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Three Steps to Navigating Your Most Important Financial Decisions | May 7th

For the past two years “Pink Wall” has successfully presented panels of women experts to bring education and empowerment to women in all stages of their financial lives.

On May 7 our “Pink Wall” series will continue this dialogue with presentations from women in top leadership roles in the financial services industry. In three steps, you will get valuable information that is not found elsewhere—it’s a rare opportunity you don’t want to miss!


Shawnette Gauer, CFP®, Managing Director, Schwab Advisor Services – How to identify the right investment advisor, and how to develop a relationship that lasts a lifetime. Why empathy is more important than equations.

Laura McDowell, Regional Director, Charles Schwab & Co. – Investment strategies at different stages of life, and finding the best portfolio path for your individual needs.

Rhonda Ducote, AIF®, President/Principal, Apriem Advisors – What is the market outlook today and how can we use this information to grow our investments and overall wealth?

Bonus Feature: As a wrap up, each panelist will tell us how they climbed the wall of success to achieve the career of their dreams—finding their space in an industry dominated by men.



5:15 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – $50 per guest

Premium Sponsored Tables for 10 - $750

Your ticket includes a three-course dinner of unparalleled cuisine, gratuities, and valet parking.

Networking & Socializing starts at 5:15 with the fabulous $5 glass of wine.

Dinner starts about 6:00 with the program introductions at 6:50.

Shawnette Gauer, CFP is the Managing Director for the Southern California Region of Charles Schwab Advisor Services. The Southern California team supports independent investment advisors located in Orange and San Diego Counties, as well as the Inland Empire and Palm Desert area.

Prior to her role at Schwab, Shawnette was Vice President of Investments at Bolthouse Properties, a single family office where she was responsible for managing the investment portfolio, foundation assets, and overseeing the operations and technology of the investment division. A twenty five year veteran of the advisor industry, Shawnette owned an RIA firm for 13 years which she sold in order to spend time at home with her young children. She also worked for a boutique wealth management firm in Newport Beach responsible for client relationships, financial planning, and investment management.

Shawnette is Co-Chair for the UC Irvine Center for Investment and Wealth Management which provides innovative programs that advance the understanding of and successful practice in the field of wealth management. She also serves on the UCI CIWM Financial Literacy Committee which conducts a week long residential program for underprivileged youth. She is also on the UCI CIWM Student Engagement Committee with the mission of helping to connect students to opportunities in the wealth management industry. She was a founding member of Flood Bakersfield, a non-profit working to eliminate homelessness in Kern County. Shawnette earned her B.A. from UC Irvine and maintains her CFP designation. Shawnette and her husband, Steve, have 5 children and live in Coto de Caza, CA.

Laura McDowell is responsible for supporting the sales and distribution of Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. (CSIM) strategies for the Schwab Funds®, Laudus Funds® and Schwab ETFs™ to registered investment advisers, broker-dealers, and bank trusts in the Western Region.

Prior to moving to support CSIM in 2015, Ms. McDowell was with the Schwab Center for Financial Research as a senior research manager working with the Asset Allocation and Alternative Beta Strategist Team. There she was responsible for researching, analyzing, and creating content to help advisers and clients understand alternative beta strategies. Before joining Schwab in 2013, Ms. McDowell was a regional director at IndexIQ, responsible for sales and distribution, specializing in alternative ETF discussions with registered investment advisers, family offices, and financial advisers. Prior to IndexIQ, she was an internal analyst with Morgan Stanley’s Consulting Services Group responsible for assisting financial advisers with asset allocation and investment strategy selection, conducting portfolio analysis reviews, and constructing diversified portfolios for current and prospective clients.

Ms. McDowell graduated from Manhattanville College with a Bachelor of Arts in International Management and Psychology. She obtained the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA) certification from the Investments & Wealth Institute after completing the Investment Management Education Program at the Wharton School in 2018. Ms. McDowell is also a member of Women in ETFs, serving on the University Outreach Committee. She holds Series 7 and 63 licenses.

Rhonda Ducote, AIF is the CEO/President and Principal of Apriem Advisors. Apriem is a registered investment advisory firm that helps clients manage their wealth with full financial planning services. Together with her partner Hamon Kong, CFP, AIF, they built a firm based on two important pillars: relationships and purpose. With more than two decades of experience, Rhonda’s leadership has helped propel the investment advisory firm to more than $750 million in assets under management at the fastest growth rate for a firm its size in Orange County according to Financial Advisor magazine’s 2017 RIA rankings. Apriem was named one of the Financial Times Top Financial Advisors for 2017 and 2018, earning a spot on the industries coveted FT 300 list.

She started her career at Fidelity Investments in 1993. In 2000, she left the corporate world to join the private RIA sector at Apriem. She served as Senior Wealth Manager until 2015 where she assumed the role of CEO and President. She graduated from the elite Charles Schwab Executive Leadership Program in 2018 and is a featured columnist for Financial Poise, where she offers national thought leadership about female investment trends and issues facing women. She saw the importance of educating women and started the Women of Wisdom (WOW) program with Apriem Advisors in 2014 dedicated to increasing female client engagement and servicing the needs of female investors.

Rhonda serves on the Hospice Advisory Council of the Southern California Hospice Foundation as well as the advisory board for Art 4 Kids and is involved in many philanthropic organizations such as Casa Teresa and Working Wardrobes. Rhonda and her husband, Jim, have three sons and live in Silverado, CA.


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