Dee Ann Remo
August 28, 2014
Dee Ann Remo is a huge believer in flexibility and lover of creativity.
As the Founder, CEO and Managing Director of Heritage Wealth Advisors, a Richmond based firm, she has been able to live by both of these strongly held ideologies. She established the company in 2005 with the idea that independent and contemporary thinking could be applied to wealth management in a way that benefits customers both short-term and long-term.
The road Remo has traveled can be considered a highway to success. Aside from founding her own firm, which just opened a second branch in Fredericksburg, Va., her 26 years of wealth management planning experience includes making partner at KPMG, where she was the first person in their Pittsburgh office to work a flexible schedule, and accreditations as a CPA, Certified Financial Planner, and Personal Financial Specialist. Her greatest accomplishment, however, are her two Mountaineer children, Ben (BSJ, 2011, business minor) and Sarah (BBA, accounting, 2012.)
Like many of us, Remo’s highway started on familiar and beautiful country roads.
Because she graduated one semester early, in December 1985, she said with a chuckle that she’s never sure if she should say she’s an ’85 grad or an ‘86 grad like most of the folks she started out with. When asked what memories at B&E were particularly formative for her future career, she had to laugh.
“I met my husband (Jim) at WVU in (former B&E) Professor Tom Witt’s statistics class. That was pretty formative,” she said with a smile.
Aside from that, Remo credited her accounting courses for showing her the importance of being analytical, a skill that has enhanced the quality of her work and has served her well at all twists and intersections on the road of life.
For example, when she moved from KPMG’s Pittsburgh office to their Richmond location in 1991, her performance paved the road for her future success.
“In Pittsburgh, they were so excited about being able to say they had somebody (working a flexible schedule),” Remo explained. “It was a bit of a shock when I came to Richmond. Frankly, they didn’t know what to do with me and I ended up having to prove myself all over again. I got assigned all the high net worth individuals, and that was the most wonderful thing that could have happened to me.”
Today, Remo serves corporate executives, professionals, business owners and other high net worth individuals. The best part about her job, she said, is helping people by giving them financial peace of mind.
“We’re able to be our clients’ most trusted advisor and also help them implement their planning,” she said. “I get my energy from being with clients. I’ve found what it is that I truly want to do for the rest of my career. That’s a nice place to be.”
Although working with clients is her passion, there are other duties that accompany owning a business. She said it’s a continual learning process.
“If you’re going to grow, you have to decide what hat you’re going to wear,” she advised. “It’s been hard to actually do that. I’ve learned that I have to rely on others to be able to make decisions. You have to acknowledge that you can’t do it all.”
But one of the perks of being in charge is that she has been able to carry on her belief in offering accommodating work schedules for employees, an accomplishment she takes pride in.
“It really works. There are periods of time where (women) need something a little different. If you can keep the employee engaged through that time period, you have the most loyal employee for life,” she said.
“I am sad, to be honest, to say the world hasn’t changed enough for (Sarah) yet,” Remo said. “I thought by the time she was out in the world, we would have continued to see significant progress, and I don’t think that’s happened. Things are better, but they certainly didn’t move at the pace I anticipated. I love the fact that I am able to make a difference in my position, however small it is. I hope (businesswomen) pay more attention and ask for policies that (help balance work and family obligations, while boosting productivity and employee retention.)”
Remo and husband Jim were excited to reconnect with WVU again over the past few years.
“I was pleased (my kids) went to school there. It invigorated our interest,” she said, adding that she was particularly impressed by the skillset Sarah received at B&E. She felt that Sarah made the effort to be well rounded in her education by minoring in women’s studies, and she suggested that students should not discount the value that subjects outside of business can later bring to your skillset and resume.
“You’ve got to specialize in today’s world, but I really think its challenging, then, for people to become well rounded or fluent in subjects that they will run into (on the job) that aren’t in their narrow specialization,” Remo said.
Like many of her fellow Mountaineers, Remo revels in the underdog status WVU often plays on the national stage.
“I love the fact that there are so many people from WVU who are scrappers in life,” she said. “Sometimes people start with a funny impression of West Virginia or WVU, and it’s wonderful how often we can surprise outsiders.”