Exeleon Magazine

Adri miller-heckman

embracing the feminine approach

Adri Miller-Heckman: Embracing the Feminine Approach

Adri Miller-Heckman_Exeleon Magazine

At its core, successful leadership is one that stems from the roots of failures and forges through the flames of adversity. It is about translating a vision into reality and ideas into action. It is about turning mistakes into experience and experiences into knowledge. It is about survival!

Adri Miller-Heckman is an example of one such successful leader. As a leading expert and coach for female financial advisors, Adri stands out for her empowering mindset and survival instincts.

Since leaving the financial industry in 2004, Adri has dedicated herself to the growth and development of female financial advisors across the globe. She mentions that her desire to help women succeed on business supersedes any social protocol or business boundaries.

Through her femXadvisor platform, Adri offers the requisite tools, solutions, and proven business framework to help women grow and market their financial practice.

Fittingly, Adri Miller-Heckman features as the Cover of Exeleon’s Most Transformational Women Leaders to Follow. In this Cover Feature, we look into the journey of this powerful entrepreneur and how she is encouraging women to embrace their feminine side to attain success.

Inner Belief

A big part of Adri’s growing up years was her mother’s influence and support. Her mother instilled belief within her and encouraged her to achieve her dreams. Moreover, Adri recalls that her mother’s constant motivation gave her the necessary courage to face any setbacks.

Perhaps it’s this upbringing that made Adri a leader from a very young age. At the age of 12, Adri started a party-serving business. “I distributed fliers in our neighborhood promoting my business to help provide serving and clean up services at parties.”

Her first gig was a western party, wherein she hired a group of girls to help her. She remembers “We all showed up at the requested time wearing cowboy costumes only to learn that they cancelled the party and forgot to tell us. That was the end of that business.”

The next year saw Adri being part of the youngest team to participate in the Volleyball Nationals. This experience impacted her life and shaped her ability to become a leader. “I found greater satisfaction inspiring my teammates to perform their best which only enhanced my career. I went to UNC on a full volleyball scholarship, was MVP of the ACC and eventually represented the Navy and the Armed forces in volleyball.”

Today, leveraging her mother’s teachings and her experiences, Adri has molded herself into a leader who is fearless and innovative. She explains that in order for one to become a transformational woman, it is imperative to think out of the box and leverage the unique strengths as a woman.

Survival Instincts

Adri entered the finance space in a rather unconventional manner. She mentions, “I needed a job, and my roommate was moving up. I hated math but loved sales, so I became a sales assistant to a top commodities & stockbroker.”

Although the role was primarily administrative, Adri soon gravitated towards the client and sales side of the business. Over the course of the next 10 years, she worked with various leading financial advisors in the industry.

With the industry becoming more and more toxic, and people inclining towards unethical practices, Adri decided to move forward from the industry. She soon joined the Navy as an electrician stationed on a ship in Holy Loch Scotland.

3 years later, with renewed perspective and fierce determination, Adri Miller-Heckman rejoined the finance industry. This was the start of a unique journey.

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Adri Miller-Heckman_Exeleon Magazine

Building Blocks

Following a huge discrimination case, Adri was asked by her then employers to become a financial advisor. The lawsuit faced by the company became a huge opportunity for Adri. “As a financial advisor and single mother with three young kids I knew I couldn’t build a business the way they asked me to, I didn’t have that many hours and quite frankly cold calling would have bored me to death.”

Adri listened to her feminine genius and focused her practice on serving women. She explains, “I wanted women like my mother to feel more confident in making smart financial decisions for their life.” She simultaneously also made sure that her business model and schedule supported her need to be a good mother. “My kids were always my priority and I always led with my heart.”

Owing to the added demands of her time (and energy), Adri worked less than all her male counterparts. Yet, she was able to consistently outperform them. “Due to my unexpected success, I was asked to become a National Training Officer for Smith Barney (a role I coveted) so I packed up my three kids and moved from Newport Beach California to Hartford CT.”

Adri spent the next 3 years training thousands of financial advisors on how to build a successful practice. Following this, she was asked to become the Director of National Sales for Women & Co. a division of Citigroup.

