Women of Distinction 2022: IAG Wealth Partners

This special section features some of our city’s most accomplished female leaders. These women represent a wide range of fields, from finance and education to hospitality, beauty and more. Join us in saluting them in our fourth annual Women of Distinction section!

From left: Lori Watt, Founder and President; Susan Kuhlenbeck, Vice President, Co-Owner, COO; Jayme Heineck, Financial Advisor; Anne Sapienza, Financial Advisor; Debra Melvin, Financial Advisor; Photo by Boutique Photographer Linda Smallpage


Lori Watt founded IAG Wealth Partners in 1985. Shortly after, Susan Kuhlenbeck joined and became a co-owner. Kuhlenbeck is now transitioning into retirement and continues to mentor other women in the firm. Many female advisors have since found a home at IAG, which now has 31 total employees. Jayme Heineck met Watt while she was working as a waitress, studying financial planning on the side. Watt invited her to work part time at IAG while she finished her degree, and then hired her full time after she graduated. Others, like Partner Anne Sapienza, joined IAG from different firms after hearing about the supportive culture, while some like Debra Melvin started out as just an intern before joining the full-time staff. “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,” Heineck says. “The culture in our office is amazing. It is obvious that we all care about each other and working together for our clients.” 

“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


Lori, what do you look for when considering a potential employee at IAG Wealth Partners? 

Lori Watt: When adding someone to our team, shared values and a strong work ethic are the most important qualities. We can train for skills, but the personal qualities need to be there first. Everyone here genuinely cares about each other and always strives to provide our clients with the absolute best service. Everyone is always looking for ways to go above and beyond the high expectations that are already in place.

How did you first start working at IAG?

Anne Sapienza: One of my co-workers worked with an advisor at IAG and thought I would be a good fit for the firm both professionally and culturally.  As soon as I met with the staff and advisors I observed a complete reversal of leadership values from where I was working along with a demonstration of the principles and habits I was looking for in my life-long vocation.

Debra Melvin: I began working at IAG as an intern in college in 2000 and was blessed to return as a financial advisor 7 years ago. Most of our advisors have been with IAG for many years, so it felt like coming home.

Jayme Heineck: I met Lori while I was getting my degree in financial planning and working as a server in a restaurant. We got to know each other, and she invited me to start working at IAG for just 8 hours per week while I was finishing my degree and caring for my four young children.

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

Susan Kuhlenbeck: We are very selective when inviting people to our team, so we look for qualities that enhance our culture.

AS: I believe being outwardly focused and compassionate is key to IAG’s success.   We look for those qualities first when adding new team members and oftentimes find the best fit for them within our group as we see their skills grow.  

DM: We really view ourselves as a team.  We each have different skill sets and areas of expertise. We are there for each other as resources. In this fast-paced world, especially in the investment world, that is invaluable.

JH: 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.


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

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