A Mentor Helped Stacee Kratovil; Now She Gives Back
By Becky Kramer
Stacee Kratovil graduated from Washington State University in 2011—a daunting time to be a newly minted alumna applying for finance jobs.
The shadow of the Great Recession still hung over the US economy. Markets were volatile, economic growth was sluggish, and a glut of job seekers were peddling résumés.
“I was competing for entry-level finance jobs with professionals who had 20 years of experience,” says Kratovil (’11 Fin.), “and they were willing to work for the same wages I was.”
Fortunately, Kratovil had an ally in her mentor, Kristi Lord, a Finance Advisory Board member for the Carson College of Business’s National Board of Advisors.
Lord (’00 Fin., Accounting) was generous with her time and expertise. She reviewed Kratovil’s résumé, coached her in networking, and spread the word that she knew a promising graduate eager to land that first finance job.
“Without Kristi, I don’t think I would be where I am today,” says Kratovil, a senior family advisor at Parcion Private Wealth in Bellevue. “To be honest, that’s a big reason I work so hard on the Finance Advisory Board.”
Kratovil is the board’s vice chair and now mentors students herself. She’s a frequent guest speaker in the college’s finance classes and helps students understand career paths available in the finance industry. She recently reflected on how her WSU experience influenced her career and her desire to pay it forward.
I came to WSU as an architecture student but quickly realized I was more of a numbers person. I decided to switch to either math or finance. I was drawn to finance because it wasn’t only about the numbers. I enjoyed the statistical modeling, problem-solving, and applying that kind of thinking to real-world situations.
The Cougar Investment Fund was a big part of my education. Kristi’s connections got me the interview for my first job, but comanaging the fund during the fall semester of my senior year got me hired. It was the only hands-on experience I had during a time when companies weren’t offering internships.
Students make recommendations for managing the Cougar Investment Fund. I cowrote the semi-annual report to the WSU Foundation, explaining the choices and fund performance from the students’ perspective. The other comanager and I spent two weeks building the report and creating the charts. It was a great body of work that showed off my writing skills. I emailed it to the hiring manager before my job interview.
The hiring manager told me, ‘I could have hired someone with more experience, but you came so prepared to the interview.’
My first job was with a private bank. I started out as an associate portfolio manager and was promoted several times. Eventually, I went to work for US Bank, where I pivoted to financial advising. I went from being the low person on the totem pole to managing some of the largest, most complicated families in the client group. It was a great honor and a lot of responsibility.
I joined Parcion Private Wealth in 2022. It’s a different model where we focus on a select number of multi-generational families with assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition to the advisory component of my job, I participate in the investment selection process. I’m kind of stretching back to my roots as a portfolio manager, and I enjoy being involved in both aspects of the business.
I was recruited to serve on the Carson College’s Finance Advisory Board when I was about 26. I couldn’t make a financial commitment at the time, but through volunteering, I realized I could give back what was given to me. For a brief time, my term on the board overlapped with Kristi’s, and I got to serve alongside my mentor.
As I became more established, I started giving financially to the college. My company provides a matching donation. I try to support one student per year—sometimes two—for Cougs on Wall Street. I continued to support the program during the pandemic when the students couldn’t travel because I knew it would resume. This year, 12 students will participate in Cougs on Wall Street, which includes a conference in New York, a visit to Wall Street, company tours, and networking.
I tend to throw myself into one thing. The Finance Advisory Board is my one big commitment outside of work, family, and life. I really believe in contributing your time, expertise, and money to a cause you feel strongly about. Without that commitment, the cause doesn’t really have the resources to stand strong.
Education is where my husband and I focus our combined philanthropy. We have two little girls who I hope will someday be Cougs. We’re excited about helping the next generation. I felt the benefit of having a mentor at WSU. If I can pay it forward in some way, that’s really gratifying to me.