Sue West (second from the right) is our marketing coordinator and client liaison. She focuses on helping us connect with clients and address their unique needs and personal financial objectives.
Sue West is an incredibly valuable part of our team not just because of her marketing savvy and her ability to connect with others, but also because she understands this industry and has vast experience in securities and as an accountant. She has also worked as a business operations manager, helping companies find inefficiencies, enhance workflow and expand to reach their potential.
“I love working in this industry. I’ve had a long career, but I still feel like I see something new every single day. It never gets boring, and I always look forward to coming into the office,” Sue says. “A relationship with a financial advisor is also a special kind of connection because we work to bring your goals and dreams to life, and it’s so much more than creating a one-time, set-it-and-forget-it plan that works all by itself and gives you one moment of joy or security. We aim to bring you a lifetime of financial confidence through objective-driven service, planning and wealth management, and we base every action on your idea of the perfect lifestyle in retirement.”
A lifelong California resident, Sue attended UC Santa Barbara and achieved her bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing before later earning her teaching certificate with a focus on elementary education. She first entered the securities industry in 1978 and became registered to sell securities in 1980, going on to work for major investment banks like Oppenheimer Holdings, Merrill Lynch and Legg Mason. “I learned so much about working with clients, the vehicles we can set them up with and the power of investments early in my career. Working with the big investment management banks and brokerages can oftentimes make it difficult to focus on individuals, which is why I’m glad to be with California Wealth Advisors. We have the capacity and the touch points to provide more personal, hands-on service to each of our clients,” Sue says.
After 13 years of working, she took a brief hiatus from the workforce to focus on raising her family. She also took the opportunity to pivot professionally, going back to UC Santa Barbara to study accounting and business management. She worked as an accountant for more than seven years before working as a business operations manager for nearly a decade and a half. As a business operations manager, she grew her firm from about 10 employees to more than 60 before deciding to call it a career and hand her role to someone who could learn and grow from the position.
Soon after leaving her role as an operations manager, Sue took a class at Cal Lutheran University to learn about retirement and investment planning. She was well-versed in both foundational principles and advanced strategies, but she hoped to take her knowledge to the next level, especially as she was set to undertake the retirement journey herself. Immediately, she connected with Kelley Slaught, the owner and CEO of California Wealth Advisors and the leader of the class.
“From the very beginning, it was very obvious that Kelley put education first. I could tell that she cared about others and was really focused on more than bringing in sales and assets,” Sue says. “Her sole priority is spreading financial knowledge and literacy, and she is beyond committed to helping others understand just how many resources they have at their fingertips. She’s also on the ground, helping clients and standing in the trenches with them. If they have a problem, Kelley has a problem, and she won’t quit until they overcome the obstacles in their path.”
Sue first became a client of California Wealth Advisors, then she joined our team, so she knows what the experience looks like from every angle. “As a client with our firm, I saw firsthand what it looks like to work with Kelley and the team. It gave me a comprehensive understanding of what clients look for, what they need and how a financial advisory firm can provide for those needs,” Sue says. “It also helped me to understand how they consume information and how they form connections with their advisors. Obviously as our marketing coordinator, I’m always looking to bring in new clients, but it’s also beneficial to know how prospects like to be approached, which services they look for and how we can address their goals to give them the best chance to bring their dreams to life. That’s my mission, and I’m proud to say that I’m, part of a team that also places the needs of our partners first.”
When she’s not in the office, Sue enjoys exploring different areas of our beautiful state, trying new restaurants and spending time with her family. It was actually her family that pulled her away from work the first two times because she wanted to spend more time with them, but this time it was her family that pushed her to go back to work with California Wealth Advisors. “They know I’m passionate about helping people, and being in the office helps me fulfill that passion,” she says. “I also saw from my own experience just how important it can be to work with a financial advisor in order to give the whole family a sense of peace of mind about their finances, and I wanted to be able to give that feeling to each and every person who walks through our door.”