Member Spotlight: Brooke Austin’s Path to the Retirement Plan Industry

Brooke Austin’s interest in math and numbers led her to study finance in college; however, it was her passion for helping people reduce financial stress that drove her to focus on personal financial planning while in school. Shortly after graduating from West Virginia University in 2015, she moved to Manhattan where she worked as a Financial Representative for Principal Financial Group.

Although she enjoyed helping individuals plan for their financial futures, Brooke felt like she could be making a larger impact. Guided by Barbara Delaney, one of her mentors, Brooke began to explore working with employer-sponsored retirement plans. She was intrigued by the idea of helping large numbers of participants take control of their financial situation as they prepared for retirement. While she enjoyed her role at Principal, she was primarily working with individuals and the thought of helping so many people at once really appealed to her.

It wasn’t long before Brooke’s talents were recognized among industry leaders and soon after starting her role at Principal, she was offered an opportunity to join GRP Advisor Alliance, a retirement plan consulting firm, as the Assistant Vice President of Sales. Brooke took a chance and decided to move across the country to southern California earlier this year to give it a try. She hasn’t looked back since.

Brooke Austin’s passion for her work was evident when I spoke with her about her role at GRP. She works in a variety of capacities, primarily focusing on educating advisors about the resources available to their individual practices through GRP. Brooke is energized by her ability to impact thousands of lives through GRP’s financial wellness initiatives and loves helping advisors understand how to implement them. She never has the same day twice, allowing her to evolve and grow both personally and professionally. It is clear that her unique position within the company is a driving force behind her happiness and success.

When she joined GRP, her colleague and mentor (and WiPN President) Amy Glynn told her about Women in Pensions Network. Her first event was GRP’s National Conference in Arizona. Walking into a room full of female industry professionals who welcomed her with open arms was inspiring. She hopes to introduce other women to WiPN as she continues to grow within GRP and the retirement plan industry.

Brooke has embraced the California lifestyle and in her free time she enjoys exploring the area, especially the beaches. She also actively promotes a service called Stitch Fix, an online clothing service that delivers outfits specific to a person’s personal taste and style profile. When she graduated and began her career, this service allowed her to dress professionally without worrying about losing her personality. It increased her confidence and ensured she dressed appropriately as she was introduced to the corporate world. Brooke tries to make it back to the east coast to see her family when she can but has grown to appreciate her new surroundings.