Paulina Mejia, who graduated from law school at Boston College in 2002, had no idea that one day she'd be trading in her law practice for a career in asset management.

Now, 16 years later, Mejia is a regional managing director at Fiduciary Trust Company International, the head of the company's New York office and in charge of overseeing and building Fiduciary Trust's private wealth business in that region.

"My background might be a little bit unusual in terms of this career, which happened in a very happy way," Mejia says.

"I don't think that people are drawn to this industry unless they really like being around people," said Paulina Mejia, managing director at Fiduciary Trust Company International.

Mejia had no plans for an early exit from law until she was recruited by a headhunter who was tasked by a private wealth manager with finding a planner for their high-net-worth clients. The firm wanted somebody who could marry the wealth transfer aspect with investment planning.

Today Mejia oversees 90 employees at Fiduciary Trust's New York office, including relationship managers, portfolio managers, business development officers and trust counsel. She serves as a member of the firm's operating and management committees and actively contributes to marketing efforts.

"I just love seeing a happy client, and I love seeing happy people that I work with," she says. "I don't think that people are drawn to this industry unless they really like being around people."
Outside of the office, Mejia developed a curriculum and event strategy - Centered on Investments, Relationships, Community, Legacy and Education (CIRCLE) - to help women investors connect.

She also co-founded the Public Prep Network's Leadership Board to support Public Prep's single-sex charter schools in New York.

She values being with her family, including her two sons.

"I love that they see I have a career that's important to me," she says. "As a family, we try and show the boys why it is that we're not home. It's not just a job, we also get something out of it, and hopefully that's setting a good example for them."

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Amanda Schiavo

Amanda Schiavo is an associate editor for Financial Planning. Follow her on Twitter at @SchiavoAmanda.