sherry dewane.

los angeles, california | best friend. advocate. daughter. sister. supporter. believer.

Sherry Dewane is a wealth adviser for the Beverly Hills market of Wells Fargo Private Bank. As a part of The Private Bank, Ms. Dewane is responsible for understanding and managing the financial strategy of investors in order to help accomplish their life goals.

But as the story often goes, Sherry has not always taken the easy path along the way. She is much more than a wealth adviser, and her story reveals that this woman not only has a high level of intelligence, she has a heart of gold and the courage of a lion. Tragically, a dear friend of hers was diagnosed with ALS a few years ago. The news was devastating, but like everything in life, we have a choice in our response to adversity. Sherry knew that and made the difficult decision to place her own dreams on hold to become a caregiver. Thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, we all know that ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. We also know it is a disease that does not discriminate in its devastation.

Sherry believes in making the world a better place and once you get to know her, it is clear to see she leads by example. It is an honor to introduce you to Ms. Sherry Dewane, wizard of wealth, believer in love and everything that is good.

How did you choose a career in financial services industry and was it a conscious decision?

I found financial services through life circumstances and experience.  Like most women of my generation, I saw women who had choices, and many who did not. I wanted to have choices in life and I wanted a level of independence. I didn’t have a clear view about how to achieve the independence I wanted, but I always thought that I would figure it out.  I was naive, but that allowed me to move forward and not give up.  I think that if I ever thought about having the career I have, and working where I work, I would have been terrified and perhaps not moved ahead.

I discovered that financial services was a female friendly career path.  I like the mathematics aspect of finance – there is always a right and wrong answer. When I started my career at a bank in Billings, Montana, I saw executive women, doing well in life and enjoying their jobs. I saw something that I could do – I had a long way to go, but I had faith that I could do it.

I have always found the work intellectually challenging and my clients endlessly fascinating.  I learn from every client I have and I find working with them tremendously rewarding. More than 20 years later, I am happy I chose this career path.

From English Lake, Wisconsin to Los Angeles, California – you’ve come a long way.

I work in a place that is very, very different than where I spent a good part of my childhood. My family lived on a lake surrounded by farms, fields and woods in rural Wisconsin. It was beautiful and sometimes I find myself longing for that lake or a walk in the woods. At the same time, I look out my office window in Beverly Hills, to the Hollywood sign, over much of the Los Angeles Basin and I can’t believe I am here.  Both have their appealing characteristics.

I could have stayed and had a lovely life in Wisconsin or in Phoenix, where we moved when I was 12.  I think that being flexible and seizing opportunity is important in life. I also believe that adaptability is critical. We don’t always have a choice about where we end up. It is up to me to make the most and best of any situation.

Part of any success I’ve had is because I saw my parents’ example.  They worked incredibly hard and overcame their own life situations.  They were imaginative, big dreamers and took risks.  The example of that hard work remains with me.  In the long run, there is nothing that replaces showing up and working hard.  Nothing.

Who are your clients? And why do you feel passionate about helping them?

My clients are lovely people who value financial dialogue and advice.  They range from retirees to people in the entertainment industry and entrepreneurs. I’ve been privileged and honored to work with my clients and their families for many years.  I moved to Los Angeles 18 years ago and have had some clients since I arrived here. Their children were young at that time and now those same children are adults – getting married and having children of their own.

I received the most amazing thank you notes from one of those children recently.  She said… “Thank you for your thoughtful gift.  Mark and I just love our new flatware.  But, honestly, I feel like I should thank you for so much more than forks, knives and spoons.  Your sound financial support and advice has silently been behind so many of the experiences and opportunities I have been given that have led me to this stage in my life. I’m not sure how I can adequately thank you, but I’ll just say a sincere “thank you.” Without your help, I never would have moved to Colorado, bought my first house and married a wonderful husband. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” That note alone made it all worthwhile.

I look at my job as providing my clients’ financial peace of mind.  Financial products and services are complicated and have become more so over time.  I work to help my clients achieve their financial goals.

My career allows me to contribute to my community, which is one of the great aspects of my career.  I’ve served on numerous boards and have been afforded the opportunity to contribute to my community.  I’ve served on wide ranging boards and have done volunteer work in various areas.  There is nothing like the opportunity to help others.  I’ve learned and grown through all of these opportunities.

I’ve had an incredible career thus far.  I meet fascinating people with amazing life stories.  Los Angeles is full of people who create amazing lives doing all kinds of things.  I love the stories – from people who are 5th generation Californians to people who recently arrived.

If someone wanted to follow in your footsteps, what are a few things they need to do to move in the right direction?

Have a goal, find a mentor, develop a sponsor and learn every day. My mom instilled a love of learning in me at a very early age. I never had the idea that couldn’t learn something. In other words — I always thought I could learn anything or learn to do anything. Intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning go a long way.

When I started in my career, there were a number of people who gave me a chance, who talked to me, answered questions and helped me. I still find those people, although now, their ages have changed. When I was young, I would find the most senior woman I knew and ask endless questions.  I would watch those women and try to figure out what they were doing that made them successful. Now that I am no longer the young, new woman, I learn from people a generation younger than me.

Math skills are important in my industry and many others. Learn it well. Learn from anyone possible.

Strong work ethic – do what you say you will do, when you say it will be done and do the best possible job.  Try to go a bit beyond what is expected.  Surprise and delight the people around you.  Clients, colleagues, management, whomever.  Great morale builder.   Help others.

What has been the most difficult situation you have found yourself in and what did you learn from it?

My good friend had ALS and a related neurological condition.  I helped him during his illness and ultimate passing.  The most difficult thing I’ve ever done was to tell him he was doing great and that everything would be all right and saying it without crying.  I learned that I could support another person in a very difficult situation.  This was something I never thought I could do.

Having said that, there are so many difficult things in life and I have friends and family who have lived through much more difficult situations.  I think that we are continuously challenged by life. I remember when I thought finding my way around Los Angeles, having just moved here from Montana was the toughest thing I had ever done.  I think we all do the most difficult thing frequently in life and that most people rise to the occasion, surprise themselves and others and can become better for it.

I learned from my experience and from watching others that the human spirit is astonishing in its ability to carry on.  I am awed by people that I know who have overcome extraordinary odds or a tragedy in their lives and have done it with dignity and grace.

What has been your greatest life lesson learned?

My greatest life lesson – patience.  When my friend was ill, there were so many things that were different. He could not speak clearly due to the ALS and didn’t move at his former pace. We went shopping, to doctors, all the normal things for as long as he could.  I didn’t want to rush him or make things more difficult. Simple things that would have taken 2 minutes could turn into a 20 minutes. I learned to be patient. We experienced people who were nasty, rude, belittling, humiliating to my friend. I saw the kind, patient people and I saw grace in them.  I found patience that I had not seen in myself. I saw him deal with his world happily and cheerfully to the end.  So many lessons.

What is your best advice on how to live a graceful life?

This is tough.  I think that I aspire to this.  I have goals to be kind, generous, decent, patient, compassionate, tolerant, respectful, appreciative and loving.  I work on myself every day.  I try to help someone every day.  I think that is the aspiration.  To do it well every day.

j. jane side notes:

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