55. Leading with Emotional Intelligence and Creating Net Worthwhile with Heather Fortner, MS, IACCP®, Chief Executive Officer at SignatureFD

Women business power

We feel so lucky and honored to have Heather Fortner In the Suite! Heather Fortner, MS, IACCP® is the Chief Executive Officer at SignatureFD, an award-winning multi-billion-dollar integrated wealth management and advisory firm in Atlanta that helps clients transform their net worth into “Net Worthwhile.” 

SignatureFD is ranked on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Americas Fastest Growing Companies and was named one of Atlanta’s Best & Brightest Companies to Work for in 2021. 

Before being named CEO of SignatureFD in October 2020, Heather served multiple roles for 17 consecutive years–Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and President. Upon being promoted, Heather admits that while the initial moments were scary, it was defining.  She recognized that the new role would require a lot more hard work and even sacrifices, but she could confidently say out loud that she was the right person, thanks to her ability to ask for help when needed. 

Through her impressive progress, Heather has learned, navigated, and held strategic oversight for every aspect of the organization and is regularly sought after to speak on the ever-changing landscape of wealth management. Her insights and views are well respected across RIA’s and institutions: Kitces.com, The Financial Advisor Success Podcast, Orion, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and Becoming Referable with Jule Littlechild and Steve Wershing

In today’s podcast, Heather generously shares with us life lessons and her philosophies which will inspire you to be a better person. Without a doubt, her words of wisdom will leave an indelible mark on you.

She attributes her success to three core factors: community, networking, and a hunger for knowledge. She’s always looking for opportunities to improve and proactively pursued a Master of Science in professional counseling from Georgia State University. Heather considers this degree the most valuable one as it enabled her to bridge hard conversations effectively and navigate those issues. 

In addition to a Master’s degree, she also holds a Bachelor of Finance from Kennesaw State University, a graduate of the Schwab Executive Leadership program, the G2 Leadership Institute, and she’s also an Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional. She’s in the true sense, a lifelong learner. 

SignatureFD is guided by what they call the 6 G’s – Greatness, Growth, Gratitude, Grace, Grit, and Generosity. They even have their own podcast appropriately named “Empower To In Power,” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify, which covers and highlights women who have made their way into leadership.

Heather goes on to emphasize that agile leadership is not only about the title and driving change, but it is also about being the change. She very consciously exhibits the characteristics and behavior she wishes everyone, including her daughter, to model, which she hopes will consequently add positive value to the community. She’s a firm believer that actions speak louder than words and wants to be remembered by them.  

Heather practices a “coach with empathy” leadership style and leverages her unique ability to harmonize people’s passions and talents to build teams and lead organizations that deliver excellent and inspiring client experiences. She feels the happiest and proudest when she can help someone bridge their gap in their professional or personal development.

It is clear that Heather has given immense importance to her career, mental and emotional growth, and she has very generously shared her life lessons with us on this podcast. She gives her heart and soul to everything she does and leads with compassion and excellence.

The podcast is filled with words of wisdom that will inspire you to be a better leader and person. Below are our top takeaways:

1) Be Willing to Ask for Help: As a leader, Heather gracefully accepts that she cannot do everything by herself. She explains that without the support of her family and husband, in particular, her career choices would have turned out different. Heather believes having the courage to ask for help can make one a better leader, a better parent, and creates stronger teams in the long run.  

2) Be a Person of Action: Heather’s career advice transcends to her own daughter, “I don’t want my daughter to talk, I want her to be a person of action.” She goes on to explain three important fundamentals in her daughter’s life: She has to obey without delay, she has to share and she has to be committed. “They’re pretty much at the core of what I expect of her and what I expect of myself.” 

3) Create an Emotional Intelligent Toolbox: To be a better leader, Heather advises the creation of an emotional intelligent toolbox to address three main areas that one needs to work on: the ability to identify what triggers your emotions, the ability to be curious, and the ability to have empathy. Having emotional intelligence creates exponential influence because of how it affects the lives of other people. 

 

Show Notes 

We feel so lucky and honored to have Heather Fortner In the Suite! Heather Fortner, MS, IACCP® is the Chief Executive Officer at SignatureFD, an award-winning multi-billion-dollar integrated wealth management and advisory firm in Atlanta that helps clients transform their net worth into “Net Worthwhile.” 

SignatureFD is ranked on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Americas Fastest Growing Companies and was named one of Atlanta’s Best & Brightest Companies to Work for in 2021. 

In today’s episode, Heather shares some of the greatest leadership lessons learned throughout her career and her philosophies.  She stresses the importance of asking for help, being curious, being a lifelong learner, being kind, and being compassionate: qualities that can also be applied to your personal life to help you become a better human being.

It is her humble attitude, proactiveness, and generosity that have led her to the success she’s achieved today. And without a doubt, her words of wisdom throughout the podcast will leave an indelible mark on you.


Below is the show’s agenda:

  • Being promoted Chief Executive Officer of SignatureFD (6:10)
  • “We’re better in the community” (12:00)
  • What does the ‘FD’ in SignatureFD stand for? (13:45) 
  • How SignatureFD bridging concepts revolved around life? (16:05) 
  • “…it starts with who you are” (22:10)
  • The benefits of a Masters’s Degree in professional counseling? (25:00)
  • What drives Heather? (35:40) 
  • About the podcast “Empower To In Power (38:30)
  • The emotional intelligence toolbox (44:10)
  • Best way to contact Heather (50:40)
  • Heather’s Book recommendation (51:40)

 

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