Amy Sturtevant, Senior Vice President and Branch Manager, RBC Wealth Management, discusses her 30 years in the securities business.

I grew up in Bethesda, Md., just outside of Washington, and went off to college with the idea of returning to work on Capitol Hill. My parents weren't in politics, but growing up in D.C. made you feel you were at the center of things.

I ended up working on the presidential campaign of then Senator and former astronaut John Glenn. It was amazing how quickly I realized that while I had thought Capitol Hill was the center of the world, the center of all this change-it was in fact a place where little seemed to get done. It struck me as quite difficult to make an impact on people's lives.

That was not how I wanted to spend my career. So I answered an ad and got a job at one of the wirehouses, as a client associate working with the largest producer in its D.C. branch, David Marx.

He was just an incredible role model who taught me how this business operates and, even more importantly, the importance of client relationships. I didn't have a background in finance, but I was drawn instantly to the client-advisor relationship.

Of course being an advisor has a lot to do with numbers and figures, but the greater part of it, I think, has to do with connecting with people: understanding what they want, what their goals and objectives are and coming up with solutions for them. It's one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences that you can have and something I think we embody here at RBC.

Our branch is extremely diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, gender and age. About half the advisors are women. I like to say it looks like the world outside, and clients see that when they walk in.

Earlier in my career, when I became a financial advisor, I remember a prospective client who came in the door. This woman was beside herself. Her husband, who had taken care of all the financial matters, had just retired from a long career at an oil company. He had never called in sick, but he died of a heart attack within a week or so of taking his retirement.

I sat down with her and a box of Kleenex. We got everything sorted out, and more. We educated her along the way. We helped her not only understand what she needed to do, but why. She learned. It didn't happen in a day. It was a process. But that's why I like doingthis; it's helping a client like that, whether he or she has millions of dollars or thousands. It's making an impact on someone's life.

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