Lauren Locker knew what she wanted very early in life. When she was in elementary school, she would beg her mother to alert her to phone calls by saying, "Lauren, pick up on line 2," even though there was only one telephone in their house. She had a desk with an "in" box and an "out" box.

Locker enrolled at William Paterson University in 1975 as a business major and graduated in 1979, just as the country was poised on the brink of an era of big hair, big shoulders and big business. For the next 11 years, she tried a variety of occupations and though she became financially successful, she also felt that something was missing in her work life.

By the early 1990s, Locker had figured out that she liked to help people more than she liked to simply make money. She saw many middle-class folks struggling with the mechanics of budgeting, saving, and creating a roadmap for their financial futures. She felt that if she could find a way to help those people by explaining complex financial concepts to them in a less-complicated and more accessible way, then she could help them change their lives for the better. But she still wanted the office with the two-line phone.

She studied to become a certified financial planner, then started her own one-person business, Locker Financial Services. She did it in a way that allowed her to act strictly as a fiduciary for her clients, who were mostly women, single, divorced or in career transitions; and she did it in a way that allowed her to create real and personal relationships that have endured through two generations of many families.

Twenty-eight years later, she has built Locker Financial Services into a company that services over 100 clients and has offices in two states. In 2012-13, she was elected as the national chair of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), the country’s leading organization for fee-only planners. Over the years, she has become a recognized expert on personal financial planning and is a popular speaker at conferences and professional gatherings.

In addition to running her busy practice, she has returned to her alma mater as an active member of the William Paterson University Foundation Board, and has also worked at the University as an adjunct professor, teaching Fundamentals of Finance at the undergraduate level. She has rediscovered the excitement of being on the William Paterson campus and interacting with its diverse, driven and deserving students.

Locker is a tireless advocate for the financial planning profession, recruiting students who might never have considered it as a career path. She is passionate about bringing more women and minorities into a field that has been traditionally male-dominated. She is extremely proud to be able to fund, along with her business partner Andrew Chan, the Locker Financial Services, LLC Scholarship, given annually to a deserving William Paterson student in the Certified Financial Planning Program, with preference given to female and minority students.