Fall 2023: Cary Carbonaro shares the power of “Phenom by Girl Scouts”

By Cary Carbonaro, CFP®MBA, SVP,  Director of Women and Wealth, CFP Board Ambassador, and 2023 Top 100 Advisor Investopedia

When I think of Girl Scouts, the first thing that comes to mind is their delicious cookies. Still, beyond that, I see an organization that empowers young girls to become strong, confident, and compassionate individuals. As a former Brownie and Girl Scout from ages 7 to 12, I fondly remember the joy of spending extra time with friends in the evenings and creating cherished memories.

The Girl Scout Mission, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place,” deeply resonates with me as an advocate for women both within and outside of the profession. Our CFP Profession, founded in 1985, is relatively young at only 38 years. Unfortunately, we lack sufficient brand awareness for kids to aspire to become CFPs. To address this, efforts are underway to incorporate more registered CFP programs into college curricula. However, even more importantly, young girls are not adequately exposed to our profession, leading to the current gender imbalance, with only 20% of CFPs being female.

Inside the profession, one of the significant challenges is raising awareness among women about the existence of this career path.

Additionally, retaining women in the profession requires mentorship and networking initiatives to provide the necessary support and guidance. Outside the profession, financial literacy for women remains a critical concern, as the gender pay wage gap contributes to a wealth gap, and career breaks for caregiving impact financial stability. Women often retire with less money than men and face higher healthcare expenses, underscoring the importance of financial education and planning.

In 2023, a heartening development emerged with the collaboration between Charles Schwab and the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) to modernize and relaunch the Girl Scouts’ financial literacy badges. This initiative aims to bridge the gap between what girls learn in school and the financial skills they need to navigate life and business confidently.

As an ambassador with the CFP Board, I was thrilled to participate in the Girl Scouts National Convention in Orlando, known as Phenom by Girl Scouts.

The event, held at Disney’s Coronado Springs from July 20-22, 2023, provided an inspiring space for girls of all ages to explore unique activities, contribute to collaborative projects, and engage in mentoring sessions. The CFP Board’s booth, expertly organized by Amy Storey, stood out by offering interactive games and financial learning opportunities. Additionally, we held campfire and mentoring sessions focused on paying for college and budgeting, which were incredibly well-received.

The highlight of our booth was the “Adulting” game, a life-size board where girls made financial decisions, such as choosing between college and a career, managing student loan debt, and exploring the benefits of hiring a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Beth Green said,  “The enthusiasm and insightful questions from the girls demonstrated their readiness to tackle the challenges of adulthood with confidence.”

The impact of this event was immense, with many girls expressing interest in learning more about the CFP profession and financial literacy. The success of the convention has opened up exciting possibilities for future initiatives, such as offering the game to local troop leaders and utilizing WIN advocates to facilitate financial education sessions at troop meetings.

In conclusion, the Phenom event was an overwhelming success, sowing thousands of seeds of financial empowerment and awareness among young girls. I am passionate about sharing this experience beyond the 10 CFP Volunteers who got to experience it. The significant impact of this collaboration on empowering the next generation of women deserves to be heard and celebrated. Together, let’s ensure that girls truly rule the world!

About Cary Carbonaro: Cary is an award-winning Certified Financial Planner professional with over 25+ years of experience. She is a tireless advocate for women in the financial industry and is passionate about increasing financial literacy and empowering women to overcome any financial challenge they face. Before joining ACM Wealth, Ms. Carbonaro was Vice President, Head of Office at Goldman Sachs. At United Capital,  she founded and served as Head of Women’s Leadership.  She was a Managing Director,  Partner,  Voice of the Women, Finlife Coach,  Managing Director Most Valuable Player, and her financial planning practice was a Diamond office winner.

She is a CFP® Board Ambassador and was appointed to represent the industry in the media. She is the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Investment News Women to Watch award and was ranked #4 on Investopedia’s Top 100 Financial Advisors list in 2019. She was listed in the Top 100 Investopedia in 2018-2020.  Her expertise is highly sought after, and she has offered commentary while appearing on both local and national television news outlets.

Cary spearheads the establishment of the Women and Wealth division of ACM Wealth, which aims to provide women and families with strategic financial planning guidance and wealth management support to help them live the lives they want. She has spoken all over the world on financial literacy for women. Learn more at carycarbonaro.com.

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