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Redtail Technology > Redtail Advisor Hero: Lisa Pugel
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Seeing clients hit their life goals, retirement, buying the lake house, getting the kids through college – those are the rewards every day.”

Lisa Pugel

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From the Ground Floor –

How One Hero Built Her Family Business and Revitalized the Community

One of the greatest gifts in life is being able to merge your professional purpose with your personal passion. Lisa Pugel, CEO of DB Tax & Wealth, is one of the lucky ones. Lisa identified her purpose and passion at a young age: joining the family business, growing their legacy, and nurturing a community. While still in high school, Lisa started on her financial career path, working at her parents’ CPA firm. According to Lisa, “I started in footie pajamas because, literally, I started in footie pajamas, as a peanut, helping them with a lot of tax and accounting work.”

By 18, Lisa had graduated early from high school, passed the big licensing exams, and was ready to embark on an enriching finance career. But, she also recognized a need to expand the offerings of her family’s tax planning-centric firm. She saw the opportunity to add more value by incorporating wealth management and financial planning services to build a deeper relationship with clients and grow their business. At 21, Lisa presented a business plan that included these expanded offerings. Their response? Her parents retired, dropped the keys on her desk, said, “keep the lights on,” and left her in charge of running her new business.

To Lisa, her parents have always been her biggest heroes and motivators. Reflecting on her strong work ethic at such a young age: “I was a go-getter, trying to fulfill education requirements and definitely liked to work, liked to help people. It was ingrained early on. Both of my parents were military, so we just had a very strict regimen growing up, and that’s how it pushed me.” Since they handed over the keys, she has hired over 20 employees and hopes her children will take over someday, instilling the same confidence and motivation that her parents gave to her. “Hopefully, in the next 25 years, I can do the same thing my parents did. Drop the keys on the desk and say, ‘Keep the lights on.’” A dream close to reality, as her children are working at the firm and earning financial certifications.

In her time at the helm of the family business, her favorite success story isn’t just her own. “From a business aspect, I think of my clients immediately. We work with a lot of small businesses to establish business plans, risk management plans – they are so creative with their minds always running, but it’s so hard to put it on paper. Mentoring and helping other businesses has always been a big motivator of mine.”

Lisa Pugel
CEO, DB Tax & Wealth
South Milwaukee, WI

  • Approximately $153 million AUM
  • Founded in 1989
  • 22 employees
  • 2200 clients

The biggest challenge, I would say, is being a woman in this industry, walking into networking groups, or educational seminars, or conferences.

As a business owner in South Milwaukee since 1989, Lisa feels strongly that the city has given her family so much and she is committed to giving back by helping to revitalize the historic community. To do this, she partnered with city leadership to gain approval to purchase condemned properties and build a $2 million commercial center to serve as a collaborative workspace. In addition to office space for Lisa’s firm, the building will also be filled with young CPAs, insurance agents, and attorneys to build their businesses and have an “amazing events space,” where they’re going to carry out pre-education events for the community. Whether it’s financially driven, charitable, or educational, Lisa’s team has had so many ideas of how they can bring folks from all backgrounds into the fold and help the community even further.

As soon as I started working for her, my mom said, ‘Lisa, now that you’re official, I’m no longer mom; I’m Diane.’

But her community-centric work does not stop at a capital infusion; Lisa also sought out the help of other local business owners and hired a marketing director to develop quarterly give-back campaigns. Each campaign looks different – whether they are volunteering at a soup kitchen around Thanksgiving, collecting gloves during the winter for local charities, or collecting school supplies for students in their communities. They even pivoted their planning to account for COVID, collecting lunch items for kids who are at home doing virtual learning for a “Spooktacular” event they are sponsoring.

To add to her long list of hero qualities, Lisa has also coached young women’s volleyball for 15 years and has seen the direct impact she’s had on young athletes. In her interactions, she makes it a point to teach her players that sports are about more than just winning or losing on the court; they are also about how you react in the face of adversity. Lisa dedicates her time to leading women by example and being the mentor that her mother was to her at such a young age. These efforts have also helped develop the next generation of young financial professionals and brought more female leaders into the fold. Since she has become a coach, she recalls that five of her students have gone on to college to start a financial planning career. Similar to how her parents laid the foundation with their mentorship and belief in her at such a young age, Lisa looks to build her legacy by sharing this confidence with the next generation.

Securities offered through Avantax Investment ServicesSM. Member FINRA, SIPC. Investment advisory Services offered through Avantax Advisory ServicesSM.

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