Linda HoustonLinda Houston is no stranger to the benefits of hard work and commitment. In the early 1980s, she left a successful career as a professional dancer to go into financial advising. Over the next 25 years, she rose to become a managing director and New England market executive for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

During this time, Houston watched the industry evolve from a stock- and bond-driven, non-personal profession to one which is able to offer more personal service and take a holistic view of each client.

“Clients today raise more questions and need more than they did 25 years ago. They want to realize their dreams and leave a legacy for their children,” she stated. “We are now better able to answer those questions.”

Houston transitioned from dancing in Broadway musicals and on tours to a successful career in what was a male-dominated field when she entered it. She is a mother of two children, and speaks frequently on balancing work and family.

“I tell people that the idea of ‘balance’ is crazy,” she commented. “It’s imbalance, and you have to be okay with that. Different levers are going to be pulled every day – one day your family needs you, another time you need to put your career first. And it’s okay to be selfish sometimes. My hope is that, over time, the scales end up equal.”

An avid runner, Houston has completed two marathons and recognizes the role that physical activity plays in any type of success. “It’s important to have personal challenges as well as professional. When you’re at a career impasse, finding another focus for your energy helps make other decisions clearer, and helps keep things in focus,” she said.

With her two children now grown, she hopes to devote more time to giving back to the industry she loves, and serving as a role model to other women. “I want to show that it’s possible – it’s not easy – but it’s possible.”

Linda Houston

by Debbie Swanson time to read: 1 min