Diana Mullen, Branch Manager, Prudential Securities, Roseville, Calif.

Prudential Securities Diana Mullen says that career advancement sometimes requires an initial cut in pay. She ought to know. In 1986, Mullen gave up her job as a well-compensated sales assistant working for several established brokers in Las Vegas to start over as a rep herself. She became registered and started building her book.

I had to take a pay cut to become a broker, Mullen recalls. As people look toward progressing in the business, a lot of times it is one step backward, two forward. You have to make short-term sacrifices to reach long-term goals.

With that philosophy in mind, she took another plunge in 1994. She sacrificed some of her book and production to become a regional retirement planning coordinator for Prudentials Northern California region. As a CFP, she enjoyed sharing her passion for financial planning with other brokers and decided to enter management training in Southern California.

In December 1997, 10 days before Christmas, Mullen was assigned to manage the Roseville office, which is just outside Sacramento. Within about 20 days, she had to start her job, close on a new house and find a nanny for her 11-year-old son.

Picking up and moving can be difficult, Mullen says. My son hated moving. ... I had no ideawhere Id end up. [But] the demographics are great here inn Roseville for growing a branch.

In her first year as a manager, Mullen says the branch increased its head count and revenues by 25%. Her 32-broker force includes some recent recruits from Merrill Lynch as well as some rookie trainees.

When shes recruiting, Mullen looks for advisers who share her enthusiasm for the business and who want to make a difference in others lives--not just earn a big check. What we do as financial advisers is an important component of society, she says.

In the long run, Mullen wants the people in her branch to have the chance to advance and grow as she has. Making them aware of those opportunities is her way of giving back. I want people to know that if they want to achieve more, theres an opportunity for that.