Super Intern Julie Penwell’s Summer: In Her Own Words
Julie spent twelve weeks in Lakeview’s offices gaining first-hand experience in a financial advisory firm, assisting us in key areas while participating in the full range of our work, from operations, to financial planning to investment strategy and execution. Julie radiates irrepressible enthusiasm and immersed herself in all things financial during her sojourn with us. To say the least, we were impressed! Julie has a strong desire to help people, and carries with her a maturity beyond her 19 years, with qualities well suited to pursuing a financial planning career. We wish Julie the best in her studies and hope to see her again soon.
Julie writes: When we’re growing up, adults often ask us what we want be when we grow up. In kindergarten, I wanted to be a pop star. In fourth grade, I was convinced I was going to be a fashion designer. By fifth grade, I turned my sights on being a teacher. So, when I told my parents at 15 that I wanted to be a personal financial planner, I can’t imagine they really thought it would stick.
Regardless of what my parents believed, I knew that I wanted to become a personal financial planner; I spent the next months discovering the education and career path I would need to follow to get there. I started this plan by attending Cascadia College while still in high school, earning both my associate’s degree in Business and high school diploma. The next step was to pick a university to transfer to. I decided on Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington; where I now study Personal Financial Planning, Forecasting Economics and Accounting.
when I told my parents at 15 that I wanted to be a personal financial planner, I can’t imagine they really thought it would stick.
It was at Central that I met my mentor, Julie Back, through the Student Alumni Association. We were paired together because of my career goals (shockingly, not because we were both named ‘Julie’); but we also happened to get along great. Throughout the year, I would call and ask countless questions ranging from what a financial planner really did to whether I should get snow tires for the infamous Ellensburg winters.
During one of our conversations in the spring, Julie suggested there might be an opportunity for me to work as an intern at Lakeview Financial in Seattle. Lakeview performs financial planning for individuals and families. They help people project their spending and saving into the future, as well as manage their investments (e.g., stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.). Since this was exactly the kind of work I wanted to do, I was beyond excited at this opportunity. I was being offered an internship in my dream career alongside my mentor.
Amid all of the excitement, there was also nervousness. I wasn’t sure what to expect from an internship. Would I be the typical intern, making daily coffee runs for the whole office? Or would I be thrown into a confusing, fast-paced office where I could barely keep my head above the water?
Luckily for me, neither of these situations were quite the reality of my summer here at Lakeview (well, I did make one Starbucks run for Deborah – but I offered to go!).
Would I be the typical intern, making daily coffee runs for the whole office? Or would I be thrown into a confusing, fast-paced office where I could barely keep my head above the water?
I’ve had many great experiences and learning opportunities during my 12 weeks here. Before I started, Julie and I sat down to discuss what the purpose of my internship. What did I want to learn? What did Lakeview think I should learn? The “big picture” of what I would be doing included learning how operations worked, understanding the financial planning process works and observing the client experience.
Before I get into some of the lessons I learned and my favorite parts about being an intern at Lakeview, I’d like to reminisce on some of the awkward realities of being a 19-year old in an office.
One social obstacle to overcome was the realization that unlike in college, adults in offices don’t always eat lunch together. This was evident by the number of times that I sat in the kitchen, quietly eating my salad, scrolling through my phone, while others ate lunch at their desks.
One cringe-worthy moment was when I couldn’t figure out how to lower my chair to fit under the massive conference room table in the first meeting I got to attend; so instead of sitting close to the table and taking notes like literally everyone else, I sat several inches away struggling to take notes. Oh, and I couldn’t talk about being an intern without lamenting the dozens of times I jammed the copier.
Despite these awkward moments, I have learned so much during my time at Lakeview. I started with the most “intern-y” of all tasks, scanning paperwork. Heather was gracious enough to walk me through this process several times. A large portion of the tasks I did this summer fall under the broad umbrella of “operations.” Operations is where trades are made, new accounts are created and all the paperwork is drafted. It is critical to Lakeview’s success.
I was fortunate to participate in several client review meetings. It was there started to understand how important the intern-y and operations tasks were. Advisors use many documents in their work, ranging from performance reports to meeting agendas to account applications. Keeping documents organized in a central location is critical to efficiency.
Interning at Lakeview has been a huge learning experience for me, as well as deeply motivating one.
One of my favorite aspects of this internship, was the company I was interning for. I believe what makes Lakeview such a great company is the uniqueness of the team. Each member brings something different to the table, particularly from the leadership team. One of the partners, Mac, has a wealth of knowledge and an inclination toward teaching. I am grateful for all the time to ensure I understood the investment terminology I was hearing, as well as explaining how the business of financial planning works. Kelly, Julie and Lisa were also very generous with their time. As a young woman, it has been empowering to watch strong, smart and confident women run a successful firm where clients and employees feel like they are part of something special.
Interning at Lakeview has been a huge learning experience for me, as well as deeply motivating one. It has reinforced my feelings about becoming a financial advisor and ensured me that I am on the path to get there. I am so grateful for this experience as well as the amazing group of people here that have made me a part of their team this summer.