentor. Because of my own struggles, I firmly believe in diversity and inclusion in the workplace and assist with recruiting and promoting women and minorities.”
Coastal Wealth is one of the leading general agencies of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), which has increased production, revenue, and financial professionals consistently. Coastal Wealth is committed to helping its clients secure their futures and protect those they love. The company was established to be the most innovative, collaborative, and trusted financial solutions firm in the nation. Coastal Wealth’s mission is to navigate opportunities and redefine what is possible. “At Coastal Wealth, our financial professionals are champions of the idea that we are better through the support of one another. We value our people for who they are, how they think, and what they bring to the table. This makes us stronger, innovative, and more cohesive,” elucidates Grace.
As the leader of the marketing department, Grace and her team help the firm and its external presence as well as the producers’ marketing efforts within the firm. She has encountered and overcome several challenges that most leaders of today face: guiding change within the team, inspiring others, and setting achievable goals. She has never met a challenge that she has not conquered. “I have been able to discover the interests of our members and capitalize on their strengths to increase their potential. Setting goals and regular reviews have provided the required feedback and direction to meet their objectives,” reveals Grace on her examination of how she nurtures and leads the workforce.
Her typical working days include several virtual meetings with financial professionals, outside vendors, and her in-house team. She oversees and manages all that goes on in the department and focuses on the execution, communication, and accountability of her team. Grace adds, “Understanding my responsibilities, deadlines, and the overall picture helps me drive revenue, become a champion of the financial professionals’ marketing needs, and even a chief storyteller as a way of nurturing the creative side of Coastal Wealth.” Grace leverages her in-depth expertise and zeal to efficiently and seamlessly manages the multitude of organizational responsibilities and her team.
Gaining Well-Deserved Recognition
Throughout her career, Grace has been recognized as one of the influential female leaders in every aspect and has received several accolades for the same. She was elected as a Woman of Influence in the northeast area of Florida. In conjunction with this, she is the incoming national President-Elect of the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance and sits on the Board of Directors for the Gateway Council of Girl Scouts. Furthermore, she holds a leadership position with the local chapter of the American Business Women’s Association. “Each of these titles has allowed me to identify how far I have come and where I would like to go. In the overall picture, my goal is to support and mentor women to build confidence in themselves and overcome self-doubt in pursuing their dreams.
Successfully Taking on a Pandemic
Despite encountering a broad spectrum of challenges, Grace has emerged victorious. One such challenge was when the Coronavirus pandemic struck. While steering the ship along its chartered course, Coastal Wealth used the pandemic as an opportunity for a change instead of viewing it as just a crisis. Prior to the pandemic, her organization and its employees are used to working a 9 to 5 shift while juggling a work-life balance. As Coastal Wealth shifted to embracing the work from home concept, this newfound flexibility and freedom led to an upswing in productivity.
The Marketing Team is spread throughout Florida, so meeting virtually was already a standard. Coastal Wealth, with Grace, created a new kind of culture by implementing the Coastal Community Calendar with virtual social events so that all of the members and their families could participate. Grace says, “Our stellar IT department ensured all members were equipped with the right computers and tools to succeed. We use new programs and technology to foster growth in today’s highly competitive world and teach to think like innovators with systems and processes. We carefully balance what has made us successful in the past while investing in our future.”
Now, as the world attempts to achieve some sort of normalcy in all aspects of their lives, Coastal Wealth and Grace have also embraced the post-pandemic world. The company now offers additional extras such as flextime in the workweek, individuals are permitted to work at times convenient to their schedules with a 4-day work week and unlimited PTO. Grace signs off, “We have found this has made the workforce appreciative and able to work during the times they would have otherwise been commuting to the office.”