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January 31. 2012 3:17PM

Financial adviser Colleen Farley is making investments in her community

Colleen Farley 

Colleen Farley, 28

Home: Manchester
Birthplace: Worcester, Mass.
Family: Husband, Ryan Farley and dog, Maya (Siberian Husky)
High school: Notre Dame Academy, Worcester, Mass.
College/post grad degrees: Saint Anselm College
Current job: Partner, The Robbins Farley Group; financial adviser; vice president for wealth management
Volunteer activities: Rotary Club of Merrimack, Kids Kove Rebuild Project, GMCC Leadership Class of 2012
Most admired person (outside your family): Oprah - she is a success story of someone who came from minimal means, worked very hard, and was able to use her love of what she does to impact many lives. And now, she uses that success to help others through her philanthropy.
Key current professional challenge: Educating clients on how the use of economic indicators can help in the management of their business decisions as well as their investments
Last major achievement: Rebuilding the Kids Kove Playground in Merrimack under budget and on time. As the project chair, it was a time consuming but truly fulfilling experience. It was a two-year-long project of organizing a steering committee of about 50 individuals, collaborating with many local volunteer organizations, the school district and the town to complete the approval process and community buy-in, the fundraising, and the actual build itself. We did not hire a contracting company to build the playground, the community did it (over 500 volunteers) - in five days.
Biggest problem facing New Hampshire: talented young people leaving the state.
Favorite place in New Hampshire: That would be a tie between Rye Beach in the summer and Skiing Bretton Woods in the winter
What book are you reading now? When I'm not reading up on the market, economy etc - I am currently reading “Something Borrowed” by Emily Griffin
How do you relax? outdoor activities - skiing, hiking, camping, golfing
What web sites do you visit most often? CNBC, Bloomberg … and Facebook of course
Favorite TV show, radio station or musical artist: Bloomberg and Squawk Box in the morning and anything on HGTV and Food Network in the evenings.

As a financial adviser, Colleen Farley knows the importance of making sound investments — and investing in your community is advice she would offer anyone.

At 28, Farley is already a second vice president and partner at the Robbins Farley Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Manchester — where she began her career at the entry level.

“I began working at Smith Barney as an intern the fall semester of my senior year at Saint Anselm,” said Farley. “It was near the close of that internship that Bob Robbins, a financial adviser at Smith Barney, asked if I'd like to do some marketing work for him, so I began working for him 20 hours a week while I finished school. As I neared graduation, Bob asked me what I wanted to do for a living, and I said I wanted to be a financial adviser but had been told that Smith Barney didn't hire students right out of school. He gave me an offer to join him as an investment associate, go through training and licensing, and then become registered as a financial adviser within a few years. So, I graduated college on Saturday and began my career on Monday. Within one year of graduating from Saint Anselm, I was a financial adviser, and Bob and I formed our team.”

Despite the struggling economy, Farley's firm has experienced success guiding their clients through tough financial times.

“Our approach to wealth enhancement and wealth preservation is to construct investment portfolios in a manner like our clients run their businesses — to generate growing income,” said Farley. “We use equity investments as ‘divisions' of our portfolio. When a ‘division' doesn't meet its forecasts, we sell that one and purchase another.”

At work Farley may specialize in wealth management for manufacturing and technology business owners, but saw an opportunity for investment in her adopted community of Merrimack, after she joined the local Rotary Club.

“I had been a member for several years when one of the Rotarians announced an initiative to renovate the local playground, Kids Kove,” said Farley. “The Rotary Club had actually built that playground 20 years earlier. I brought my niece and nephew to that playground whenever they came up to visit — I knew it needed updating.”

She volunteered to help with the effort, but soon took on organizing the entire project.

“I stepped up early on as the chair of the fundraising committee, but a few months into the project the project chair had to relocate due to a job change to central Massachusetts and resigned from the position,” said Farley. “At that time, the club wholeheartedly supported the future of this project and I volunteered to keep it running forward. We organized an amazing group of folks that were as passionate about the project as we were and collaborated with many of the other local organizations, the police and fire department, schools, and town officials. Even though I don't have children of my own at this time, I knew it was important to the community and so it became important to me.”

She watched as the two-year, $105,000 renovation project resulted in what has become a popular program for those living in Merrimack, as well as surrounding communities. She organized over 750 volunteers, and personally contributed more than $3,000 of her income and 300 hours of her time to see it through.

“Volunteering is a high priority for me as well as my business partner,” said Farley. “Since high school, volunteering has been of particular interest to me. I was introduced to it through my school, where ‘Love in Action' was a mandatory course. We had to pick a local organization and volunteer for 20 hours over a semester. I volunteered at a local nursing home, and I loved it. It was life changing. That was just the beginning of getting involved in the community.”

Nominations for Class of 2015

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