Who's Who of Professional Women


Zaneilia Harris

Zaneilia Harris, a certified financial planner (CFP), joined her profession after growing up witnessing her grandmother struggle to make ends meet. Later, Ms. Harris’ quest to gain better control of her own finances enabled her to be a resource to her family and friends. This dedication ultimately led many people to encourage Ms. Harris to pursue a career as a financial advisor. Today, the married mother and still-devoted granddaughter is proud of her CFP designation, and since 2009, has been the president and chief executive officer of Harris & Harris Wealth Management Group, LLC, her business in Maryland.

Through this primary role, Ms. Harris seeks to steadily expand her business and have an impact around the world. She is inspired and most committed to leaving a legacy of supporting women and their businesses, firmly believing that when women support each other, it helps them all to grow and succeed. Ms. Harris wants Harris & Harris Wealth Management Group, LLC, to become a key reference point of personal and professional growth and expansion for women business owners with the goal of providing support and helping them and all clients to achieve their desired level of success. Additionally, she wants to promote the finance Facebook group she is building to share invaluable information geared toward African American women executives, who, like herself, still face unique challenges in today’s mostly male business environments. Despite the inevitable obstacles, Ms. Harris persistently works hard to overcome them and empowers women by advising them on how to do likewise – a testament to her expertise and influence.

Leading with her motto, “Be comfortable being uncomfortable,” Ms. Harris’ solid professional approach and wisdom have been praised and sought after within and outside her industry. She was named one of the 100 Most Influential Advisors by Investopedia for more than five years, listed among Maryland’s Top 100 Women in The Daily Record in 2016, and recognized for having the Best Blog for Women and Investing in 2013. Moreover, Ms. Harris was honored to be selected as a member of the first CNBC Financial Advisor Council. She also takes pride in being part of Bloomberg’s New Voices Media Training Program, which allows her to contribute by sharing her knowledge with and assisting journalists. In doing so, Ms. Harris helps the program to bring more diverse voices to its content. As an authority in her field, she is the author of “Finance ‘n Stilettos: Money Matters for the Well-Heeled Woman,” has written for Newsweek, been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Morningstar, various Bloomberg media platforms, and MarketWatch, and speaks at women’s conferences. Glancing forward, Ms. Haris plans to write more, continue participating in speaking engagements within corporations, and form productive partnerships.

Ms. Harris believes the key to her success is that she never pursued her career solely for financial gain. She remains driven and passionate about her purpose to make a difference in her community. What also separates Ms. Harris, say her colleagues, is her natural, empathetic way of listening, talking to, and working with clients. She approaches them almost as if she were a therapist, giving them a safe, nonjudgmental space to share the good and the bad. Working many years leading to establishing this genuine rapport with her clients at Harris & Harris Wealth Management Group, LLC, Ms. Harris was an investment sales, portfolio management, and financial advisor with PNC Investments and beforehand with Merrill Lynch. She also performed government consulting in financial management as a senior consultant at Grant Thornton and earlier at BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting). Citing more extensive experience, she worked in customer relations management as a client financial analyst at Citi; as an investment sales and portfolio management financial Advisor at Edward Jones; and as a government consultant, financial manager, and chief financial officer support and consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers; among other senior and critical financial positions at NASDAQ Stock Exchange and with the Office of the Inspector General at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ms. Harris is a 1993 cum laude graduate of Saint Paul’s College with a Bachelor of Business Administration concentrated in accounting. Today, staying informed about and contributing to developments in her industry, she is a member of the Association of African American Financial Advisors, the Junior League of Annapolis, the Financial Planning Association, and the Newsweek Expert Forum. Civically, she is a board member of Adventure Theatre MTC, a member of the investment committee for Capital Caring, and volunteers with Leadership Prince George’s. Ms. Harris loves spending time with her family and enjoys reading, cooking, exercising, and traveling.


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