Calmer Choice, non-profit organization in Barnstable, Massachusetts Calmer Choice, non-profit organization in Barnstable, Massachusetts

Business Alliance Partner: Beacon Financial Planning of Cape Cod, Inc.

Michaela Herlihy is the President & CCO of Beacon Financial Planning of Cape Cod, Inc. (BFPCC) and a long-time volunteer, friend, and member of the Calmer Choice board of directors for 7 years. The team members of BFPCC go above and beyond to support the Calmer Choice mission and allow for Michaela to spearhead one of most successful Calmer Choice fundraisers, the Tour de Barnstable.

We asked Michaela a few questions to get to know how she manages her business and volunteer activities and learn about her mindful awareness practice.

Michaela, you do so much for Calmer Choice with your role on the board and organizing the Team Calmer Choice participation in the Tour de Barnstable! How and when did you first get involved with Calmer Choice?

I was introduced to Calmer Choice via the Leadership Cape Cod program (formerly CLI) in 2013.

Beacon Financial Planning of Cape Cod, Inc. is a long time sponsor and supporter of Calmer Choice and recently made an outstanding and very generous donation of $10,000 in honor of the Calmer Choice 10th anniversary year and in match to the Tour de Barnstable team fundraising efforts. THANK YOU! You are the President & COO of the company and your team is comprised completely of women. That is incredible and amazing! How did you get started in finance and why do you feel it is it important to support females in the financial sector?

My Father first introduced me to the world of Financial Planning. In 2004 he purchased the firm I now own from Linda Gadkowski. A recent college grad, I was brought into the practice in 2005 to help with the transition. Linda and my father encouraged me to pursue the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation at BU where my love affair for helping others reach their goals continued. Today Beacon Financial Planning of Cape Cod is the only all-female owned and operated, FEE-ONLY financial planning firm on the Cape. Our team of five women are committed to helping our clients navigate their goals.

It’s important to help other females thrive in a normally male dominated sector because women bring a compassion to financial planning that is needed to build client trust. It is not always about money. Often, it’s about understanding the client, the intricacies of their family, where they are and where they want to be. It is guiding clients with patience and helping them to clearly understand their options so they can make sound financial decisions. The financial planning industry offers women a path to have a rewarding career, make a nice living, and still have time to have a life outside of work.

You give so much of your time and energy to non-profit groups such as Calmer Choice. How do you find balance in your personal, professional, and volunteer life? How does your team support you in the office so that you are able to give time to others? Tell us about the team!

The only reason Beacon can show up in the community the way we do is because of my team. Katie Brennan Kane is VP of Operation and Client Services. She is celebrating six years at Beacon this month and oversees everything that moves. Katie has created policies and procedures that keep our ship running smoothly. Kelli Grew is the other CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ on our team. She is smart as a whip and approaches client relationships with kindness and compassion. Melissa Kolcz keeps our office organizes and in a continued state of laughter. Melissa is dedicated to helping clients and handling requests in a timely manner while maintaining an upbeat attitude and always a funny story to share. Alina Leon is currently a Client Services Associate who will complete the CFP® coursework this year and sit for the exam in 2021. She brings a positive attitude and a hunger to learn more via mentorship. We are all excited for Alina’s next chapter.

What has been your favorite memory of your involvement with Calmer Choice?

There are many as I have met so many incredible people via the organization. If I have to choose one it’s hearing the teachers share stories from the kids and how they use the tools they learn from Calmer Choice classes, because after all….I believe the children are the future 😉

How do you see the impact of Calmer Choice on your community and how does a mindfulness practice come into play in your life and the lives of those you work with at Beacon Financial Planning of Cape Cod, Inc.?

The impact of Calmer Choice in our community is best described as a ripple. When children gain tools to help them treat themselves with kindness and compassion and utilize those tools amongst peers, family members and friends they cause a ripple of other people paying attention to how they manage their own emotions. When you see a kid aware of how people show up in the world, it’s hard to not want to show up better for ourselves and those kids.

Our profession requires us to strip the emotion out of financial decisions. Mindfulness helps us be aware of the emotions, to name them and acknowledge them so we can carefully remove them from the equation when guiding clients with financial decisions. We can show up better for our clients if we understand how the brain functions so we can respond, rather than react. Financial planning is always evolving, mindfulness prepares us to be open to the evolution.

You must train so much for those long Tour de Barnstable rides! What is your favorite bike route on Cape Cod?

For me it’s not a favorite route, but rather who is on the route with me. I have an amazing group of friends I refer to as my ChoZenFam that are an extension of my family. They help me recruit riders and fundraise for the Tour de Barnstable.

What is your favorite quote or motto, something you live by every day?

Integrity is making just decisions no matter who is watching.

You recently participated in a Calmer Choice Adult Online Mindfulness course. Tell us about your experience. What did you learn that you enjoyed? What was challenging for you in developing your practice with the group?

This course is fantastic. My biggest takeaway was developing a daily practice. It’s funny, I’ve been on the board for nearly 7 years, so I know the facts and science behind the benefits of mindfulness, but this course really helped me experience that on my own.