Several years ago, Courtenay Shipley decided to join an existing partnership so that collectively the new business would grow. The new partnership was exciting: it was going to increase the firm’s portfolio of assets under management, allow her to offer extended services, and allow her to be part of a collaborative team that wanted to get to the next stage of growth as a larger team.
Unfortunately, the partnership ended up looking a little different than both parties had hoped. The new team resisted the change that Courtenay planned to bring, collaboration sounded better as an idea than as a new approach, and tensions developed between Courtenay and the old team with regards to her vision of the new business versus their desire to maintain the status quo.
Over time business remained good, and as a larger company Courtenay was able to attract new customers, but something felt off. This was not the kind of partnership she wanted to be part of and it wasn’t her vision for her clients or company culture. The decision that Courtenay made next is what makes her this month’s Woman We Admire.
She left the partnership. It was difficult and sometimes it got ugly. Words that cannot be taken back were said and dollars were lost. She didn’t spend months dragging it out. Courtenay realized that this partnership was not going to be in the best interest of her clients or her business, and she moved swiftly to end it and re-launch a new company of her own. I have rarely seen someone move as efficiently as Courtenay did to undo something that became a bad business decision; many people drag these situations out, hoping to avoid conflict at all cost.
Today you can find Courtenay running Retirement Planology; when organizations need advice on their employee retirement plans, this is where they go. She still serves the same clients, helps them navigate the 401K regulations, advocates on their behalf with vendors, and helps their employees understand their retirement plans. She is back to running a business poised for growth instead of treading water.
Courtenay is a woman who displays the courage, audacity and self-confidence that it takes to remain true to yourself and the business you want to grow.
Courtenay is a member of our Alexandria, VA group and she is an extraordinary entrepreneur and a woman to watch!
With sincere thanks for supporting women-owned businesses,
Frédérique C. Irwin
Founder and CEO