The business she built is thriving — and at a crossroads. So she turns to a mentor she’s trusted to help build her practice. Three years ago he gave her some sound advice and helped her grow, so she’s looking forward to hearing what he has to say.

Sometimes the truth is rough.

“I have to be honest with you,” he said. “I have no idea where my son is going to be at 4 pm today. I don’t know how he’s going to get there. I don’t know what’s for dinner. Or what sports practice is happening… I get up in the morning, work out, and go to work. I come home in the evening and check in with everyone.

But I know YOU know where you son is at 4:00 pm today. I know you know how he’s getting there. I know you know what’s for dinner.

You see, you have two full-time jobs. I don’t. I know my kids are healthy and thriving — thanks to my wife.

I don’t know that you can have both.”

But I want both, she thinks.
coffee with dorie fain, &wealth - (cool) progeny

“I want women to think about the possibility of more,” Dorie Fain told me over a decaf coffee at Atwater’s. Coincidentally, she gave up caffeine when she was pregnant with her son seven years ago — and never looked back.

Our conversation meandered effortlessly through unconventional nanny searches, schedules, tennis, financial planning, heartache, passions, book clubs, the wonders of Whole Foods, and had finally landed on Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. “If you lean in and give yourself the opportunity to think about more, more will happen. That, I believe, is the essence of the book.”

Dorie has definitely leaned.

The Butcher’s Hill single mom is the founder and CEO of &Wealth, a boutique financial planning firm that specializes in working with women in transition. After 12 years working for Smith-Barney in Chicago and New York (she jokes that she got in on the ground as part of the financial industries ‘we must hire women’ initiative — which wasn’t a great way to start but was an ‘in’ in the industry after college), she decided that the perception people had of big financial planning firms didn’t match who she was and the services she provided. She wanted to offer her clients a full-scale nontraditional financial advising model that was anything BUT a cookie cutter investment banking formula.

“Most people start thinking about financial planning at a difficult transition in their lives,” said Dorie. “A divorce. An illness. A death. There is so much more to it than just dollars. We cater to all of their needs through the transition. For many of the women we work with, they’ve never managed their finances before.”

That’s where the name comes from. Dorie wants her clients to think about what they want for their lives… and then her team helps them figure out how to afford what they want. It’s {fill-in-the-blank-passion-here}… and wealth.

“For some it might be travel. For others, home ownership. We help them figure it out,” said Dorie.

But mostly, she guides her clients to understand that successful financial management is possible.

For Dorie, building her practice in Baltimore wasn’t easy. When she and her then-husband moved to Baltimore, he immediately fell in love with the neighborhood. Her? Well, she found Charm City less than charming. For two years, she commuted to Manhattan three days a week to run &Wealth.

Dual life — Manhattan business and Baltimore home — wasn’t a good long term life strategy.

“That’s when I discovered the difference between Manhattan and Baltimore. In Manhattan, everything moves at a fast pace. You meet. You deal. You move on,” she said, snapping her fingers. “Baltimore is a community. You have to earn your neighbor’s trust. Once you have that trust? This city is very loyal. And that loyalty means everything.”

Now? There is no where else she’d rather live.

Like many parentpreneurs, every day for Dorie is different. There’s the school shuffle, client meetings, staff meetings,  office management, tennis matches (she’s an avid player), book club, regular life chores (you know, groceries and stuff), baseball practices, games… The secret to managing so much? People. The people network she’s built in Baltimore — including her son’s former preschool-teacher-turned-live-in-nanny who met the love of her life on Match.com thanks to a wine night and ‘boy shopping’ — means everything to her.

“Some people are lucky to have family close by. Others – – like me — are lucky to build family.”

Part of building those relationships is nurturing them. This summer, you’ll find Dorie at her neighborhood pool. She’ll be with her friends in her usual spot — the corner — chatting while her son plays.  Or you’ll find her volunteering with the One Love Foundation, a cause she’s clearly passionate about. She talks about it the the same way she talks about her son. With sincere devotion.

The foundation, created in honor of Yeardley Love, champions a movement to stop relationship violence. Although she didn’t say it, I suspect Dorie’s work there is inspired by the same desire that propels her business.

Helping women embrace possibility.

 

Should we have coffee? Coffee with is a series on (cool) progeny that highlights moms in Baltimore doing (cool) things. Know a mom we should have coffee with? Email Heather at heather AT coolprogeny.com.