Stephen Arnold

A Path to Purpose

My desire to impact others led me across three states, four cities, back home again, from the legal industry to financial services, where I left a comfortable practice to be part of the Bernstein family and value proposition.

Share one of your most memorable professional accomplishments with us.

I reached out to a bank executive and fellow Ohioan, while we both were living in North Carolina, introduced myself and invited him for coffee. After our initial meeting, we stayed in touch. The next year, I learned from a mutual colleague that he’d unexpectedly lost his job, so I reached out to see if there were any professional contacts I could make on his behalf. A few months later, I found myself sending a note congratulating him on his move to Pennsylvania as the newest Executive Vice President of a publicly traded company. Time passed as I dropped occasional notes to check on him and his family. Then he called me out of the blue and asked if I wanted to fly from Ohio to Philadelphia to meet his wife and family and help him with his financial plan and investment management. The experience reinforced the power of making genuine connections and showing people that you care.

What passions do you pursue outside of work?

My wife and I have four young children. An all-encompassing mission for us, as a couple, is finding a way to communicate life lessons and set a good example in the effort to eventually raise well-adjusted adults.

I do enjoy the game of golf, writing short stories, reading about history (especially The Civil War), watching Ohio State football and, finally, Cleveland sports, which I swore my allegiance to in childhood. What’s the saying? It’s too late to change now!

How have your values and personal background uniquely positioned you to work with your clients?

I grew up in small town Ohio where my parents placed a premium on listening and organizing thoughts, then speaking up and responding in a thoughtful manner. If something needed to be said, everyone in my family was expected to say it without qualification.

Sports provided lessons in teamwork, leadership and communication that now translate to my role as an advisor. The more I know and understand what’s important to clients, the more I can impact our partnership. Too many advisors focus on the finish line and never connect with the core values, hopes and fears motivating his or her client. Communicating directly and intentionally, asking the next right question and being a little vulnerable when necessary and appropriate, is how long-standing, mutually beneficial partnerships are formed.

My mission is simple: to engage clients at the journey point where my team encounters them, add value at each stage and work collaboratively with the other professionals on their team.