Hey Sieg and Sheila, what’s the secret behind your financial advisor training?

NOVEMBER 6, 2023

A year after we developed and launched a new Financial Advisor Development Program (FADP), we’ve seen 70 employees elevate their advisory skills and their careers. What’s the secret ingredient to this success? Only our program facilitators, Sieg and Sheila can tell, and they’ve spilled the tea about how FADP is helping our team members thrive.

Sieg Schreve, Learning & Development Advisor

What started as a passion for coaching golfers, later combined with an accounting diploma and career in financial services, led Sieg to the perfect combination of talents as a educator to our new advisors. He’s always prioritized helping members develop their financial knowledge so they could make the best decisions. And today, his impact reaches across First West’s regions as he coaches new employees through foundational training.

Sheila Ehlert, Senior Advisor, Learning

It’s a great day for Sheila when she knows that she’s helped someone elevate their knowledge, solve a problem, or simply believe in their abilities. To say she’s a people-first person is an understatement, just ask any of the team members who had the pleasure of working with her in her roles leading and directing our branch teams. As a creative thinker, and challenge-seeker, Sheila eagerly accepted a role in Learning and Development at First West, giving her the opportunity to focus on training even more advisors across the organization. You could say her cup is over-filled with joy to have an impact on the future of so many colleagues.


Sieg: The role that Financial Advisors have at First West is critical to helping our members do the best job of managing their money. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of knowledge required to answer the hundreds of questions our advisors are asked every day—and that requires significant training for our teams.

Sheila: The design of the program itself was based on direct feedback from those same advisors and leaders who are talking to members. Which is a huge benefit when new member service employees join a branch team. Those new advisors are getting such a firm foundation of experienced-based learning that they can quickly be successful in their new job.

Sieg: That’s right, and we also make fast connections to how the organization works by introducing information like guidelines, procedures and processes about investing, borrowing and day-to-day banking. Bringing our team members in contact with guest presenters, our employees have opportunities to ask questions directly to the people leading our operations. It’s a big leap forward in learning!

Sheila: I think one of the greatest advantages is also the connections among the group of FADP learners themselves. As new employees, they get to start building a network of people who have the same objectives as them and might work in another town or region. In the course they collaborate a lot, and that camaraderie lasts once they are working in their branches.

Sieg: Yes, we’ve heard that collaboration makes a big difference when working with a large organization like First West. And throughout the 12-week program, learners are also giving feedback to us as facilitators that continuously improves the training itself. As the financial industry changes, course content and delivery are always being updated to be relevant to teams serving our members.

Sheila: That’s a big part of the secret of how we support our advisors. We use agile principles that incorporate feedback, iteration, face-to-face learning, and focusing on the needs of our new employees to help them excel in their careers as they help members thrive.

If highly-supported training sounds like the right step in your financial services career, choose from one of our open opportunities to make a move!

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