Women of Distinction 2021: IAG Wealth Partners

This special section features some of our city’s most accomplished female leaders. These women represent a wide variety of fields, from finance and education to interior design, health care and more. Join us in saluting them in our third annual Women of Distinction!

Lori Watt (left), Founder and President; Susan Kuhlenbeck (right), Vice President, Co-Owner, COO; Photo by Linda Smallpage, Boutique Photographer


Financial Advisors Jayme Heineck, Anne Sapienza and Debra Melvin; Photo by Linda Smallpage, Boutique Photographer

When she founded IAG Wealth Partners in 1985, Lori Watt started out on her own. Susan Kuhlenbeck joined as a co-owner the next year, and many female advisors have since found a home at IAG. Jayme Heineck met Watt when she was working as a restaurant server and studying for a degree in financial planning. “We got to know each other, and she invited me to start working at IAG for just eight hours per week while I was finishing my degree.” Others, like Anne Sapienza, joined IAG from different firms after hearing about the positive culture, while some like Debra Melvin started out as just an intern. “We each have different skill sets and areas of expertise,” Melvin says. “We are there for each other. In the fast-paced investment world, that is invaluable.”

“After building this company from scratch, my greatest joy is watching it expand beyond me to build upon the strengths of everyone on our team.”


– Lori Watt


What are your hopes for the future of IAG over the next few years? What would you most like to see?

Lori Watt: After building this company from scratch, my greatest joy is watching it expand beyond me to build upon the strengths of everyone on our team. Seeing our advisors grow and serve others is a way of leveraging all that was invested in the early years. My focus now is on assuring that IAG will continue to serve our clients for generations to come.

What qualities do you believe help all of you work well together?

Watt: Shared values is such a critical starting point. Those values include our faith, our commitment to provide our clients with proactive and ongoing guidance on their journey through life, and our commitment to help each other. 

Jayme Heineck: I would say that kindness, caring and a passion to help our clients are some of the qualities that help us all work well together. The culture in our office is amazing!  It is obvious that we all care about each other and working together for our clients.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Susan Kuhlenbeck: Helping people achieve their goals and dreams has been the most rewarding thing for me.  This includes clients and team members.

Debra Melvin: This work is so rewarding.  On a personal level, I get to spend time with great clients who become friends.  On a professional level, I get to help women who have been through a divorce.  I help empower them so that they can move forward in their financial futures with confidence and clarity.    

Anne Sapienza: The most rewarding moments are when clients reach their goals because the roadmap we designed together helped them achieve that milestone. I am thankful I have the time and ability to focus on all aspects of my clients’ life and goals whether an income plan for retirement, making tax-efficient decisions, talking through estate plan questions all the way to the celebrations of children and grandchildren.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s November issue.

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