When Laura Chiesman was named president of FirstWave Financial in January 2016, she had already spent 14 years helping the company grow and develop alongside founder Tom Kirk. She credits Kirk as a mentor and role model, citing his inspiring vision, energy and focus. As president, she works to maintain that same vision, motivated by FirstWave’s goal of empowering clients with financial confidence to help them create the lives they dream about.

Chiesman began her career at Bear Stearns in Los Angeles, after graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in finance and business. She later returned to Florida, where she served as a financial consultant at a couple of firms before starting her journey with FirstWave in 2001.

Looking back on her career, it is hard to imagine she might change any of it. Chiesman admits, however, “I’m grateful for my journey just as it is, but I would’ve liked to have enjoyed and benefited by networking and connecting with professional women earlier in my career. I just really began focusing on that in the last seven years or so, and it has made a world of difference to me. Learning from the experiences of other women, and having a safe, friendly forum to test out ideas and ask for advice has been invaluable.”

With that in mind, Chiesman now makes a point to stay connected to other women in the community, investing her time in organizations such as the America Business Women’s Association Oceanside Charter, where she served as president from 2013 to 2015, and as a member of weVENTURE’s League of Extraordinary Women. Chiesman’s work both with FirstWave and in her community reflects her belief that “the needs, talents and preferences of women are contributing greatly to the growth of new ways of doing business. It will be exciting to see what develops next.”


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