Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Karmen Keup, UBS

In June, financial services executive Karmen Keup moved from New York City to Southwest Florida to lead UBS’ offices in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers and Sarasota. Keup, previously an assistant market head in the private wealth management division of UBS, has played a role in the company’s Key Talent Project, an initiative to promote diversity within the organization.

Advantage: “The transfer of wealth in this country is immense. Sadly, our significant others who are men tend to leave this world before we do, and so the transfer of wealth is going to women. Women like to see other women managing their money. It doesn’t mean they only want a female financial adviser. But they’d like a nice diverse team so that they’re able to see themselves in that team. There’s a comfort level when a strong matriarch walks into a room and sees another strong female.”

Best Advice: “I was in my mid-to-late-30s when I chose a mentor — a phenomenal woman in the industry — and she sat me down and told me, ‘If you don’t tell people what you want, they are not going to know.’ I then met with my manager and said, ‘This is the next step I want to take.’ And he said, ‘It’s about time.’ I always believed that if I put my head down and worked really hard, the rewards would come to me.”

Mentoring: “I absolutely love mentoring women. From the get-go, I say, ‘Set a plan, know your goals and realize that they’re going to change over time.’ You have to continue to let people know what you want, especially as those things change, because they can’t read your mind.”

Gender Stereotypes: “I am in no way, shape or form a wallflower. If I walk into a room, and a client thinks I’m going to get him coffee, I’ll say, ‘well, I’m actually the manager, and it’s very nice to meet you, and I appreciate your business.’ First of all, they’re always incredibly embarrassed. But secondly, I think they’re pleasantly surprised. For the most part, this business has become much more female-friendly.”

Read more in Florida Trend's November issue.
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