What has inspired you to stay at Bernstein for as long as you have?
There is no doubt that the people, both inside and outside of the firm, as well as our organization’s ethics are why I have stuck around. Aside from having wonderful relationships with my colleagues and clients, Bernstein’s upstanding reputation is the reason I sleep well at night. We choose to embrace innovation and change with a healthy skepticism to guard our clients against the current hot dot. In this day and age, where information access is ubiquitous, our clients look to us for differentiated advice. I wake up every morning excited to learn from some of the brightest, hardest working and caring people in our field. I am constantly surprised, and thrilled, that the promise made to me on day one by my hiring Managing Director has proven to be true over 20 years later. His words, “You will be challenged and achieve more than you ever thought possible at the firm,” perfectly describe my Bernstein career.
Which book had the most profound impact on you and why?
William Manchester’s The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory 1874–1932, about the legendary former Prime Minister, is a book that I return to time and again. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the entire three-volume biographical series about the magisterial leader and his idiosyncrasies, as well as the hardships he overcame. We often only know historical figures in regards to the achievements they’ve had in the penultimate chapter of their life. Therefore, I was fascinated by this first volume as it explains the foundation for his ultimate success, laid out very early in life. As a mentor of mine used to say, “People do not change, so don’t expect it.” While it sounds a bit cynical, as the goal-driven Churchill proved, character is formed very early in life. Along the way, it can be burnished but, generally, it remains the same. The book, which humanizes Churchill and his downfalls, also shows that regardless of the mountains we conquer in life, we are all just people.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
Without a doubt, my parents are the most inspirational people in my life. They are both highly accomplished educators who sacrificed so much for me and my siblings. They worked extra jobs as they saved for my education and also got their own advanced degrees. I still remember falling asleep to the sound of my father’s typing as he completed his doctoral dissertation. My mom and dad also taught me the importance of being of service to others, in every aspect of life. I am often asked why I am the only family member, including my siblings, who does not work in education. My response is, “That is anything but true!” I get to educate, and be educated, every single day at Bernstein. It is what I love most about my profession. Ironically, and serendipitously, my parents are now Bernstein clients themselves. In their words, as they would be the first to say it, “The teachers are now the students!” It’s incredibly rewarding to return the favor and teach them about finance.