Smart, young, wealthy, attractive- a CEO by her mid-20s. Liz Davidson seemed to have everything. But the co-founder of Davidson Andrade, a San Francisco-based hedge fund for millionaires like herself, walked away from the business in mid-1999 to launch Financial Finesse Inc., a multimedia company devoted to teaching women about financial planning and investment.
Acutely aware that women need advice on how to plan for a secure future, Davidson, who has an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles, along with a friend who is a financial planner, offered a seminar on money management, including consultations with certified financial planners. The event was so quickly sold out that Davidson offered another, amazed by the variety of women who attended. "We would have the owners of companies and women who worked in the finance industry," Davidson says. "You can have an MBA and not know anything about personal finance. They don't teach you that in school."
Davidson, convinced of the need for these kinds of services, formally launched Financial Finesse soon after. The company now operates with 30 full-time employees and a network of more than 100 financial planners who present seminars nationwide. The company also has an interactive Web site and has recently launched an Internet radio show. But that's just the beginning. Davidson is working on a book, looking to produce videotapes and conducting seminars.
Despite the company's momentum and its expected $5 million in sales this year, Davidson is committed to doing pro bono work with lower-income women and teenage girls, giving them financial information and helping them open savings accounts. "If you're in business because you believe in the cause, it takes the pressure off," Davidson says. "When things in the office go wrong, you can look at the bigger picture."