Brooke R. Thompson: Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Nevada Boise Complex Director

Number of Employees: 100
Years in Nevada: 1
Years with Company: 12

How did you first get into your profession?
I had a large network of friends who encouraged me to get into the financial services industry. I had no prior experience but my background in sales and management propelled forward my first job as a financial adviser in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

What would you want your legacy to future generations to be?
I want to be seen as a strong role model for women in the financial sector, especially since it’s a predominantly male profession. I also want to be a role model for men and be respected for the decisions I make regardless of my gender.

What is the biggest challenge your industry is facing?
The industry is struggling to win back clients’ confidence and re-build trust. This presents an immense opportunity for high-quality firms and advisers to surface. At Merrill Lynch, we definitely have the leaders and the most professional, well-equipped advisors of anyone on the street.

What is the best perk of your career?
I love the exposure to so many different people with distinct personalities and areas of expertise. I am constantly learning from and with them.

What do you wish you would have learned at the beginning of your career?
I wish that someone had told me to bring a mentor or colleague with me to my first meeting with a client. Also, I wish someone had emphasized the importance of preparedness.

What is the worst criticism you have overcome?
I’ve always been told that I’m too direct. I’ve gotten better at delivering a softer message, but I’ve also realized it’s also one of my strong suits so I haven’t dropped the directness altogether.

What was the toughest lesson you’ve learned in your career?
The toughest lesson I’ve learned is that every day brings new challenges. It’s easy to lament and wish other things, but I’ve also learned that this backward-thinking mindset inhibits you from growing as an individual while still making progress in your personal or professional life.