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Ali Criss

CEO, Financial Insights

Ali Criss has worked in financial planning since she was 12. That’s not a typo. For as long as she can remember, Criss said, she wanted to be a CEO, so as a pre-teen she was delighted to get started on that road and do filing for her aunt, Dorothy Lewis, who ran her own financial planning business in Tacoma, Washington, and was one of the nation’s first female certified financial planners.

Criss did every other job at the firm over the years, taking time out for college, where she majored in theater and English. After managing the sound and lighting systems for theaters and bands around the country for a few years, she returned to the firm, started taking over from her aunt, and arranged a merger with another long-time planner.

Financial Insights is now one of the largest independent RIA firms in Tacoma, Washington, where Criss has created a free financial literacy program for women. For fun, she took up skydiving, advancing to become a member of U.S. teams that competed in international events.

Now she’s now focusing on her firm, observing that “the advisory business has lost so much trust because of the facades we’ve put up; advisers should be unique and who they are.”

— Evan Cooper