Some female financial advisors need a nudge to move into management positions, which means Kristen Kimmell will be doing a lot of nudging in the months ahead.

Kimmell, recently promoted to head of advisor recruiting and field marketing at RBC Wealth Management – U.S., based in Minneapolis, said she wants to ignite the passion in other women to become financial advisors and then take on leadership roles.

“As an industry, it’s our duty to create a supportive environment for professionals of all backgrounds, and in turn give our clients access to advice from diverse perspectives," she said. "I’m proud to work for RBC, which has long shared in this vision and continues to walk the walk, not just talk the talk."

Her new role is a combination of two departments.

Kimmell already helped spearhead efforts that resulted in the number of female advisors at RBC Wealth Management – U.S. growing by 23% in the last two years; the number of women in branch director roles doubled in that time. RBC does not reveal the numbers of women in these roles, but RBC has 1,900 financial advisors operating in 170 locations in 42 states handling $384 billion in total client assets.

“We find that many women want a woman advisor—they want someone who looks like them, in part, because they do not have to keep explaining themselves to the advisors,” Kimmell said. She added that she wants to play a role in recruiting top talent, including women, by initiating more projects like the firm’s “Your Path Can Lead to RBC” videos. The videos tell the stories of women who have come to the financial industry from a wide range of backgrounds.

Only about one quarter of financial advisors are women, but studies have shown 70% of women want a female advisor.

“Television series are showing strong women in other industries such as police officers, attorneys and doctors, which is encouraging more women to think about these careers. I thought we needed the same kind of television show for financial advisors so we did the videos instead,” she said.

Kimmell, who has been in the business for nearly 25 years, said she knew early on she wanted to work in finances and that recruiting additional women now is more important than ever.

“Women are more educated now. They are earning more money and more of them are handling the wealth in the household,” she said. “We want to make sure we are recruiting advisors of more diversity—not just women but all demographics, so everyone can find the advisor he or she wants.”

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