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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 7, 2003 18 years ago

YP: Kirstin Severs

YP: Kirstin Severs Second Vice PresidentInvestments, Smith Barney - Sarasota

YP: Kirstin Severs

Second Vice President

Investments, Smith Barney - Sarasota


Business Profile: Severs has been a financial consultant for four years.

On becoming a financial consultant: "My father was in the business for 20 years, but I started my career as an interior designer. After seven years in the design industry, I knew it wasn't my calling and started searching for a new career. I was actually at my dad's office (Smith Barney) speaking with a lady who had been in the hotel industry when the assistant manager suggested that I interview with them. I agreed, but only to appease him. He sent me home with some reading and I got bit by the investment bug and have been with them ever since."

Typical Client: "The millionaire next door. Some are retired, some are small business owners, but all of them know the value of a dollar. Most of my clients have worked very hard to get what they have and preserving their wealth is very important. They tend to be quite conservative and private in their lives and finances."

Hours worked per week: "I try not to work more than 50 hours a week."

Professional mentor: "My first boss and friend, Dan Sagan. He always gave me enough rope to hang myself and taught me to never be intimidated."

Personal motto: "Keep it simple, Sam."

Biggest Professional Challenge: "Balance. I tend to feel the need to be everything to everyone; delegation has always been a weak spot for me. I am learning to pick my battles, take care of what I am really good at and mill the rest out."

Long-term Goals: "I would like to eventually work alongside Sally Krawcheck, Smith Barney's CEO, in upper management for Smith Barney. After that, my husband and I have a dream of retiring to the islands and running a bed and breakfast."

Sailing and Business: "Sailing is all about feeling the wind and understanding the sea. When you are racing you have to look at the entire course, not just the leg that you are on. What works in rough seas doesn't in light winds, and one big lift or header can change your entire course. The most important thing that sailing has taught me, don't try to fight against the currents or the wind or the ocean. Build your strategy around the elements that you have naturally and always look at the big picture, don't get caught up in the little stuff."

On growing up in Sarasota: "I have a real sense of community, which has built my integrity. I always try to treat people as good as I can because you never know when you are going to run into them at the grocery store."

Outside Hobbies/Activities: "My husband and I renovate homes for a hobby, and I am very involved in a few select organizations that I really believe in. I helped to start the Sarasota YPG, am the treasurer for UNIFEM (an organization that helps educate and promote women in third world countries), and I teach investment classes at the Women's Resource Center."

Favorite Media: "My favorite magazines are Registered Rep and Forbes. I love to read about successful people and how they did it. My favorite TV shows are Scrubs and Frasier. When you do what I do for a living, you have to watch something that can make you laugh!"

Most Influential Book: "Probably Hillary Clinton's recent book, but not because of my political party affiliation or because I am a woman. It gave me a wonderful introduction to the world of politics and got me interested in how our political system works. I have come to realize that if you want to make a change in the world you have to get your head wet."

Spiritual Side: "It comes from inside and is with me through everything I do. As cliche as it sounds, I truly believe what goes around comes around. I live to be as good a person as I can and hope that it will be reciprocated, not only in the world as we know it but for always."

On her Generation: "I think we are the 'back to basics' generation. With most of the 'ceilings' gone from what we can accomplish, we are able to excel without getting caught up in the noise. If we want to run a multi-million dollar company in a t-shirt we can, and if we want to be a stay-at-home mom, that is ok too. The one thing I would change about our generation ¦ we are too disposable, things just don't seem to last like they used to."

- Kendall Jones


Age: 30

Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

Childhood: Severs grew up in Sarasota. Attended Pine View School from 1982 to 1990. Her mother stayed home until the kids were in high school, then she became a travel agent. Severs' father was a stockbroker.

In school, Severs was a member of Zonta, the sailing team.

Birth Order: Oldest of two, with a younger brother.

Current residence: West of Trail, by the hospital.

Marital Status/ Family: Married to Tim, with a 4-year-old son. "My son's name is Ketch, which is a two-masted sailboat. His middle name is Traveler, a trait we hope to instill in him."

Education: Florida State University, Tallahassee, B.S., 1994. While in college, Severs was a member of the sailing team.

Stress relief: "Run and shop - never at the same time, though."

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