Turner Says Listening is Key To 26-Year Career

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 196 views 

Kathy Turner began her career in the financial services industry more than a quarter-century ago, but her philosophy for serving clients remains the same.

“Just listen to them,” she said. “When you listen, you learn. You learn what their hopes and dreams are and what it will take to get them to the end zone.”

Turner is a financial advisor and associate vice president at Wells Fargo Advisors in Rogers, one of 14 offices maintained by the company in Arkansas. She has worked in Benton County since launching her career as an investment broker with A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. in 1989.

Though she specializes in retirement planning, Turner said her own retirement isn’t coming down the pike anytime soon. She works with a select group of individuals, families and businesses to build, manage and transition wealth.

A typical day may include talking with clients to find out how teachable they are on preparing for retirement, or calling existing clients for updates.

“Every day is a new day, and the work is very gratifying,” she said. “I’ve always felt that no matter how much money someone has, their money matters. I don’t care if you have $1,000 or $1 million. They worked hard for it.”

Turner was included in the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s very first Forty Under 40 class in 1997. Her interest in finance began at a young age. As a child, Turner was delegated by her father, Leland Turner, to ride her bicycle to the library every day after school and check stock quotes in The Wall Street Journal.

“I would write down the stocks that our family owned, and I got to report it at the dinner table each night whether they were up or down,” she recalled.

Turner went on to graduate from the University of Arkansas in 1982 with a degree in finance, and was working for a computer company in Tulsa before she returned to the area in 1989 to begin working for A.G. Edwards.

An important reason for the move was the opportunity to work with her father, who joined A.G. Edwards in 1985.

“He bugged me for a couple of years to return to Northwest Arkansas and return to the field that I had studied in college,” Turner told the Business Journal in 1997. “Finally I said, ‘OK, I’m ready.’”

The two worked together for 14 years until Leland Turner retired. A few years later, Kathy Turner withstood a couple of significant changes in the retail brokerage sector that had an impact on her job.

In May 2007, the Wachovia Corp. acquired A.G. Edwards in a $6.8 billion cash and stock deal.

In October 2008, however, Wachovia was acquired by Wells Fargo & Co. for $15.4 billion. The acquisition, Turner said, created the most extensive distribution system for financial services in the country.

“It is the largest in terms of bank size,” she said. “We can touch every corner of someone’s life.”

Turner is the secretary (and a former president) of the Bentonville Rotary Club, a post she enjoys because it keeps her more involved with the membership.

“I take the attendance, so I get to know everybody by name,” she said.

Turner also enjoys following the fortunes of the UA sports teams, as well as time with family.

Though not married, Turner has a longtime boyfriend (Leon Russell) of almost 11 years, and their favorite time of year is rapidly approaching.

Russell’s home in Joplin, Missouri, is somewhat of a local attraction for its large display of Halloween inflatables and decorative displays. Turner said on Halloween evening they will pass out candy and toys to about 500 trick-or-treaters.

Turner said the property is transformed for an equally grandiose Christmas display, which also draws significant vehicle traffic and onlookers night after night during the holidays.

“I have yet to do it, but (Russell) is always wanting me to go out in front of the house and dress as Mrs. Claus and pass out candy canes and hot chocolate,” Turner joked. “I have refused.”