Women in Leadership

Ensuring that everyone has a seat at the table and the opportunity to access all that is possible.

Maria Pinero has been with Northwestern Mutual for 14 years. She started as an associate financial representative and has since grown into a top leadership position in southern

Minnesota as the Director of Training and Development and Director of Operations overseeing all new advisors, interns, and team members.

She says the values of the company aligned with her beliefs, allowing her to grow and prosper.

“Northwestern Mutual has done a great job over the years with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, with creating roles that weren’t previously here, making sure that women have a seat at the table.”

When you think of diversity, equity and inclusion, Pinero says those are values that truly open doors to create more opportunities for financial planning with women and people from different cultures.

“We have an incredible opportunity to change people’s lives for the better by educating them on what’s possible. Thinking of the different people we can serve, we want to be able to open up that funnel to educate and truly meet people with where they’re at in life.” We want to help expand our footprint in the community and serve more people.


Pinero says those experiences in diversity, equity and inclusion have helped their team create opportunities for their clients and advisors, to gain knowledge and power to help them succeed financially.

“Around 70 percent of households are led by women. Frankly, women would rather be sitting across the table from another woman. It gives women a platform to have the comfort and genuine personality to help them reach another level of financial security,” Pinero says. “Right now, about 85 percent of people get to retirement age and they haven’t saved enough to last them throughout retirement. That’s a lot of people we can help serve in our communities, our state and across the country. One thing we are proud of here in Mankato is we continue to change the dynamic of the office’s culture with more female leaders, interns, and advisors.”

Almost 40 percent of Northwestern Mutual’s new hires are either female or come from a diverse background.

Pinero says she receives much joy in seeing her team grow personally and professionally.

“My mission is to change the trajectory of people’s lives for the better and help them see what’s possible and the potential for their future.”

Pinero’s colleagues have also noticed her impact.

“It’s an easy decision for us to put Maria in front of our best, whether it is our best clients or our best advisors. It’s not about your tenure, it’s about your values and caring about people, and Maria shares that same vision,” says Colby Staloch, the managing director, who started at Northwestern Mutual at the same time as Maria.

Whether it is leading the way by example, dedication, or leadership, Maria Pinero and the team at Northwestern Mutual have paved the way for a more inclusive, diverse and dynamic workforce.


The Essentials

Staloch Group Northwestern Mutual
111 West Cherry St., Suite 200
Mankato, MN 56001
Phone: (507) 625-9400
Website: colbystaloch.com
Facebook: Colby Staloch Northwestern Mutual

Photography by Jon Smith

Ashley Hanley

A freelance writer from Mankato.

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