Kathy Grasmeder, a 2021 Morgan Stanley MAKER, says her goal is to connect with women before a death, divorce or disability leaves them as the family financial decision-maker.
In 2007, with her work partner of six years about to retire, Morgan Stanley Managing Director and Financial Advisor Kathleen Grasmeder was looking to form a partnership once more. Knowing full well the value in partnering, she recalls how doing so a decade prior had been her “big break in the business.”
“It’s a balancing act,” she says of a Financial Advisor’s abundant responsibilities. “I was trying to do everything myself, and it wasn’t until I became part of a team that my career really excelled. We built a great practice together.”
Fast forward to today, and Kathy is 14 years into another flourishing partnership. She and her husband of 33 years together lead a 14-person team in the Glens Falls, N.Y., area, which includes their oldest daughter, Danielle. The Table Rock Group is the largest producing team in their complex.
After nearly 20 years in the construction materials business, Dan Grasmeder, who has a degree in civil engineering and is now a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, came to Morgan Stanley to join Kathy, a who has been with the Firm since 1996.
“Leaving his career was a pretty big sacrifice,” says Kathy of her college sweetheart and partner in raising their two daughters. “But given my trust for him and knowledge of his work ethic, I knew it would be a great partnership.”
Kathy and Dan work well together and “equally shared the responsibility of building a culture for the new team,” she says of their early years in the business. “He’s provided unwavering support in my career. We have a successful home family as well as a successful extended family at work, and for that I’m really proud.”
Growing up in a divorced family with five siblings, Kathy says she was raised in a “pretty dysfunctional family.” At 17, she decided to live with her father, a decision she calls “one of the biggest of my life” and one she’s never regretted. “My father is kind, generous in every way and loving—he taught me what a functional family should be, and I credit him for the tight-knit family I have today.”
When asked for one word only, Kathy says “driven” best describes her. “And that applies to servicing clients, developing team members, and giving back to the community.” She is president of the Glens Falls Rotary Club, board president of the Lake George Club Historic Preservation Foundation, and vice chair of SUNY Adirondack Board of Trustees.
Kathy has been named to Forbes’ list of America’s Best-in-State Wealth Advisors for the past six years and ranks 61 on its list of Top 200 Women Financial Advisors for 2021.* Additionally, she has been a member of Morgan Stanley’s prestigious Chairman’s Club for the past three years.
In 2021, she was named a Morgan Stanley MAKER, joining a distinguished group of women and men of accomplishment, all nominated by their peers. “MAKERS are those who accelerate progress for women,” says Kathy. “They educate, encourage and mentor, letting others know that, ‘Yes, you can do it.’”
One of the many ways she lifts women up is through the annual Ladies Tea, a local event her team and the branch have hosted for the past 20 years to introduce women to “managing their own finances.” Her goal is to “connect with women before a death, divorce or disability leaves them as the financial decision-maker in the family.” She’s grateful to see more women “taking the financial lead in their households, and we like to think that we’ve been a part of that movement.”
With women living longer, so much wealth changing hands, and so many women “finding themselves in the financial decision-making seat,” Kathy is confident that “there is no better time than now for women to become Financial Advisors.”
Her advice to those just starting out? “Seek out a team that invests in their people and one that is willing to develop their team members,” she says. “As long as you’re willing to work hard and you’re on a team that is willing to invest in you, that’s the magic formula.”
Taking it a step further, she advises them to make sure there’s diversity on your team and be open to feedback and coaching from senior teammates. “That’s your fast track to growth,” Kathy adds. “The more collaboration you have, the better the outcomes will be.”