Heather Seda recently joined Marshall Financial Group (MFG) as its new Chief Operating Officer, where she will be leading and enhancing MFG operations and client experience. In a Q&A, Heather shared information about her background, what brought her to MFG, and what life is like outside the office.
Q: What is the role of a Chief Operating Officer, and what impact does it have on clients?
Heather: Operations is essentially the heart of a company. A business needs to have effective and efficient operations for everything else to function correctly. As COO, I’m responsible for all of the firm’s day-to-day operations, financial administration, human resources, and compliance. Most of my work is not client-facing; however, I’m overseeing workflows and processes that do impact our clients. I’m essentially working behind the scenes to make sure our team members are accountable for delivering the best possible client experience.
Q: What’s your background and how did you get into this field?
Heather: I’ve been working in operations for 22 years. I discovered early on that I was effective at managing all the systems and processes that allow people to be productive and make a company run smoothly. Once I recognized my talent for operations, I worked to develop that skillset, first by working in the medical field, and for the last seven years, in the financial and insurance industry. I immersed myself in the world of financial services so I could better understand what the operations needed to be, why certain procedures had to be done a specific way, how compliance factors in, and the laws, rules, and regulations behind it all. From there, I developed processes to make everything more efficient and productive.
Q: What attracted you to Marshall Financial Group?
Heather: Three things really stood out for me about MFG. The people here are wonderful and are genuinely committed to doing right by our clients. I love the leadership team and the culture they’ve developed, which is honest, open, and committed to working together to strive for continuous improvement. I was also attracted by the growth trajectory of the firm. I bring a lot of experience and knowledge about strategic partnering and how to grow sustainably, and I like the idea of helping MFG grow.
Q: What’s your education background?
Heather: I have Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Fort Hays State University, and an MBA from the University of Maryland.
Q: What’s your biggest tip for clients?
Heather: Don’t be biased against a younger advisor – they are highly trained and know what they’re doing. When I worked in the medical field, I noticed some patients only wanted to see older doctors because they equated age with knowledge, but young doctors have the benefit of knowing the latest technology, techniques, and procedures, which can be an advantage. The same is true in finance.
Q: Any family?
Heather: I have two adult children, my daughter, Katy, my son, Josh, and my fiancé, Lowell.
Q: How do you spend your free time?
Heather: My fiancé and I have two sports cars, and we spend a lot of time driving around. One of the cars is a convertible, which is fun to take out for a drive when the weather’s nice in the spring or fall.
Q: What’s your favorite quote?
Heather: “Don’t let the negatives of life control you. Rise above them. Use them as your steppingstones to go higher than you ever dreamed possible. Every failure, obstacle or hardship is an opportunity in disguise.” ~Mary Kay Ash
Q: What’s a little known fact about you?
Heather: I’d say there are two. When I started in college, I was pre-med, but I couldn’t make that work with young children. The other is that I used to weigh 275 pounds. Through hard work and dedication, I lost 150 pounds.