However, in 2004, a realization dawned upon Adri, and she decided to leave the corporate environment. “I realized working within the corporate structure I couldn’t have the impact I wanted. In 2004 I left the “mothership” and struck out on my own building a successful coaching practice focused on women.”


For Adri, building her own coaching practice was exactly where she imagined herself to be – no limits and no boundaries. This newfound freedom enabled her to teach women advisors a more feminine approach to growing a financial practice.

She penned down her ideas and knowledge in her book – “Keys to the Ladies Room; A new business model for financial advisors.” Over the years, this book has had a positive impact on both female as well as male advisors and continues to garner positive reviews across the industry. Moreover, this book established the foundation of Adri’s femXadvisor model.

Adri’s high-yielding coaching program has attracted women advisors through the years to learn more about her coaching practice. The program’s unique women-centered approach made it extremely popular and allowed Adri to empower them with her years of industry knowledge. 

She points out, “These women always knew there was a better way to build a thriving practice but trying to carve it out on your own while going against the tide of the industry was challenging. The greatest impact I have on my advisors is the confidence these women gain as they are encouraged to lead from their hearts.”

She continues, “As a femXadvisor they are not only given permission to follow their instincts and leverage their strengths as a woman, but we have created the path, the model, the process, and the tools to make it easy. They LOVE it.”

Flaunt your Feathers.

When talking to a room full of female financial advisors, Adri always makes sure to share the Peacock and the Penguin story. According to her, this story perfectly encapsulates everything she and her team want to accomplish at femXadvisor.

She shares, “As women we are these beautiful peacocks, we flow into a room with a long, graceful neck followed by a stream of colorful feathers, we are smart, confident and capable.”

“We are hired into the land of penguins, attend penguin training, and try and apply everything we are taught by the penguins.” These penguins remind us to tuck our feathers, to pull our necks down, to stop flowing into the room, to become a part of the crowd – to become just another penguin.

“And we end up wearing 5 pairs of spanx to hold in our feathers, squishing our neck down which makes our voices gravely, and work on waddling instead of our natural flow. We then wonder why women find it more challenging to succeed. Penguins only know how to be a penguin.”

At femXadvisor, Adri encourages every woman to be the peacock that they are; to fluff their feathers, articulate their thoughts, and embrace their natural flow.

She further mentions that her program is not a band aid or a quick fix to this male-dominated industry. Rather, it’s a paradigm shift from the traditional model designed around the strengths of only men.

“I wanted to provide women advisors the complete model, process tools, and strategies to transform their practice to one that totally reflects who they are and what they want to accomplish with their business.” 

In her incredible journey, Adri reflects that every step she has taken has been of utmost necessity. She firmly believes that these experiences, the good ones and the bad, have given her a depth of understanding as well as an appreciation for what women were consistently experiencing.

Adri Miller-Heckman_Exeleon Magazine

Energy not Time

Talking about how she ensures work-life balance, Adri mentions that she is a believer in managing energy, not time. She lives her life focusing on her unique brilliance, activities that inspires and energizes her. “My unique brilliance is speaking, coaching, training, that is where I put 80% of my work time. When I am not working, I am always competing in golf, tennis, pickle ball and inspiring other women to be their best self.”

Moving forward, Adri is determined to expand her brand and empower more women advisors. “We are finally getting regional firms to embrace our femXmodel allowing us to train management, leadership as well as the advisors.

She believes as more and more firms start to embrace a more feminine approach to wealth management, it will position the industry to accelerate growth while creating new opportunities within the world of women. 

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Published by
Exeleon Media LLC




Editor-in-Chief – Daryl Yeung

Project Manager – Josh Wilder

Magazine Design – Naomi Lam

All content is copyright © 2023 Exeleon Media, LLC. All content is credited to their respective contributors. You may not use the material for commercial purposes or re-purpose content in any shape or form without permission.

On the Cover – Adri Miller-Heckman


Twitter – @AdvisorsKey

LinkedIn – @AdriMiller-Heckman

Keys to the Ladies Room – Buy Book