26 Mar Amy Paladini
I met Traci 25 years ago. We got on like a house afire and I consider her one of my closest friends. Back then, I worked for a D.C. entrepreneur named Jon Ledecky, who was a co-owner of the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics. As Jon’s Chief of Staff and Executive Director of his family foundation, I logged 12-15-hour days for seven years. He was a high-powered leader who wouldn’t think twice about calling me at 3:00 AM if he needed something – even when I was in labor!
Once I held my first child in my arms, I knew I needed to focus on my new project, my family. I have been an uber-volunteer, leading classroom enrichment programs and spending far too many hours in hot canvas tents as a Cubmaster. In addition to doing project work for Traci over the years, I’ve coordinated the annual Montgomery County Spelling Bee, which the Meakem Group sponsors, since 2013. Now that my kids are older, I felt ready to return to the workforce and was delighted when Traci offered me a position.
As Special Projects Director, I provide general administrative support to the team, do “triage” on Traci’s inbox to facilitate her back-end processes, and direct incoming calls to the right team members.
I love helping clients, especially because I know many of us are apprehensive about discussing money. In fact, I used to think that financial planners were only for the wealthy. But that’s not true, and I enjoy making our clients’ lives a little bit better. My corporate work was great preparation for handling the variety of tasks and fast pace at the practice.
Traci is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. She has two great talents: 1) She is an engaging and compassionate listener, and 2) She has an innate ability to take a complicated subject, like taxes, and break it down so you can see it through a completely different lens. Traci knows how important it is to make complex information accessible to clients.
She also taught me how empowering it can be to know the difference between a “want” and a “need.” It’s so basic, yet so fundamental to financial security. If you can boil decisions down to wants versus needs, it can completely revolutionize the way you look at spending. I am so grateful to have Traci in my life, and to help her help her clients.
On a Personal Note
I was a White House intern for Clinton’s Chief of Staff Mack McLarty. (This was “pre-Monica”!) Fortunately, my job was more than just filing and fetching coffee. I had an office, I responded to constituent mail. I pinched myself every day. No matter what the politics are, working in the West Wing is incredible… although one day, I remember being in a suit and heels, walking Socks, the White House cat on a leash across the lawn, thinking, “Amy, your life can’t get any crazier than this.”
My eldest son and I are huge history buffs. As a result, our family has done a lot of historically-based travel to military museums and the USS Constitution ship in Boston, sometimes to the dismay of my two younger children, who wonder, “Why can’t we just go to Disney World?” So we also enjoy visiting theme parks to feed our monster roller coaster cravings, too.