WSR Honors Exceptional Professionals Of Hispanic Origin In Fourth Installment Of Pathfinder Awards Series
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, WSR continues its commitment to underrepresented communities by honoring six outstanding wealth management professionals as Hispanic Top Industry Leaders in the fourth installment of the invitation-only WSR Pathfinder Awards.
This group of Pathfinder Awards follows previous 2022 Pathfinder Awards honoring distinguished industry executives during Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
As with previous awards, our editorial staff considered prominent executives of Hispanic origin from various professions within the industry to select top leaders with years of dedication to wealth management, a strong reputation in the industry, exceptional influence and the ability to act as role models for those considering a career in wealth management.
WSR also takes this occasion to amplify the voices of executives from underrepresented groups, giving them a platform to speak so that we, as an industry and individually, can listen and learn how to advance and establish an inclusive environment for all.
The names below are not in any particular order. Please join us in congratulating them.
- Hispanic Product Manager Of The Year
Stephanie Gutierrez brings a wealth of custodian experience and entrepreneurial skill to wealth management. She spent over two decades with IRA custodian Fiserv Investment Support Services, including assisting the conversion process when T.D. Ameritrade acquired the firm.
In 2010, she co-founded boutique wealth management custodian Equity Advisor Solutions with Sean Gutlig, where she currently leads a team of analysts and developers to architect product offerings, including most recently the firm’s equity cryptocurrency platform.
“The most exciting part of product management is the creativity involved with designing a solution for a business need,” says Gutierrez, noting the product management process includes information gathering, product design, collaboration with developers and marketing. “Product management involves all areas of an organization and can be the driving force in creating new revenue sources.”
She adds, “There’s something very satisfying when your product is in the market and the consumer is reaping benefits.”
Gutierrez says that the wealth management industry can advance women of Hispanic origin by “first establishing a diverse and inclusive culture. Large custodial platforms, mid-size fintech organizations and small RIA firms can all benefit from the Hispanic woman’s creativity, work ethic and loyalty.”
In addition, Gutierrez advises that firms create “programs so that any interested graduate can be trained to add value, instead of needing to hire candidates with extensive experience in the field, which usually lends itself to a less diverse population. Once these young professionals are in an organization, continue to support their growth and advancement.”
A Colorado native, in her spare time Gutierrez walks her dog, kayaks and hikes.
- Hispanic Wealthtech Leader Of The Year
With almost eight years of service at wealthtech and regtech firm Smarsh, Robert Cruz leads a team providing expertise in data privacy, electronic discovery, data migration, information governance and regulatory compliance through client workshops, consulting and presentations. Cruz also advises other Smarsh teams on marketing, sales training, product strategy and interaction with industry analysts.
Prior to Smarsh, Cruz served as Senior Director, Product Marketing for cybersecurity firm Proofpoint and before that held various roles at Electronic Evidence Discovery, FileNet Corporation and BroadVision.
- Hispanic Entrepreneur Of The Year
Born in Lima, Peru of Jewish heritage, Isidoro Korngold served in the Peruvian Central Bank and as a professor in two universities. He has been Professor of Economics at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, and Professor of International Trade as well as Professor of Marketing, International Trade and Money and Banking at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Korngold recalls the difficulties and unrest in Lima while he worked as a central banker and university professor. During his time at the Peruvian Central Bank, “a left-wing military coup” interrupted the bank’s macroeconomic strategic 10-year plan with what became “30 years of economic stagnation, characterized by a large degree of social upheaval,” which also created a challenging teaching environment at the Universidad de San Marcos.
In 1981, Korngold co-founded Intercontinental Financial Services Corporation with John Kauth in San Antonio, which multiplied into a family of businesses including Intercontinental Wealth Advisors, which now manages nearly $2 billion for an international clientele.
Other companies in the Intercontinental family include estate planning consultancy Intercontinental Consulting Group and insurance solutions provider Intercontinental Agency.
To persons of Hispanic origin considering entrepreneurship in wealth management, Korngold notes that “the Hispanic market remains one of the fastest growing demographics in the country, creating a fertile market for managing wealth within this increasingly prosperous community.”
Given the difficulties of opening a wealth advisory firm, Korngold advises those interested in entrepreneurship to receive training in “an interdisciplinary environment that allows them to successfully develop their own advisory business practice within the firm.”
Under Korngold’s leadership, Intercontinental developed this type of environment, in which the mostly Hispanic portfolio management team receives training across various functions of the firm as well as interpersonal skills required to serve an ultra-high net worth clientele.
- Hispanic Financial Advisor Of The Year
As a Senior Financial Planner at McLean, Virginia-based Bogart Wealth, Sandra Terronez heads the firm’s financial planning department, designing and analyzing financial plans for the firm, which manages over $2 billion in assets and experienced three year growth of 157% according to SmartAsset.
With over fourteen years of experience in wealth management, Terronez previously served as Director of Financial Planning for Henderson Financial Group at Northwestern Mutual and prior to that, with WealthQuest Financial Services and USAA.
Away from the office, Terronez spends time with family and friends, travels and supports her son in Boy Scouts.
- Hispanic CEO Of The Year
With over 20 years’ experience, Fernandez previously served as Senior Vice President at Healthcare Real Estate Group, where he hired and trained a sales force, and Vice President of Sales at Cornerstone Ventures, both based in Irvine, California.
Fernandez also serves as Principal at DNS Capital, a position which he has held over eight years. The firm helps real estate operators raise equity investments.
Before real estate, Fernandez worked as a broker for precious metals and commodities, where investors “took a tremendous amount of risk.” As he witnessed investors suffer losses from volatility, he “decided to make a career change to something that was more stable to sleep well at night” and, fortunately for our industry, he pursued real estate and wealth management.
For persons of Hispanic origin looking to rise through the ranks to CEO, Fernandez advises tenacity: “Be there early, be the last to leave, be the hardest worker, be better at your job than anyone else in the organization. Don’t let anything get in your way, don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do it, and at some point, you can become a CEO.”
Fernandez also advises to never let the status quo intimidate you from climbing the corporate ladder. “Don’t allow your origin or your nationality to be an excuse for why you cannot do something. Better yet, allow it to be a reason why you can do something better.”
- Hispanic CMO Of The Year
One of the most recognized names in wealth management marketing technology (martech), Angel Gonzalez founded Snappy Kraken in 2016 alongside CEO Robert Sofia and Chief Product Officer Brad DeLoatche with a foundation of experience in marketing and establishing a previous martech company, Modernactive.
As CMO, Gonzalez oversees the company’s brand, voice and content strategy, with a focus on marketing strategy, copywriting, product development and content creation.
Gonzalez also served as Director of Marketing at financial marketing company Platinum Advisor Strategies, which is now part of FMG.
Gonzalez refers to himself as “almost a nomad,” spending a large amount of time in Airbnb rentals. A fan of gadgets, movies and music, this technology-driven leader also has a passion for books.
Janeesa Hollingshead, Executive Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at email@example.com