Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.
Rachel Mraz focuses on providing comprehensive wealth management and planning solutions for individuals and nonprofits at Merrill Lynch.
She and her team manage investments while considering individuals’ goals and intentions for their wealth as a basis for recommendations.
“We work with an amazing group of clients and truly enjoy the relationships we have with them,” Mraz said.
Biggest career break?
Being born. My mom was an amazing example of a working woman and her passion for her career and how she cared for clients was infectious. I knew I wanted to come into this business from an early age and was lucky enough to learn about it growing up. I did my 8th grade career day as a broker and coined my own business cards that said "DeVries & DeVries: A Tradition in Trust." You could say I was born to be in this career.
Not a single moment rises to the top but rather many, many little ones. It's wonderful to get a nice letter from a client telling you they appreciate you or something you did or to sit across from someone and be able to assist them with meeting their retirement goals. Accomplishing other people's financial goals is amazingly satisfying in and of itself.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Keep your tools sharp and always be a student of your profession.
How did you make your first dollar?
When I was a young child I would sell daffodils from my mom's garden at the end of our driveway. We lived on a relatively busy street, and I would make signs on poster board and hang them a few hundred feet in either direction from the driveway. I had my little table set up, buckets of flowers in front of it, my little money box to make change and would charge by the dozen. I was able to start my first bank account with the profits that I made. Of course, to teach me principles of business I had to give a cut to my "supplier," my mom, even though I perceived I did ALL the work by cutting, bundling and selling them!
My passport. Hands down.
I'm doing it. If I weren't doing this, I would love to be a travel writer.
If I were president for a day, I would . . . ?
I would end world hunger, create world peace and pardon ALL the turkeys. But seriously, I would perpetually extend the charitable rollover provision, so it doesn't keep expiring and being re-approved retroactively.
Last book you’ve read?
I honestly am not much of a reader. I read so much at work with different research and news articles that I haven't picked up a book in a while. The last book I read was likely about a travel destination we were interested in. I absolutely love travel books.
Last thing you Googled?
We are doing a major remodel to our house, so it was likely about lighting fixtures or ideas for unique window treatments!
Your worst habit?
Probably over scheduling my husband and I. We love going to events and doing dinners, but I have used the expression "we are booked eight nights this week" perhaps too often.
To unwind, I like to . . . ?
Have a glass of wine and talk with my friends and husband gathered around our kitchen island while all cooking together. That sounds about perfect.
An around-the-world ticket. I'd have almost as much fun planning the different stops and itinerary as I would actually going on it. Someday.
Person you most admire?
Perhaps a cliche answer, but I would say my husband. We've known each other and dated since we were 18, and he is an incredibly hard and smart worker, compassionate and community minded, and he puts up with me.