The L³ Alliance (Lifestyle, Legacy, and Leading by example) is the women’s group for the Wells International Foundation. Founder & CEO, Dr. Monique Y. Wells, believes it is important for high-achieving professional women to keep the idea of legacy “top of mind” and to observe how doing so influences their impact as leaders. She invites women leaders to reflect on this concept by contributing to the What Does Legacy Mean to You? article series.

As Vice President at LifePlan Financial Advisors, Sibyl Slade provides financial planning and investment advisory services to clients in Atlanta as well as the Southern Crescent area. She helps professionals and small business owners increase their cashflow and personal assets through advance tax savings strategies and investment strategies traditionally afforded to larger firms. Additionally, she is the co-founder of the Atlanta Small Business Mastermind Forum and serves as the secretary of the board of directors for Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), the advisory board for ACE Women’s Business Center (sponsored by SBA), and the advisory board for Females and Finance.

L³ Alliance: What does the word “legacy” mean to you?

SS: For me, legacy is your proof that you have been on this Earth before. Will others remember you long after you are gone? Or will you be that picture stored away in the box that people look at and wonder who you are?

My hope is that my descendants as well as anyone else that I encounter during my lifetime will remember me for years to come – whether I blazed a trail for them to follow, provided them with wisdom or insight, inspired them to fulfill their dreams, or sowed a financial or spiritual seed that empowered them to become the best version of themselves.

L³ Alliance: How does it apply to you right now as a woman who is a leader in your field?

SS: This certainly applies to me as a woman in my field. I have been involved in banking and finance, and now financial services, for over 28 years. As you know, these are male-dominated industries, and both are driven by power and influence.

Very few women are in the C-Suite in the financial sector. And for those of us who are in the industry, we know firsthand that gatekeeping and pay inequality persists even though women have conferred the most degrees across all categories from bachelors to doctorates.

I broke many barriers in the regulatory world, and I am working to break barriers in the financial services industry and for professional women in general. I do this through formal and informal mentoring by helping women with many of the soft skills (that I had to learn on my own) and connections needed to help them accelerate their career path in their profession, all while making significant increases to their income and financial net worth.

L³ Alliance: Do you believe there is a relationship between leadership and legacy?

SS: Absolutely, I believe there is a relationship between leadership and legacy.

L³ Alliance: Please describe what this relationship is.  

SS: As a leader, you expose others to all the possibilities available to them by engaging with you or observing you. And in turn, they naturally migrate to roles they have seen you play because they can see themselves in them. They know the value and impact you made in their life, and they are eager to pay it forward to others.

Intentional leaders inherently build legacy. Think about the most influential leaders in your life. Are you still mirroring some attribute you acquired from them?

L³ Alliance: How can keeping legacy “top of mind” help you be a better leader?

SS: Keeping legacy top of mind helps me to stay grounded. What will people remember me most for? Is the world a better place because of my actions and my being here? Is it something that will be of worth to future generations?

Constantly asking myself these questions reminds me that my life is bigger than me and that my innate ability to inspire others is not to be taken lightly or for granted. Everyone connected to me should be better off because of knowing me.

Photo Credit: Shawn Dowdell-Photographer