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Andrea Shafer

First vice president, legal, Cambridge Investment Research

Thinking she would work in international law in Chicago after graduating from law school, Andrea Shafer instead moved to rural Fairfield, Iowa, to join her fiancé. There, she got a job with the largest employer in the county, Cambridge Investment Research, as an editor in its marketing department.

“I was licensed as an attorney in Illinois, not Iowa, so I couldn’t practice, and the firm didn’t have a legal department at the time,” Shafer said. After about three months, she transferred into compliance, got licensed “and learned most of what I know about the securities industry on the job.”

After nine years in compliance, she joined the growing firm’s by-then established legal department, where she’s now involved in regulatory affairs, helping Cambridge adapt to new regulation and dispute resolution. She also spends a lot of time working with advisers.

“My favorite part of my job is the intellectual challenge of helping advisers solve problems, and at the same time building personal strong personal relationships with them,” Shafer said. Also committed to financial education, she’s helping Cambridge develop a turnkey financial education curriculum that it would like to provide to local primary and secondary schools.

—Evan Cooper