Age should never be a barrier to chasing your dreams. The Co-Owner and Client Relations Officer at Aventail Wealth Management, Heather Jaeger, believes that. At 27 years old, Heather is a thriving co-owner of a financial firm, and while some might question such a major role at such a young age, Heather says that she was born ready for a challenge like this.
Heather graduated from high school during the last recession when jobs were scarce. Although she was urged not to, Heather decided to apply for a position at McDonald's and states it was one of the best decisions she has ever made. During her time at McDonald's, Heather had the opportunity to “wear many hats." She worked to create schedules for 100 employees, became the floor supervisor, opened the store every morning and worked more administrative hours in the evenings. She also assisted in the hiring process of new employees, overseeing background checks, orientations and interview questions.
Heather spent three years at McDonald's in successive positions, when she realized that she had gone as high as she could go at that time. That was when she decided it was time to make a change. “If I don’t feel like I am growing then I want to move on. I try to continually better myself and moving forward is a part of that”. During her time at McDonald's, part of her role was to make bank deposits. Through that, she built strong relationships with the tellers at her local Citizens Bank & Trust, in turn landing her a job with the company.
Upon joining the Citizen's team, she became a teller at the Winter Haven branch and after two and half years she was promoted to work in the Trust Department in Lake Wales. It was because Citizens took a chance on her to teach and mold her, that she found her calling and passion for trust and investment.
Aventail Wealth Management, LLC, a wealth management and financial planning firm in downtown Winter Haven, was founded in 2015 by Brian Ulch and Carol Shira. Heather joined Brian and Carol in 2016 as a co-owner of the firm as she knew they shared the same passion for helping clients, friends and family find true financial comfort.
Aventail Wealth Management draws its name from an aventail, which is chainmail that offers a knight protection, flexibility and strength. These three qualities describe the services that their business offers its clients. “As a boutique firm, we are able to easily offer our clients protection and flexibility, while also making strong long-lasting connections with them.”
She credits Winter Haven for Aventail’s success saying that, “If it wasn’t for the Winter Haven community and how friendly and open they are, we wouldn’t be where we are today.” Heather strongly believes that Winter Haven is the perfect place to start a business. She always had a dream to work in downtown and she can’t believe that dream actually came true. “I would drive through downtown while I was doing my daily duties for McDonald's, just wishing I could work in this area one day.”
Not only did her dream of working downtown come true, she is now contributing to the downtown community in many ways. First, she loves shopping locally. Whether taking her niece and nephew to Gourmet Goodies or relaxing with friends at Grove Roots Brewing Co., Heather is intentional about spending her money in the downtown core. She is involved in a local program created to help and clothe women who are battling addiction or find themselves in an abusive relationship. Heather gives clothes, toiletries, feminine products and financial assistance to this worthy cause.
Heather strives to always encourage those around her. She wants to inspire others to “keep on climbing, even when people tell you not to. It feels so liberating to break out of the box that someone put you in and to see their reaction once you do,” she shared.
She admits that she was terrified when she joined Aventail. “I was only 24 at the time, so many people told me not to go for it,” she admitted. But Heather didn’t listen to the nay-sayers! She jumped in head first. She encourages other young women in business, “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and get out of your comfort zone!” Heather is an excellent example of strong women who break the status quo and make their dreams come true.
Winter Haven is full of focused and determined women just like Heather and we are excited to introduce them to you. Stay tuned for our next Women in Business blog post!