Coffee Break with C2P: Mary Sterk’s Journey to Becoming a Forbes Top Advisor

A Woman's Clarity Podcast

Coffee Break with C2P: Mary Sterk’s Journey to Becoming a Forbes Top Advisor

In This Episode

About the episode:

Women have made incredible achievements and contributions in the financial industry. In celebration of International Women’s Day, host Kirsten Schlumbohm, VP of Annuity Sales at C2P, chats down with Mary Sterk, CFP® CPFA, CEO, owner, and founder of Sterk Financial Services, and a guest on the first-ever episode of A Woman’s Clarity podcast.

Mary Sterk shares her inspiring journey from overcoming personal and financial hardships to establishing Sterk Financial Services and getting where she is today — being named the #1 financial advisor in South Dakota by Forbes in 2024. Together they discuss the importance of mentorship, the value of holistic financial planning, and the significance of embracing challenges and learning from failures.

Key points discussed:

  1. Transformational Journey: Mary Sterk’s journey from welfare to leading Sterk Financial, highlighting the transformative power of financial knowledge and the impact of mentorship.
  2. Holistic Approach to Finance: Sterk’s holistic approach to finance was shaped early in her career, emphasizing the importance of understanding all aspects of a client’s financial life.
  3. Impact of Mentorship: Mentorship, both as a mentee and mentor, has played a crucial role in Sterk’s career, with both male and female mentors contributing to her growth.
  4. Team-Based Success Strategy: Sterk Financial’s success is attributed to a team-based approach, leveraging each member’s strengths, and fostering an environment that supports work-life balance.
  5. Technology and Continuous Learning: Technology, particularly a well-organized CRM system, and continuous learning through books are instrumental in Sterk’s business strategy.
  6. Advice for Advisors: Sterk encourages advisors to focus on revenue-generating activities, utilize existing training resources effectively, and embrace a long-term view for sustainable growth.
  7. Supporting Women in Finance: The importance of creating a supportive and inclusive environment for women in financial services is underscored, with specific strategies for attracting and retaining female talent discussed.

Tune in to learn powerful professional and personal development strategies to grow as an advisor and how to empower more women in the industry.


Coffee Break with C2P: Mary Sterk’s Journey to Becoming a Forbes Top Advisor

About the guest

Mary Sterk, CFP® CPFA, CEO, owner, and founder of Sterk Financial Services, a thriving firm with its headquarters in South Dakota, and a second location in Kansas City. Mary’s inspiring journey is a testament to her determination, transcending from a life on welfare to becoming a successful woman in the realm of wealth management. She faced formidable odds, grappling with the challenges of teenage pregnancy, living in low-income housing, and being a single mother of two while relying on food stamps to get by. In recognition of her expertise, Mary has earned a coveted spot on Forbes’ prestigious lists for six consecutive years, with most recently the 2024 Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors and the 2023 Forbes Top Women Wealth Advisors Best-in-State rankings. Notably, she holds the top position in South Dakota on these lists.

Over her 28-year career as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, Mary has not only gained exceptional experience but also penned two insightful books, including, Ready to Pull The Retirement Trigger? Her commitment to financial education extends to her radio show and podcast, “Money Guide With Mary Sterk,” where she empowers and enlightens listeners, steering them toward crafting their ideal financial futures.