Sonya Ziolkowski, CFP®
BA, Dickinson College
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™
While my career path to private wealth management has not been a direct one, it has been rewarding.
After graduating college, I moved out to Denver, CO, and started my career in political fundraising on local state campaigns, putting my political science undergraduate degree to work. However, after a few years, while I gained valuable work experience, I craved something more permanent and stable, and I no longer wanted a job that bounced from campaign to campaign.
I moved back East to New York City, where the job market was more expansive. I transitioned from political to non-profit fundraising at the New York Stem Cell Foundation, which focused on using translational research to better understand and treat chronic and degenerative diseases of our time. I got a crash course in biomedical research and the drug discovery pipeline, learning about the latest breakthroughs in research from diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease. The job was hugely rewarding due to knowing many people –family and friends – impacted by disease, and I felt like I was helping to make a tangible difference in bettering the lives of those loved ones affected.
After six years, I had another move upon me, back to Colorado, due to my husband’s new job. The transition out of New York City brought about an inflection point in my career coupled with assessing available job opportunities in the Denver area. I realized I wanted to keep the mission-driven focus of my job and continue to feel like I was making a positive impact in people’s lives in some way.
After many conversations, particularly with my mother who is an advisor, I discovered the synergies between fundraising and wealth management. I uncovered that both industries are mission-driven in helping donors or clients create and fulfill their goals – whether philanthropic or financial. Both are rooted in creating fruitful and lasting relationships. After this realization, I made the leap into private wealth management, starting at AllianceBernstein (Bernstein Private Wealth Management).
The greatest reward of this job is helping clients navigate complexity within their financial lives, so at the end of the day, they can spend more time on the truly important things in life like family and creating memories.
When I am out of the office, I enjoy immersing myself in all of the great things that Colorado has to offer, from skiing at my favorite mountains (Copper and Steamboat) to discovering new hiking trails in the Rockies. In addition, in the summers, you will find me at Red Rocks Amphitheatre enjoying some live music with spectacular views or doing Yoga on the Rocks at sunrise.