Melinda M. Johnston

Managing Director, Wealth Management
Rodgers, Johnston, & Thompson of UBS, Fort Worth, Texas

Years in Securities Business: 29

In a city like Fort Worth, if you burn bridges, people are going to hear about it quickly.

That’s something I learned from my dad. He was respected in his community and I wanted to be, too.

My favorite gift growing up was a briefcase, and from a very early age, I knew I wanted to go into business. My father was an attorney and a judge for a good while. When I was still very young, he bought a building for his practice. All of the previous owners’ abandoned forms and paperwork were still there and I would play “office.”

My dad was active in the market, buying shares in a local paper company. He had the dividends reinvested and taught me how to do it.

When I was in college in the early ’70s, I worked part-time as a receptionist for a major wirehouse. Back then, there weren’t many women in the business. There was really no one to model myself after.

But starting with that receptionist job, I worked my way up through operations. I’ve always been grateful for the back-office experience because it’s invaluable to understand how a brokerage house works.

Thankfully, there are so many more women now. I’ve often said I think women make better advisors. Many women are very comfortable multitasking, especially those who’ve run their own homes and managed children and marriages. There can be lots of balls in the air.

I think my business developed into a holistic practice without me knowing it was. I simply took care of people. If they had a need, I found a way to do it. And I’ve built my business around the fact that I’m a good relationship person.

I knew I didn’t want to be looking for new clients constantly, but hold on to the ones I have. That’s my nature — I hold onto friends and things for a long time. I’ll never feel like my job is finished. At the end of the day, I want to make sure my clients are cared for. But at some point, my job will be done. I will step aside and my team will carry on.

I’m trying not to overstay my welcome! Sometimes I look around and I’m like “Wait … I turn 62 this year?”

I’m not ready to stop yet, and I hope my clients feel the same way. Right now, my job is to make sure my practice is ready to go on.

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