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Women Leading The Finance Industry: Susan McKenna of eMoney Advisor On What You Should Do To Increase Your Financial Literacy

An Interview With Jason Hartman

As a part of our series about “Women Leading The Finance Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Susan McKenna, CEO of eMoney Advisor, a leading provider of technology solutions and services that help people talk about money.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance field?

I’ve spent my entire career in technology. Through that journey, I often supported financial services and worked in the Fintech space. I never set out to enter this field, but eMoney’s “vision of financial peace of mind for all” really cemented my place in it. I was initially hired at eMoney as head of marketing in 2018. That role eventually expanded to head of marketing and sales. And in August 2022, I was named CEO after serving as interim CEO for about five months. While I may have never envisioned myself as CEO of a fintech company years ago, this role has been a career highlight, and I wake up excited every day to collaborate with my colleagues and support our clients.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

An interesting story — and probably the most memorable for me — is when I asked a former CEO to give me a chance as CMO. My boss (the CMO) had just quit, and the CEO assured me that they would find an incredible leader to take his place. I took a deep breath and asked, “Why not me?” After a lengthy discussion, he gave me the job, and I never looked back. The lessons learned were many: Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone; seize the opportunity when it presents itself; and “you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We always have a lot of interesting projects going on at eMoney — all focused on helping people talk about money. The market is seeing (and driving!) the importance of financial wellness, and that has a direct correlation to financial planning. As I mentioned, our vision is “financial peace of mind for all.” So, everything — from our product roadmap to our service and support to our strategic discussions with clients — drives towards that. We’ve been focused on creating the best financial planning technology for more than 20 years, and we have been able to deliver on some of the top-requested features from clients. Seeing them react and adopt these new tools has been exciting, reinforcing how important client collaboration is for us.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our people. I know that might be a common answer, but it’s the truth! I can’t tell you how great it feels to receive emails from clients thanking us for what we do and going into detail about how our employees have gone above and beyond for them. It makes me so proud to work alongside such talented and dedicated individuals. Additionally, as a company, we take great pride in our transparency. We provide many avenues for our employees to engage with leadership. Whether it’s during our regularly scheduled office hours sessions, via email or chat, or even during Town Hall meetings where we set aside time for Q&A, our leadership team is accessible, and our employees know that. We encourage people to ask the tough questions, and we do our best to respond — all in the spirit of accountability, candor, and collaboration.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Wall Street and Finance used to be an “all white boys club”. This has changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?

As our world continues to evolve, so does our industry. Diversity matters and allows for far more creativity and ideation than almost anything else. I’m proud that eMoney exceeds the norms in terms of that representation in our leadership, as well as in our client base. Taking steps toward this must-needed change first starts with awareness. If you’re not willing to acknowledge an issue exists, how can you take action to change it?

Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. According to this report in CNBC, less than 17 percent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support this movement going forward?

In most cases, there is no cookie cutter answer or standard process to follow to ensure we see more women in leadership. At the individual, organizational and societal levels, we need to first look inward. As I mentioned, awareness is essential. Taking time to assess your organization’s profile is a critical first step if you want to make any change. Next, picture your ideal future state, ask yourself what actions you can take to get there and hold yourself and your company accountable for those actions.

Let’s now turn to a slightly new topic. According to this report in Fortune, nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy. In your opinion or experience, what is the cause of these unfortunate numbers? If you had the power to make a change, what 3 things would you recommend to improve these numbers?

We are not viewing financial literacy as its own subject that must be taught in school — right alongside science, English or math. Implementing financial literacy into school curriculum has already begun in some states, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to incorporate it more broadly at various levels of education. When you recognize the criticality of financial literacy and how it impacts your life, it’s hard to believe this isn’t already part of the core curriculum at every school in the country. Then, to build on that solid foundation of financial literacy, once people reach their earning years, we need to make financial planning and advice more accessible. At eMoney, we strive to make financial planning scalable through our software so our clients have the ability to plan for individuals who have different needs at different points of their life. In short, I think it comes down to access. Access to financial education, financial planning technology, and financial advice all contribute to achieving financial peace of mind, which everyone deserves.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

100% my parents. I was lucky enough to be told that I could do anything. I had a somewhat full-circle moment last year. Similar to when I asked my former CEO “Why not me?” in regard to the CMO role, my dad asked, “Why not you?” when I was looking to him for advice during my journey to CEO of eMoney. That process can be very challenging, but his simple question reinforced what he had taught me my whole life and instilled a new level of confidence in me.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You either win or you learn.” As a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan still grieving over their Super Bowl loss, this quote from quarterback Jalen Hurts sticks out. It’s a wise statement, especially coming from someone so young who just experienced immense disappointment. It’s applicable to so many things in life. Life is not always full of wins — personally or professionally. But sometimes, we need those losses to help us learn and grow.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Although it’s not my idea, I love the simplicity and impact of the “Be Kind” campaign that launched a few years back. It’s basic, yet so powerful. There are many messages hidden in the concept of being kind that would allow each of us to prosper personally and professionally. Developing and using emotional intelligence is more important than ever, so I’d say that bringing more kindness and empathy to the world are at the top of my list, along with more laughter.

Thank you for the time you spent on this interview. We wish you only continued success.

About The Interviewer: Jason Hartman is the Founder and CEO of Empowered Investor. Jason has been involved in several thousand real estate transactions and has owned income properties in 11 states and 17 cities. Empowered Investor helps people achieve The American Dream of financial freedom by purchasing income property in prudent markets nationwide. Jason’s Complete Solution for Real Estate Investors™ is a comprehensive system providing real estate investors with education, research, resources and technology to deal with all areas of their income property investment needs. Through Jason’s podcasts, educational events, referrals, mentoring and software to track your investments, investors can easily locate, finance and purchase properties in these exceptional markets with confidence and peace of mind.

Starting with very little, Jason, while still in college at the age of 19, embarked on a career in real estate. While brokering properties for clients, he was investing in his own portfolio along the way. Through creativity, persistence and hard work, he earned a number of prestigious industry awards and became a young multi-millionaire. Jason purchased a California real estate brokerage firm that was later acquired by Coldwell Banker. He combined his dedication and business talents to become a successful entrepreneur, public speaker, author, and media personality. Over the years he developed his Complete Solution for Real Estate Investors™ where his innovative firm educates and assists investors in acquiring prudent investments nationwide for their portfolio. Jason’s sought after educational events, speaking engagements, and his popular “Creating Wealth Podcast” inspire and empower hundreds of thousands of people in 189 countries worldwide.

While running his successful real estate and media businesses, Jason also believes that giving back to the community plays an important role in building strong personal relationships. He established The Jason Hartman Foundation in 2005 to provide financial literacy education to young adults providing the all-important real world skills not taught in school which are the key to the financial stability and success of future generations. We’re in a global monetary crisis caused by decades of misguided policies and the cycle of financial dependence has to be broken, literacy and self-reliance are a good start. Visit for free materials and resources.



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