Belle Ives is a financial advisor and high school field hockey coach with a passion for supporting women and serving the LGBTQ+ community.
Ives entered the financial services industry by way of serendipity. Her father was a member of a gym in the same building as Northwestern Mutual’s Boston office. Knowing that athletes tend to be well-suited for financial services, her father’s gym acquaintances suggested Ives apply to work with Northwestern Mutual. It turned out to be a perfect fit.
Ives always knew she wanted to have one career, something she could devote her entire working life to. With Northwestern Mutual, she found that opportunity. A sense of purpose is essential for any advisor, she says, and the impact she has on her clients is what makes her work meaningful. “Every single day I wake up and I do something that's worth doing and worth fighting for,” she says. “You don't just wake up and go through the motions of this job.”
Ives found her niche in the LGBTQ+ community of Boston, working primarily with professional women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In her practice, as well as her work with the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce, she connects with her clients through their shared values and experiences. “I get to go somewhere and there's no level of explaining myself.” She notes that, as far as she knows, she’s the only LGBTQ+ advisor in her agency at Northwestern Mutual.
Before starting her career as a financial advisor, Ives studied abroad in Spain. She learned a lot from being fully immersed in a different language and culture. She says that both her time abroad and her financial practice have broadened her perspective. “Looking back and having that be a growth opportunity, to be uncomfortable — that's what this job does for me every single day.”
Outside of work, Ives enjoys spending time with her family and coaching field hockey. She also spends much of her time mentoring young athletes at her alma mater, Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. She talks with the students about leadership and how to handle failure, drawing on her own experience. “Field hockey is one of the most redeeming sports in the world because you can go from hero to zero to hero again." She continues, “You can lose the ball, turn it over, but there isn't anything that holds you back, other than effort.”
Being a NAIFA member, Ives says, has given her the opportunity to connect with others in the financial services industry who share a passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). She took part in a DEI-focused NAIFA-MA panel discussion last year. “It was awesome to feel that support from more of a statewide level,” she says. “That exposure gives me confidence that I get to bring to my clients when it comes to growing my practice.”
Ives believes that NAIFA membership is important because of the resources it offers. In the past three years, two women in her office have received NAIFA’s Four Under 40 Award. “Knowing that two people that I admire a lot within Northwestern Mutual received that award was a neat experience. That's why I joined.” While the insurance and financial services industry has become more diverse and welcoming in recent years, Ives looks forward to greater and broader representation in the years to come.
Thank you, Belle, for your service to our industry and association. We’re #NAIFAproud to call you one of our own.