An Interview with Libby Greiwe, FIC, RICP, Founder of the Loveland Associates of Thrivent Financial and Founder of The Efficient Advisor, LLC
When it comes to leadership, it’s important to know what it is that you want and what you’re willing to do to get there. The more aligned you are to your own personal values and drivers, the greater your levels of satisfaction and impact to the world too. Libby Greiwe is a great example of someone who gets it. To an outsider, it may seem like Libby has a full plate with not one, but two successful businesses, a dedication and commitment to her own leadership, a husband and two kids – but to those that know Libby knows that she makes the time to do all of these things and have balance to take care of herself, too.
WeInspireWe: Libby, thanks so much Libby for agreeing to be featured as our next inspiring interview. And thank you, personally, for being such a great advisor and supporter to WeInspireWe and my own long-term success. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Libby Greiwe: Professionally I focus on two things: I own a financial planning firm that serves the Cincinnati, OH community (and beyond) and recently that has extended into a second business to help grow and develop financial advisors through coaching and a virtual community. I’ve been running my financial services firm for over 15 years now, which is crazy hard to believe! When I’m not working, you can find me traveling the world with my husband Justin and my two boys.
WIW: since I have experienced your leadership first hand, why don’t you tell the rest of us a little bit about the path that has gotten you to be the strong, female leader you are today.
LG: In all honestly, I realize that leadership happened accidentally for me. I wish I could say it was an intentional path that I chose, but it just emerged over time out of necessity! When I started my business and would attend professional development conferences, I didn’t look like ANYONE else there. I was surrounded by bald, 50-year old (primarily white) men. I did not fit the financial planner stereotype, at all. In fact, I was often mistaken as a secretary or asked to go get someone a drink. As I grew up in the industry and more women were taking on the role, I started to develop relationships with them and build a network of other females to maintain an ongoing connection. Over time, I found that they were looking to me for guidance on how to be successful as a female in this male-oriented environment and how to manage this beast of a career with motherhood. So, I didn't choose leadership, it chose me and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.
WIW: When I say “female leadership” or “women in leadership”, what does that mean to you?
LG: Simply put, it is women who are intentionally putting themselves out there; women who see the potential in other women and pull it out of them; and women who encourage others. Great leadership is women who are leading by example and modeling leadership…it’s not necessarily titles or positions.
WIW: Since you are unofficially serving as a role model in the financial industry, what do you feel that we need to do as a collective to allow for female leaders to thrive?
LG: I think women often have a misconception that to be a “bad ass leader” they need to be all work. The more we can lift up and highlight women who have a healthy work/life balance (like you’re doing here) and show women leaders that lead by example and have healthy boundaries with work, the more women will want to lead. There are so many different ways to lead and to define leadership, so as a community we need to continue to support different definitions of leadership.
WIW: At WeInspireWe, we believe that we are all leaders, regardless of title, tenure or gender. The more we own that, the more we can all be leaders and rise up to our fullest potential. As a leader, how would you describe your personal leadership brand?
LG: I lead by community. I certainly do not pretend to have all the answers for everyone, but I am happy to share my experiences, what has worked for me, and give insight into how I built my business to the level that it is today – all while maintaining a family and home life. I am happy to support those in need, especially other advisors, which is what helped to inspire me to start the second part of my business which is a virtual coaching and support community. I have found that by creating a forum for advisors to commune, we all can become better advisors through the sharing of these experiences.
WIW: It is so impressive how following your heart and your passion has allowed you to be a successful business woman. How would you say that your leadership style and brand has that evolved over the years?
LG: Since my leadership wasn’t originally by design…I have become more intentional with my leadership presence over the years. Once I realized that was I was leading others in my field, I took time to pinpoint the leadership attributes I had and the activities I was doing that helped others and doubled down on them. I became more intentional about my leadership and recognized that it was a skill I was going to have to improve upon and develop as part of my own personal growth plans.
WIW: As you were focusing on your leadership, what “aha’s” did you have along the way?
LG: Years ago, my firm got wind of the fact that I was only working part time but was still seeing incredible success. I was asked to speak at firm events and stand in front of groups of advisors which results in having a line out the door to talk to me. When I saw that what I was doing not only resonated with others, but inspired them, I knew that I need to continue to explore this disruption of the industry norm. I knew I was where I was supposed to be.
I had developed a holistic approach to success in financial services and adopted qualitative measures to round out the quantitative measure of success. That's why I created The Efficient Advisor – to help break the cycle that to achieve more you had to make more and that more money meant more success. Grinding doesn't have to be a badge of honor and I'm here to change that dynamic for advisors at all levels. You can be successful and not live in a constant state of overwhelm and stress. You can do this career BIG and still have a well-rounded life.
WIW: That certainly translates beyond the financial industry too. Doing more doesn’t equate to greater success. What has been your biggest learning lesson as you’ve established your personal leadership style?
LG: Leadership is a skill and just like any other skill, you've got to practice and nurture it to be able to become the leader you want to be. And, that in order to constantly be giving you need to be receiving leadership from others and having your cup filled too. You have to be intentional about your leadership growth and also intentional about protecting your energy too.
WIW: How do you stay focused on running two different companies, your family, your professional growth and development – and having your cup filled up too?
LG: I can focus on the two businesses by segmenting out my calendar. I work on my advisory business three days a week in the Efficient Advisor two days a week. I work on them each in a silo because I found if I intermixed the two, I wasn’t able to focus nearly as well. Overlap didn’t work for me! I run off a very tight model week calendar! I also build a ton of white space in my calendar to give my brain an opportunity to relax and truly be creative. Honestly, both of the businesses truly fill my cup. But, I do recognize that self-care and time off is very important. I prioritize time for myself (reading, exercising, spa day, personal development, etc.) and also long breaks. We try to take 3 vacations a year and each summer I take a 3-4-week sabbatical from both businesses to reenergize. It sounds like a lot but travel with my family is my best form of self-care! I think white space and time off are crucial to focus. You can grind yourself to death! I try to keep in mind that I work hard so that I can play hard!
WIW: Any advice that you’d give to a young female employee beginning to develop her leadership style.
LG: Yes, there is no one right way to lead. Have a variety of mentors. Experience lots of leadership styles and take note of what feels good and authentic to you – and also what feels bad and icky! Take the time to develop the skills of leadership and put those skills to practice EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
Thank you Libby for your powerful words of wisdom and honesty about who you are and what is important to you. Your personal mission of more doesn’t always mean more is powerful – and one that everyone can learn from. Thank you for taking the time to be part of the WeInspireWe community!