Stasia Washington – CUP Member in LA

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?
As a Senior Vice President and Managing Director for First Foundation Advisors, I work in the wealth management segment of the financial services industry. First Foundation Advisors, which was honored as one of Forbes Magazine 2014 "Top 50 Wealth Managers," provides comprehensive wealth services that include investment management, wealth planning and consulting services for multi-generational families and foundations. The firm is affiliated with First Foundation Bank, which provides depository and trust services, as well as lending for both individuals and businesses.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?
One of my biggest challenges at work is helping clients sleep at night.  I am committed to extending beyond the traditional role of a wealth manager. I have tools and staff to help clients resolve a host of issues contributing to sleepless nights.  We address unique challenges which impact wealth, including but not limited to, family battles, first-generation wealth conflicts, issues associated with family members when managing shared assets, the stress of balancing the needs of elderly parents and children, as well as the sudden loss of a loved one.

What is your proudest achievement?
I am proud to be a Mother of three adult children, Jasmine, Ashlee and Mike and wife to Michael. In addition, I am proud to have worked with Michael to make a difference in our community.  For example, we help launch The Save Africa’s Children Invitational Golf Tournament and The Recording Academy “GRAMMY” Salute to Gospel Music. Both events raised much needed funds for food, housing and medical support for Save Africa’s Children benefitting AIDs-related orphans on the continent of Africa.

As a professional, I am proud of the opportunity to collaborate with former colleagues at Northern Trust to develop and implement “The DreamMakers” Forum. This “invitation only” event provided a much needed platform for African-American established business owners to access angel investors, pension fund managers, qualified investors and investment bankers.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?
I admire my husband, Michael. He is a praying man and always optimistic.  When life punches us in the stomach he reminds me what God has for us, he has for us.  The best is yet to come.  I gain strength and admire the leadership attributes of Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake and First Lady Mae, West Angeles Church of God in Christ. Los Angeles.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I see myself continuing to make a difference in the community.

What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?
I encourage young people to identify how they can give back to their community at the same time pursuing financial success.  A life of service is full of rich rewards. I also stress the importance of building a solid network and to adopting the principles of “netweaving”.  The mission of netweaving is to develop relationships based on what you can do for others first. When you meet people, ask how you can help others before discussing what you do or need.

Did you have a mentor or do you mentor someone else? How has that experience changed you?
My mentors include Faye and Robert Davidson.  They epitomize love in action. Robert is Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Morehouse College and the Arts Center College of Design. Both have helped me a great deal at various stages of my career.  And, I have enjoyed mentoring CUP Board Member, Johnita Walker Mizelle.  I am proud to call her family.