Pari Hashemi Tells Us How She's Built A Successful Business In A Little Over Two Years
Pari Hashemi is a Financial Advisor with the McFadden Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney located in the Market Street office in Philadelphia. She has only been in production since late 2009, yet she has already amassed an impressive list of accomplishments. With an ever-expanding Rolodex that she frequently uses for business referrals, Pari says her goal is to help women reach the top echelons of their business by being financially responsible.
What led you to become a Financial Advisor?
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really intend to go into finance. But I've always been very analytical. My dad's a civil engineer. I grew up really enjoying math, and I was always at the top of my class in calculus. I always enjoyed writing and public speaking, too. I just fell into this internship in the summer of my junior year and I really loved it. So I was just lucky.
How were you hired?
I finished all my coursework early, so by the second semester of my senior year, I was working full-time. As I approached graduation, I was made offers by some of the different teams in my office. I was in a unique situation, because I had an opportunity to see who would be the best fit. I chose my partners, John and Sean McFadden, because they really treat people fairly. Our approach is about getting to know our clients and their families and really trying to help them, rather than trying to sell them something. I entered the Financial Advisor training program at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney the day after graduation, and I started in production in October 2009.
At this point, I’m really the rainmaker for our team. I’m the one who's out there speaking, setting up meetings, bringing in people, that type of thing. John comes in when we’re in a first meeting to talk about investments – obviously I can't trump his 30 years of experience. So it's become a great partnership.
How did you approach your business at first?
I tried a lot of different things, like cold calling, but mostly I just started going to networking events and joining committees. I also got my name out there by doing seminars. I host at least one a month – primarily focused on educating women. One of my seminars is called "A Man Is Not A Financial Plan." I’ve written articles about women and I sit on a lot of women’s nonprofit boards and committees.
How did you come to develop that focus?
I think it just makes sense. I’m a woman. Even with all the different events and places I go to, I can list the women advocates at all the different firms on two hands. So there's not as much competition, and on top of that women tend to like working with women. And I'm passionate about helping other women, especially helping them be successful and build their businesses.
That's why I founded my own organization in early 2010, the Women's Mastermind Cooperative. It's made up of about 30 women, each from a different industry. It started as a group of women who I wanted to introduce to each other, because I thought they could help each other grow their businesses. The aim was to develop referral sources and for us to get to know each other. From there, I thought we should make it more of an ongoing thing, so I coordinate a monthly lunch meeting.
You've already told us about "A Man is Not a Financial Plan" – what were some of your other seminars?
One of the first was called "Fashion & Finance." I held it at Saks and partnered with an image and body language specialist, who spoke about that side of things. Then Saks had one of their make-up specialists speak, and I spoke about women and finance, and the differences between men and women – how we tend to make less money but live longer. I really tried to drill into people how we should prepare for our financial future, but it was different from the usual financial seminar. The women enjoyed being able to have breakfast at Saks on a Saturday, and the store also offered them a discount, so it was a lot of fun. I've done them at Brooks Brothers, too.
Yes, "Critical Success Factors for Women." One woman speaks about leadership, I speak about finance, and then someone else speaks about first impressions. We start with a networking component, and then we do our presentations. I held the first at a local condo building, and I've held some in my branch.
Another, called "Recipes for Success," was held at a custom kitchen studio. We'd start with wine and cheese, and people could visit the kitchens while they networked. Then we'd go downstairs to hear a personal coach speak.
Do you still coordinate your own seminars?
Yes, but now I’m much more involved in speaking at other people’s conferences and events rather than constructing them myself. I just did a series for Independence Blue Cross, talking to their employees about women and wealth. I've also spoken to the Philadelphia Bar Association, to some local law firms, and at some women's conferences. It's nice because even though not all those people become clients, I’m still getting the education out there. And hopefully in the future if they ever need anything, they will reach out to me.
Also, as a team we do a monthly seminar– subjects like Special Needs Trusts, Retirement Planning, and Long-Term Care. People sign up through a newsletter that I developed for the group. We send it out once or twice a month. It lists the events that we’re hosting, and there's a lot of custom information that we write ourselves. At this point, my mailing list is four or five thousand people. I collect business cards from people I meet and ask them if it's okay to put them on my seminar invitation list. It's really been a good way for me to stay in touch and keep them educated.
Did all those events and seminars help you find clients?
My clients come from a lot of different places. Every person that I meet, I really sit down with them, get to know about their business, and then try to introduce them to at least two people from my Rolodex. So I’m really seen as a person that people want to get to know, just because of all of the giving back that I’ve done, and that's why a lot of people make referrals. It really just comes from everywhere now.
© 2012 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.