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Paula Hendrickson Headshot
First Western

Senior Vice President | Director Retirement Consulting Services

Paula leads our Retirement Consulting team, providing oversight to all retirement plan clients at First Western. With over 30 years of experience in retirement planning, Paula believes in actively engaging with clients to provide creative plan designs that accommodate their business’s and employees’ goals. Her creative philosophy is backed by her expertise in strategic investment advisory, ERISA plan process, regular plan benchmarking, and maintaining a consistent dialogue with plan providers. Through her strong relationships with clients and her meticulous, creative process, Paula provides the roadmap to success for retirement plans, plan sponsors, and their participants.

Paula has an impressive background in the retirement field, and she has been recognized time and again for her achievements and innovation. She is one of the nation’s top 40 advisors and was nationally recognized among her peers as one of the Most Influential Advisors in Defined Contribution by the online publication 401k Wire, for two years in a row. She was also named Outstanding Women in Business by the Denver Business Journal.

Paula speaks regularly at various conferences and workshops and is a Founding Lecturer of The Retirement University at UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Education.

Prior to joining First Western, Paula served as a principal at Mercer Human Resources Consulting Firm, where she oversaw consulting relationships of Fortune 500/1000 companies in Colorado and Utah. Previously, she was director of retirement services for Reber/Russell Company.

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Getting to Know Paula

What trait do you most admire in a person? 
The ability to make people feel welcome and comfortable.  Those people are the ones that when you first meet them, you feel drawn to them immediately and you get the feeling you have known them for years.  That is a quality to be admired and is not something that can be taught, it is a gift.

What do you like most about your job? 
Having the opportunity to work with an incredible team who are all focused on providing superior service to our clients.  I truly love having the ability to work with really great individual – both the team, our clients and their participants and making a difference.

What is your motto? 
In life there are no ‘do overs’, do the right thing and give it your all!


  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Accounting from Western State College
  • CFP®, C(K)P®


  • Named to National Association of Plan Advisors’ Top Women Advisors  (2015)
  • Winner of Denver Business Journal Outstanding Women in Business, Financial Services (2014)


  • • Previous coach of basketball teams at various levels, from 5 year olds at the YMCA to high school girls’ teams
    • Coach of 4th grade boys club team

Hear from Paula