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2018 Trusted Advisers Wealth Manager: Gretchen Cliburn

BKD Wealth Advisors LLC

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Most people only retire once, but Gretchen Cliburn says she walks down that path multiple times with her high-net-worth clients to make sure they do it right.

In her role as director of BKD Wealth Advisors LLC, she manages more than $215 million in assets for 80 clients.

Her  management portfolio has grown 137 percent in the last eight years.

For Cliburn, managing assets requires a close relationship with clients so she can discover their unique needs.

“I advise on complex issues they are involved with and work with clients to help them realize the goals and dreams they have for themselves and their families,” Cliburn says. “We work toward those goals, monitor progress and celebrate with them once they are achieved.”

As a certified financial planner, she takes a holistic approach to wealth management.

“We often work as part of a larger team to help clients make decisions about how to transition to the next phase of their life,” she says. “For a business owner, that could mean selling the business, finding someone to run the business, transition the business to the next generation or simply closing the doors.”

Cliburn says walking clients through their options allows her to quantify the value of each decision.

She’s also demonstrated leadership within her firm, most notably through her role on the Financing Planning Committee for five years, three of which she served as chairwoman.

“I led the firm in researching and making a significant change in our financial planning software and processes,” she says. “This software revolutionized the way we do planning with our clients ... from a formal plan in a static binder to an interactive ongoing conversation.”

She also helped write BKD’s financial planning philosophy and serves as a mentor to younger advisers.

The firm acknowledged Cliburn’s leadership in 2016 with the 212 Degrees Award, a nod to the fact that at 211 degrees water is hot, but with just an extra degree, it boils. The award is given to one individual who demonstrates strong leadership and generates new business for the firm while maintaining client relationships.

“Gretchen consistently ranks near the top of the firm in terms of client service, as measured by client retention,” says BKD Wealth Advisors Principal Steven Toomey. “Gretchen is extremely passionate about helping her clients envision and plan for their most important dreams and goals.”

Out of the office, Cliburn serves as a member of Mercy Foundation: Women with a Mission, was formerly on the Ronald McDonald House of the Ozarks board and fundraises for the American Cancer Society. She’s also a big supporter of the American Heart Association.

In 2014, fellow runners, who happened to be nurses, in the Go Girl Run half-marathon saved her life by performing CPR after she collapsed from cardiac arrest. She calls the women “angels” and is passionate about her cause to encourage everyone to learn CPR.

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