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Member Spotlight: The Athena Network

After years of working for someone else Lisa Strohm decided she could fill a niche financial advising services market, because she better understands their needs, priorities and challenges.

With more than 15 years as a financial advisor, Strohm opened her own office in December, 2015, with a women-friendly focus. Strohm is president and CEO of The Athena Network, financial and life management services based in Center Valley, Lehigh County.

Strohm believes women approach financial issues from a different position and perspective than men do, and therefore need a different approach.

“Women are juggling a lot of priorities,” Strohm said.

That means it’s important to take women’s values and priorities into consideration, when advising them about financial planning, savings and wealth management.

From raising children to suspending or igniting power careers, dealing with aging parents, death or divorce, women often shoulder the lion’s share of family life, while keeping their fingers on the pulse of household income, savings and investments. They may even be in a position of earning more than their life partners or spouses.

“Men approach financial planning with S&P 500 analysis and statistics, women don’t think that way,” Strohm explained.

“Statistically oriented and communicated results” can be intimidating to women, with the result of “alienating them,” Strohm said.

Her holistic approach takes into consideration where a woman is in her career and earning cycle, where her children and parents may be in their life journey, and how all the pieces fit together.

Beyond bank statements and investment reports, Strohm said offering added value means providing credible resources to her clients, above and beyond the investment picture.

Strohm provides resources and vetted services for such professionals as CPAs, estate planning attorneys, nutritionists, personal trainers, insurance agents, realtors, rental property analysis firms (for investors) and elder care services, among others. This slate of providers helps save her client’s valuable time with focused concierge services.

“These are (benefits) your typical financial planner doesn’t offer. I’ve done the due diligence for (my clients),” Strohm explained of her list of concierge options.

Lisa Strohm’s Take Away Tips for Women and Finance:

#1 Meet with the planner before signing. Financial advisors should be looking out for you and listening to your concerns and needs, not telling you about themselves and what they can achieve.

#2 Fee basis versus commission based- Strohm advocates fee based services over commission based ones. If financial charges for services are based upon a commission, proceed with caution, according to Strohm. Investments may be suggested because of the benefit to the advisor, because that is how he or she will be paid.

Strohm, who offers fee-based services, said her fee includes life management services. “At the least, planning and investment should be part of (the package),” Strohm said. When selecting someone to work with, Strohm suggested “go with your gut, it’s rarely wrong.”

For more information on The Athena Network log onto www.the-athena-network.com

Running To a Healthier Life

Series #1: Pita Girl, Burrito Boy, YoYum – Dr. Sedicum

The Chamber welcomed a new member this summer that wants to make a difference in Quakertown’s fast food landscape. Dr. Austin Sedicum, a local podiatrist and ultra-marathon runner, is no longer just a doctor in the area, he is now getting ready to bring a new healthy eatery to Quakertown by the end of August.  What is behind his reasoning for a healthy eatery? Running and family.  Dr. Sedicum was disappointed by the lack of healthy eating options, and that is what led him to open Burrito Boy-Pita Girl and YoYum Yogurt.  A concept designed to meet individual tastes among family members at one location.

All three offer healthy meals with flavorful combinations.  Pita Girl is inspired by Dr. Sedicum’s wife, Vicky, who enjoys eating healthy and that is exactly what Pita Girl is about.  Burrito Boy is inspired by Dr. Sedicum himself who sometimes likes to enjoy a mouth watering burrito that he can’t get at home.  After any meal you choose to get, there is no better dessert than ice cream which is where YoYum comes into play.  YoYum will offer 18 flavors of frozen yogurt with over 60 toppings.

There’s nothing like running hundreds of miles to make you want to eat smart and healthy.  Just ask Dr. Austin Sedicum who is preparing to run the “Race Across the Sky”.   Most of you may not know but Dr. Sedicum is an extreme marathon runner.   Last year, with his wife by his side, they completed the Rim to Rim to Rim marathon in the Grand Canyon after running about 50 miles in a change of elevation of 22,000 ft.  Dr. Sedicum’s next challenge is the Leadville 100, which consists of running 100 miles in under 30 hours through the Rockies.  The 2013 Leadville 100 takes place August 17-18.  Follow Dr. Sedicum’s progress during the race on the Leadville 100 webcast at http://www.leadvilleraceseries.com/

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