In 2008, Eskew graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies. Upon graduating, she worked as a teller at multiple banks until her position was dissolved due to a merger. At the time, one of her friends was working for Consolidated Planning and connected her with an open position. Though she had experience in banking and worked in the financial aid department in college, Eskew says, “I kind of fell into it…I wasn’t running towards this business; I was in the process of trying to find my passion and purpose.”
Not long after entering the financial services industry, Eskew developed a passion for the profession, and more specifically, the people she serves. At Consolidated Planning, she started in the Advisor Planning Group, moved to the Blueprint Leadership Team, and eventually became the Director of Talent Acquisition.
NAIFA Trustee, Delvin Joyce played a key role in connecting Kristen to NAIFA. She said, “I tried to recruit him to my prior firm, and though I quickly knew that wouldn’t happen, we had instant synergy.” She says, “He advocated on my behalf and really helped me get my name in the hat.” In May 2020, Eskew was invited to speak during NAIFA Nation Impact Week as part of the Diversity Symposium. She says, “Speaking with NAIFA opened up the door to new opportunities. This opportunity really aligned my story: a young woman minority in the South, with my professional spirit, and has enabled me to plant seeds in our business.” In fact, following her presentation, Forbes quoted her in How To Prove Women And Minorities Matter to Your Company.
After much success with Consolidated Planning, the speaking engagements that followed her presentation at NAIFA, and her partnership with Delvin Joyce, OneDigital invited Eskew to become their Business Development Executive. This was a milestone moment in her career. She said, “This was a big deal. Quite honestly, I thought I would retire at my prior firm because I genuinely loved my job and the people I worked with.” However, Eskew could not pass up this new opportunity. Being in a brand new position for the firm, she has the unique opportunity to define her role.
Andy Brincefield, President, and CEO of Consolidated Planning, played a significant role in developing and encouraging Eskew early on in her career. One piece of advice that he shared with her is, “You can’t wait for the confidence to do new things. You just have to do it. Confidence doesn’t come until you’ve done something several times.” Eskew watched Brincefield live this out in the way he led. She says, “I know I’m not going to get it right every time, but I’m not afraid to jump in.” Undoubtedly, Eskew has taken this advice to heart and done so gracefully.
Welcome to NAIFA, Kristen! We are thrilled to have you.