Client Impact Report

Alex Lundgren Tree City Advisors People Helper


Opportunities are present in every moment, and no choice should be considered a bad one. For instance, if someone decides to pursue a college degree that is not directly aligned with their desired career path, it can still be seen as an opportunity. It provides a chance to explore a different direction if it makes the most sense for them. It may open doors to a career with more flexibility, allowing them to spend more time with their family. It can also serve as an opportunity to face the unknown and overcome the fear of change. Taking risks and making mistakes is acceptable because they can lead to unexpected fortunate outcomes. The underlying message is that every choice, regardless of its initial outcome, harbors hidden opportunities. As I always say, “what may seem like good things can turn out to be bad, and what may appear bad can actually be good; it’s all about perspective.”

Alexandra (Alex) Lundgren, a financial advisor at Tree City Advisors, has been working in the banking industry for 24 years. She started her career as a teller in a local community bank but eventually desired to have weekends free. After realizing that her chances of career advancement were limited unless someone retired or changed professions, she actively sought another opportunity and secured a job at a larger regional bank. In her new position, she happened to share a desk with a member of the Investment Management Department. Intrigued by their discussions, Alex started showing interest by asking questions and even peeking over the cubicle. She discovered a natural inclination for investments and found the work fascinating. The colleagues in that department kindly mentored her, patiently teaching her and answering her inquiries. Consequently, when joint meetings were held between her team and the finance department for institutional clients, she actively assisted the financial representative in discussing pension plan management with the clients. Alex stumbled into this role but considers herself fortunate because she genuinely loves what she does.

Meet Alex Lundgren

Alex Lundgren is passionate about helping people. As a Financial Advisor, she finds fulfillment in assisting individuals in defining their goals and devising strategies to achieve them. “Often, I show people that their goals are attainable even when they doubt it,” says Alex Lundgren. So, how does this relate to the importance of having a personal board of advisors? For Alex, the greatest advantage of being part of Whetstone is the diversity of perspectives it offers on her industry. While she excels at analyzing Dow Jones stock charts and providing guidance to her clients, there are aspects such as scheduling, business expansion, and other unexpected facets of running a business that were never taught to her by the Bloomberg team. Acquiring these skills through her involvement with Whetstone has proven to be immensely valuable to Alex over the years.

Calling Deliberate Directions

In 2015, Alex had the opportunity to meet Allison Dunn, an Executive Business Coach, through her regular attendance at popular 90-day planning sessions. It was during these sessions that Alex began to deeply appreciate Allison’s professionalism, which motivated her to become more involved. “Allison brings tremendous value,” Alex remarks. Initially, Alex engaged in one-on-one coaching and experienced its undeniable benefits. However, she found her true passion in transitioning to Whetstone. This transition marked two significant changes for Alex: a meaningful introduction and the bi-weekly meetings with a diverse, dynamic, and fascinating group of individuals in her local community.

Through her involvement in Whetstone, Alex has gained valuable insights from professionals representing a wide range of backgrounds. She has honed her scheduling skills and developed strong social bonds within the group, fostering a sense of camaraderie.

Board of Advisors

The Whetstone program is designed to complement business professionals by providing additional knowledge and perspectives they may not otherwise have access to. The group is intentionally diverse to facilitate open sharing of challenges and insights among its members. “I genuinely felt that careful consideration went into pairing individuals,” Alex remarks. Professionals from various fields are brought together, allowing for valuable exchanges and problem-solving discussions. 

Building Trust

While trust is continually being built within the group, Alex admits that the arrival of a new member can be challenging. It’s easy to get caught up in ongoing discussions and forget to provide background information for the newcomer. Alex also acknowledges the need to familiarize herself with the dynamics and regain a sense of comfort. However, over time, members have come to trust Allison’s ability to select the right individuals for the group, knowing that new members will bring unique perspectives and fresh ideas that add significant value.

Participation in Whetstone

One of the great advantages for Alex within the group is that it prevents her from remaining stagnant. In each session, Alex has three opportunities to share about herself: an accountability check, a compass check, and a Sounding Board or Deep Dive. During one of these instances, the group can inquire about Alex’s progress on a goal she discussed in a previous week. Moreover, if Alex presents a sounding board, the group can actively assist her in a more substantial capacity. Alex’s mindset is summarized by her statement, “Being stuck is not productive, so let’s explore alternative solutions.”

Alex describes her problem-solving approach as envisioning a metaphorical tree obstructing her path, which she feels compelled to climb over in order to make progress. However, the group aids her in finding solutions that allow her to navigate around the tree in either direction, reminding her that there are easier ways to accomplish tasks.

Why Whetstone?

Alex describes Whetstone as “valuable, confidence, and knowledge.” To Alex, confidence means that she is comfortable with the input, feedback, and suggestions she received from the group. There isn’t a second thought about whether she will enact or utilize that information. It’s people that you trust and can glean from that you want to spend your time with, no doubt. A thoughtful group that was put together with you in mind is a quality you don’t come across often. So, hold on tight and utilize each bit you can.

Impact from Deliberate Directions

One significant challenge for Alex at Tree City Advisors was the scheduling process. Reflecting on it, Alex stated, “I would have struggled indefinitely because I lacked experience. I had always handled my own tasks. It was a source of immense frustration.” The issue for Alex was not the absence of a schedule but rather the fact that someone else was responsible for managing it. She struggled to effectively communicate her boundaries and expectations regarding scheduling. After discussing her distress during a Sounding Board session, the group provided her with clarity on how to communicate her needs, resulting in a significant improvement in her office. “It has been a complete turnaround,” Alex said. She described the Sounding Board as an information-packed session where she diligently took notes on everything the members shared. She identified areas that required further explanation and left the meeting with a determined attitude of “let’s do it.” The group emphasized the importance of letting the scheduler know that the new system was working and expressing gratitude. The following week, Alex updated the group on her difficult conversation, showcasing progress.

Alex describes Whetstone as a platform for diverse learning, even if the topics discussed do not directly relate to finance. She finds it fascinating to hear other members share their processes and experiences, which often leads to valuable learning moments. For instance, Alex recalls a member who conducted a Deep Dive into their knowledge of blood donation, providing detailed information about different blood types, their uses, and storage after a drive. Although it didn’t directly tie back to Alex’s financial background, she found it to be one of the most memorable Deep Dives of the year. Alex likened it to going down a “wiki rabbit hole,” but with the advantage of having a real person there to explain everything. She consistently learns from this group and eagerly looks forward to their bi-weekly meetings, considering it an incredible compliment to have a consistently engaging and insightful group. Whether she is learning or sharing, Alex always manages to glean a nugget of wisdom from each meeting.

Straightforward & Objective

Deliberate Directions is also here to support your business through Executive Business Coaching, 90-Day Planning, or the Direct Connect Forum. “The other opportunities to learn and engage that are provided are really valuable, whether I utilize them or not” – Alex. Deliberate Directions also encourages learning through the weekly emails that are sent out to our subscribers. Alex tells me that these are never junk emails. “Those are the ones that come in, and you read”- Alex”

If you are interested in executive coaching with Allison Dunn, schedule a complimentary session today!