Q&A: Ellie Winter
Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.
For the past 33 years, Ellie Winter has worked with individuals and families on their personal financial needs, and also has provided financial and benefit plan education to corporate executives and employees. Prior to joining Grand Wealth Management as a principal in 2006, she was a senior manager in Ernst & Young’s national Human Capital Practice. Winter also worked in private banking and institutional trust at several West Michigan banks.
She earned her undergraduate degree at Hope College, a master’s degree from Aquinas College, and holds the Certified Financial Planner and Certified Employee Benefit Specialists designations.
Biggest career break?
Early in my banking career I was selected to be my organization’s United Way loaned executive for the 1985 annual fundraising campaign. For three months that fall I worked full time from United Way’s Kalamazoo office, coordinating and managing workplace campaigns for local businesses. The opportunity to interact with business owners, community leaders, the United Way staff and my fellow loaned executives was invaluable. The skills and knowledge I gained in a very short timeframe have served me well to this day.
Fixing a broken toilet — by myself.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
You’ll get a lot of advice you shouldn’t take. Do what’s right for you, when the time is right.
How did you make your first dollar?
My house — it’s not just my home, it’s my happy place.
I’d really enjoy working with high school or college students, teaching them the basics of money management. I wish I’d known more about budgeting, saving and investing when I was a teenager!
If you were president for a day, you would…?
Get out and talk to people. Ask about their hopes, dreams and fears.
Last book you read?
“The Little Paris Bookshop,” by Nina George.
Last search term you Googled?
“Falafel ingredients.” I’ve always wondered.
Your worst habit?
Sleeping in late on weekends, especially during the summer.
To unwind, you like to…?
Work in my garden. Even pulling weeds is relaxing.
Right now, Iceland is at the top of my list. I would be outdoors as much as possible, hiking and exploring.
Person you most admire?
Harriet Tubman. I first read about her life and work when I was in grade school, and her story has continued to inspire me.