Focus on the big picture, and remember to enjoy the ride

We’re excited to introduce Carolina Orejuela Ortiz to our community. 

Carolina was raised in Colombia and relocated to Australia in 2002 with the goal to learn English at the University of Tasmania. Then as life had it, she ended up staying here permanently and currently resides in Melbourne. She is the mother of two beautiful children aged 8 and 11 years old. 

She currently works as a Senior Client Services Manager at Australia Pacific Funds Management whilst concurrently studying to become a financial planner. In this short interview, Carolina shares some of her journey to date, including what made her interested in becoming a financial planner, the hurdles she’s overcome, and lessons she’s learned along the way to get her where she is today. 

What attracted you to the financial services industry?

From a young age, I gravitated towards numbers and understood the importance of managing money.  In second grade, I assisted a nun in charge of the school canteen at the end of day, counting coins and notes exchanged during the day… it was fun! 

In my later years, I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration which led me to a role at Bancolombia. After moving to Australia, I worked in at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for 6 years, exploring different roles within operations from Officer to Supervisor. I then moved to the Bank of America side as a Dedicated Client Services Director for about 4 years. 

Eventually I decided to explore the financial planning industry where I was given an opportunity in a support capacity. I have found a wonderful mentor, Russell Walsh, and the journey has been brilliant. I am fascinated by the power that advisers have to positively educate people in financial matters, make an impact, and also support others to make informed financial decisions.

What excites you most about becoming a financial planner?

As a single parent of two children and working full-time, becoming a financial planner has required a lot of commitment and dedication. However, I am driven by the end goal which I strongly believe will be rewarding; the idea of being able to proactively support families, individuals, and businesses to achieve their financial goals and objectives. Being a financial adviser encompasses many things, not just the financial advice itself but also supporting the client on their emotional journey. It’s a way for me to give back to the community and leave a print on individuals. 

What do you find most challenging specifically as a woman working in the industry?

One of the biggest challenges is remaining confident and resilient in an industry that is dominated by men. I recently heard a statistic from Wealth Data that the ASIC financial adviser register has less than a quarter of female advisers. That is not many of us, right?

I believe now is a great time to become a financial adviser, not only because the demand is high, but also because there is more inclusion, acceptance and change in the perception of women's roles. In my experience, I have come across incredible people both at work and in my personal life who are very supportive and encouraging for me to take this career direction. 

What is a significant hurdle you’ve faced to get where you are today? 

The most significant event in my life was moving from my home country to Australia. The decision to stay meant a complete change of life, to leave my family back home and start fresh. After living here for 23 years, I believe Australia has offered me great opportunities and adopting a positive mindset along with perseverance has been paramount.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

I would tell young Carolina to not rush things, to stay focused on the big picture, to keep on acquiring new knowledge, find a mentor who can guide you through, be confident in your beliefs, and enjoy the journey.