WRITTEN BY MARK HOUSER
Being president of a wealth management firm with $700 million in assets and a regular on Barron’s annual lists of the country’s Top 100 financial advisors, Carrie Coghill-Kuntz ’08 has a lot to be proud of. But despite her successes in 20 years in the business, the Brentwood native long dreamed of something more.
“I kind of laugh when people ask, ‘What year did you graduate?’ For me it’s kind of an honor just to have a year,” says Coghill-Kuntz. The president and co-founder of D.B. Root & Co. in downtown Pittsburgh earned her bachelor’s in organizational studies last year from RMU.
“In business you hear people say it’s all about our employees, that they make it happen. But to be able to gain an understanding of what an employee is looking for in a good leader completely opened up a new perspective for me,” she says.
Besides her recognition from Barron’s, Coghill-Kuntz was chosen among the “Top 50 Most Influential Women in Wealth Management” this year by Wealth Manager magazine; the Pittsburgh Business Times also named her one of the year’s “Top 25 Women in Business.” For her distinguished record of service and accomplishment, RMU honored its recent alumna with the 2009 Heritage Award.
Coghill-Kuntz says she always loved numbers, and jumped right into the world of finance after getting an associate’s degree in accounting from community college. Known as a consumer advocate and widely quoted in both local and national media, she has written two books on investing and is involved with economics education programs for schoolchildren, professionals, and the general public.
One person she particularly remembers educating was her daughter, Kelli. When Kelli was 8, she spent a day at the office with her mom, and later made a memorable observation. “On the way home, she looked at me and she said, ‘You lied to me,’” recalls Coghill-Kuntz. “I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And she said, ‘You said you talk to people about money, but you don’t do that. You talk to people about their lives.’”
“It’s a very satisfying career when you can watch people save enough money to achieve their retirement, or get their dream house, or educate their children or grandchildren,” Coghill-Kuntz says. “I feel very fortunate that I have the ability to touch so many people.”
Watch Carrie Coghill-Kuntz, Class of '08, receiving the RMU 2009 Heritage Award at the Duquesne Club to honor her achievements as a nationally recognized wealth manager.