2018 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Brooke Thompson

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thompson-woi-2018.jpgA colleague noted that when Brooke Thompson arrived in Indiana in 2017 to lead the market—which had five offices, more than 300 employees, $100 billion in assets under management and revenue exceeding $100 million—the environment was “in upheaval, lacked trust in leadership and was directionless with a fragmented culture.” Thompson not only focused on the numbers, but also on company morale and community givebacks. That has included raising $10,000 to renovate a man’s house through Habitat for Humanity, adopting families during the holiday season, and instituting a program to select a charity each month for fundraising efforts. The program has supported Down Syndrome Indiana, School on Wheels and more. “All achievements are because of the engagement of many,” said Thompson. “We have grown the Indiana market through new clients and new colleagues, but this is just the beginning. We will continue to promote the brand of the bull, all the while making positive impacts in our communities.”

Affiliations: A Make a Wish board member, Thompson previously served on the boards of Dress for Success, the Girl Scouts, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Rising up: With bachelor’s degrees in English and Russian from the University of Alabama, Thompson worked in retail management before starting with Merrill Lynch as a financial adviser. She ran its wealth management practice for a decade before shifting to leadership full time in 2010, working in the Charlotte market, then Nevada/Boise, followed by the Buckeye market, and now Indiana. “The most difficult decision was transitioning from a successful advisory practice to full-time leadership,” she said. “Leadership has always been my calling, so I am glad I took that fork in the road.”

Mentors: “There have been so many. I have learned from everyone I have ever had the opportunity with whom to work. My current boss, Paul Lambert, has been amazing—always giving direct and candid feedback, using the right combination of push and pull, and being so supportive of my career and decisions.”

Pride points: “I am most proud of my daughters’ abilities to adapt and grow. This was most recently highlighted in our last move, but true to form, they have grabbed new opportunities by the horns.”

thompson-factbox-woi-2018.pngDowntime: “I love to cook and travel. I especially enjoy cooking ethnic cuisine. Indian is my favorite.”

Inspiring play: “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” by Edward Albee. Why? Because, she said, “things aren’t always what they appear…”

Change she’d like to see: “I would love to see more female representation in wealth management. Women are inherently built for this business, but we are woefully underrepresented.”•

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