For a woman to succeed in a male-dominated industry it requires not only top-notch skills, but a steadfast commitment to continuous improvement. Katie Costigan has both. As a result, she has steadily moved up the ranks of Baird, the Milwaukee-based multinational investment bank and financial services company.
Today, Costigan serves as the company’s director of private wealth management (PWM) recruiting strategy. In that role, she manages 250 PWM professionals spread out over 13 branches in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. She oversees more than $20.9 billion in assets under management and has 17 direct reports.
Costigan also serves as one of only 15 market directors at Baird – and is one of only two women at the firm in that role. Female representation among the firm’s financial advisers, she points out, is 17%.
“Katie has made it her mission to encourage other women to step into roles historically held by men to increase diversity in the business,” said Baird president and CEO Steve Booth. “She regularly speaks to the fact that there’s still a long way to go when bringing women to the table in this industry.”
Costigan earned a bachelor’s degree at Marquette University, majoring in human resources and marketing. She also completed an internship at Baird in public finance. She began her Baird career more than 20 years ago as a human resources representative and HR business partner.
“In those roles, she thrived due to her innate ability to understand, appreciate, motivate and communicate with people,” said Mike Schroeder, president of Baird Private Wealth Management.
In 2015 Costigan was named director of PWM branch support and in 2018 was promoted to chief talent officer for PWM before being promoted to her current position.
“Katie’s path to her current role is anything but traditional,” said Laura Thurow, Baird’s executive director of wealth solutions and operations. “It is a testament to her intellect, drive and confidence.”
Costigan also brings her “robust experience” to industry groups and “prioritizes” supporting ways to bring women and minorities into the financial services industry, Thurow said, pointing out that Costigan serves on multiple roundtable groups of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.
Costigan is likewise active in the community with groups that include Tempo Milwaukee and United Way. She’s also involved with Baird Gives Back, the firm’s community service initiative. What’s more, she and her husband Patrick are the parents of four children.
When asked what motivates her to excel, Costigan emphasizes her unwavering commitment to personal growth.
“I love the fact that there are still things I don’t know,” she said, describing her current role as “a new stretch and an opportunity to learn something new.’