The phrase “age has its privilege” may apply to a first born, which Carol Rogers was…first child, first grandchild. This gave her the privilege of attending a Board of Directors meeting at the tender age of five, sitting on her Uncle Jim’s lap. With his influence, this led to her first stock, OG&E. Without any concept of stock ownership, receiving quarterly dividends may have left an indelible impression. Who knew where an early life event would lead?
After college, she went to work for one of her undergraduate professors at a research and marketing firm. At that time, one of her associates introduced her to a regional brokerage firm, comprised of all men and with a very masculine atmosphere. It did, however, reacquaint her with the concept of stock ownership.
The next few years found her traveling and working across the country and internationally. It was a trial by fire for a recent graduate. They worked with state agencies, multinational corporations, and political entities, often traveling solo, and representing the firm. One of the side benefits is that she documented her research with photography, which remains a lifelong passion.
A lesson she quickly learned was to form relationships, seek out expertise and work collectively with specialist to support our projects. She was young and inexperienced. She found most professionals were quite willing to offer their support. By taking on major projects, she became a VP and stockholder in her early 20’s. Owning assets was a valuable lesson.
While working on a corporate project, one of her clients approached her about the recent Title VII push on Wall Street. As he explained, all the Wall Street firms needed one, meaning a woman.
At that point in her career, Wall Street had a great deal of intrigue. She submitted resumes to a variety of firms. The more interesting one was interviewing with EF Hutton and meeting with all the central regional managers simultaneously. Thinking she had accepted an offer from a competitive firm, she was relaxed and truly enjoyed the process.
Yet, EF Hutton pursued her, and she was one of the first three women hired for their training program. Final training was in New York at the NY Institute of Finance. The result is that she formed a lifetime friendship with the then president of Hutton and worked there for a decade. Through the stress of training, her NY roommate remains a treasured friend.
Joining EF Hutton in St. Louis, she remained the only female “stockbroker” for many years. Were there challenges to being one of the first…yes. But the challenges themselves presented opportunities for success.
One of the early experiences that left an indelible imprint was being invited to the first National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP) conference in Washington DC as a guest speaker. It was just prior to her engagement that she learned the focus of the association was to mentor and support women and minorities on Wall Street. She subsequently became a member of their Board of Directors.
Being new to St, Louis, she looked for opportunities to better know the community. She saw what could happen when people get together to support a good cause. She learned that to contribute, one should choose something they are passionate about. There are monumental events that can truly impress you and often you feel your small contributions remain insignificant. She learned differently. She became impressed how people working together can make significant changes.
Her passion began working with inner-city girls through Girls, Inc., and Marian Middle School. Her team and many clients formed a Charitable Foundation and have provided scholarships for the past three decades. She believes education is a key element to breaking the poverty cycle. Her joy is in the multitude of college graduates and their successes.
She loved her decade at EF Hutton. She loved how progressive the firm was and how they created the beginning concept of Financial Planning and working as an advisor rather than as a broker. This was a revolutionary concept for the financial services industry and one she quickly embraced.
This was the beginning of understanding the value of a team approach. Her Hutton team worked on retirement and life planning for their clients. With that she realized that she was not following her own advice. To create a legacy for oneself it often took the form of ownership or investment. With great trepidation, she left EF Hutton and with a like-minded associate, started their own firm.
Going independent in the early 80’s was a massive challenge. She called on many of the relationships she had established over the years for their support. These contacts led to significant opportunities. The first was being recognized as “Broker of the Year” by Registered Rep magazine as the first woman to be recognized on their front cover.
Another came via a client who recommended her to be a guest participant to the Army War College. She joined a study group and they discussed what would be military reactions to significant world events. Her respect for the military service was fostered in looking for peaceful resolutions.
From a multitude of lessons learned from previous experiences, this led to the merging of two teams founded by women. What started as two women competitors sharing ideas and forming a friendship, this led to our ensemble practice at Hightower Wealth Advisors | St. Louis. Our team truly exemplifies their own individual specialties, working collaboratively and embracing a standard of non-negotiable integrity. It has been four decades in the financial securities industry and working with our team is a daily pleasure.
Carol is a wealth of stories and experiences — one last story to illustrate her rich life. In an early career exploration, Carol was a photographer, helping to put herself through school with what had been a hobby. She was able to work for one of the best photojournalists in the country at the Topeka Capital Journal (they sold pictures to magazines such as National Geographic and Sports Illustrated). In determining if she should pursue this, she took one gig for a fledgling publication and was sent to cover a mule jump, a religious rattlesnake gathering, and several other oddities which led her to believe that magazine was going nowhere fast.
With a format change, that magazine ended up lasting and becoming…People Magazine.