Meet Our Change Makers
We are committed to you.
Willow is a team of dynamic individuals with a passion for change. We bring innovation, energy, and expertise to our work in an effort to help you reach your dreams and achieve your goals.
L. Alexandra Dest
Founder & CEO
Why did I start Willow?
I started this company because I had a desire to lead in a way that I have never experienced before in business but always knew was possible. While others would consider this idealistic, I did not. All things are possible with pure and honest intention. My goal was to create a company from heart centered leadership with cutting edge thinking and strategies. A safe place to turn ourselves inside out and allow us to serve each other and our clients with reverence. An environment that values and nurtures innovative thinking, creativity, honest care, and dedicated work. I value my associates who give to our clients from their True Selves and who are always striving for more knowledge. I am honored to have such a great group of associates and clients that I may serve.
L. Alexandra Dest began her career in 1987 as a Compliance Specialist at Advest, Inc. in Hartford, CT. After the crash of 1987, she worked between New York City and Hartford, quickly rising to the position of portfolio analyst and investment manager where she spearheaded strategies for internally managed portfolios. In 1990, she established the Investment Advisor division with U.S. Securities, Inc. based in Hartford, CT, as director, strategist, and portfolio manager. In 1995, Alex was recruited to join Berkshire Bank (then Berkshire County Savings Bank) as Senior Investment Officer where she directed investments, established investment strategies and managed individual portfolios totaling $550 million in assets. She was promoted to Senior Management as a First Vice President in 2006. In 2009, she established Alexandra Dest Capital Management, LLC, an investment advisor group committed to offering high level portfolio management solely for your benefit and your bottom line. She obtained her BA from University of Connecticut in Economics in 1987.
A personal note from Alex:
Aside from working with the global markets and economics, I enjoy the simple things in life. My weekends are often filled with hiking, biking, rollerblading, reading, writing and cooking. I am ecologically minded and have built a straw bale home with a small organic farm with my husband Milan – we are seeking to live sustainably. To be content, I require diligent work, moments of solitude, simplicity, quality nutrition, and global travel. I wholeheartedly believe in the interconnectedness of our world and as such focus my company contributions on sustainability, land preservation, nutrition, health, and the empowerment of the feminine.
Paul A. Farella
VP, Director of Sustainable Investments
Paul Farella is a Vice President and the Director of Sustainable Investments at Willow, where Paul leads, develops, and expands the ESG / SRI strategy of the firm. In this role he is responsible for capital deployment, equity and fixed income trading, research, due diligence, and aiding in the strategic development of the firm. Together with Alexandra he manages client assets over many diverse objectives. Paul formerly held roles as Portfolio Manager, Sustainability Analyst, and Portfolio & Operations Associate at Willow’s predecessor firm Alexandra Dest Capital Management, where he has gleaned both depth and breadth of industry knowledge.
Paul’s educational background includes a MBA with a focus on Sustainability from Antioch University New England (2011), and a BSBA in Economics & Finance from the Barney School of Business at the University of Hartford (2009). He also holds a Series 65 License from NASAA.
Why work at Willow?
Finding true balance between work, passions, family, and life in general can be a major challenge. Working at Willow has allowed me to find that balance and thrive both personally and professionally. It has been my privilege to bring holistic multi-framed capital and values driven systems into investing and portfolio creation to align money with the greater good. Willow has allowed me to explore, refine, learn, and in grow while being challenged and encouraged both personally and professionally.
Assistant Vice President
Erika Allison is AVP at Willow, where her focus is marketing & client relations. She aims to design client experiences that are empowering, inspiring and rejuvenating. Erika’s background in engineering, education and Healing Touch/mindfulness enable her to weave together a unique approach for clients that is both good for the wallet and good for the soul. As a marketer, Erika’s expertise is spreading empowering stories. Stories create change. Sometimes all it takes is knowing what is possible by hearing that someone else has done it. Seeing one large company make one loving change and instigate a huge ripple effect on humanity encourages other to do the same. Seeing one nonprofit shift their endowment to more mission-aligned investments without sacrificing asset protection or growth encourages other to do the same. Seeing one individual choose to be intentional about where and how their money is being invested encourages others to exercise their power as well. Erika wants to shout this from the rooftops!
Erika holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin with a Business Foundations Certificate. She also holds a Master of Science in Teaching from Pace University in New York City and was a New York City Teaching Fellow. Erika has worked in the corporate world for Fortune 100 companies and in the nonprofit world with schools, Universities and community organizations. She is studying as an interfaith/interspiritual minister at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in New York City.
Erika serves on the board of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires and is a member of the Financial Planning Association, where she part of the Pride Planners (LGBTQ) community.
Why work at Willow?
I have a deep longing to bring together my spiritual self and my intellectual self under one mission-aligned vocation. My career pendulum has swung from “all money, no heart” to “all heart, no money.” Willow is my middle ground of deploying resources with heart to make loving change. I am inspired daily working with a strong female founder who approaches this industry differently, with heart & soul-centered leadership, blending consciousness with capitalism to bringing loving change into the world, where intuition and guidance have a seat at the table. I believe this is our society’s only way forward. At Willow, we know that the only way we can create change “out there” in the world is to create change within ourselves. My greatest joy is working with a team that is dedicated and committed to doing our inner work so we can show up in the world as the gamechangers the world needs us to be.
Interested in joining our team?