What has inspired you to stay at Bernstein for as long as you have?
It’s very satisfying to say that the reasons I joined Bernstein in 1998 are exactly why I have remained (and also, why I hope to retire here—if I ever do!) The backbone of Bernstein is based on a uniquely unconflicted business model and culture that is passionate, fact-driven and research-based. This results in a firm that is among the most client-centered in the industry. As a firm, we have changed and evolved in myriad ways, from adding whole businesses and geographies to navigating three major financial crises. Still, through all of that, we have never let go, nor lost sight of, our fact-based, unconflicted culture that makes us so special. Importantly, these core cultural elements drive us to constantly improve in order to better serve our clients. So each passing year, we just get better at helping clients steward their wealth across markets and generations. We are always learning. Hence, the question becomes: Why would I ever want to leave?
What passions do you pursue outside of work?
Outside of Bernstein, I am deeply engaged in helping steer the development of my tribe, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Since 2011, I have served on the Board of Cherokee Nation Businesses, a highly diversified operation with approximately $2 billion in annual revenue and nearly 7,500 employees. Our profits go back to the tribe to fund health, education, cultural and other government programs. I am also highly engaged with various arts and cultural institutions. I recently retired as a Trustee of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. I’m in the process of transitioning to a broader involvement with the Smithsonian regional councils. I was also a long-time trustee of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK. One fun thing is that I am pursuing an Emergency Medical Technician certification. My two sons and I enjoy time in the outdoors together—skiing, hiking, biking, fishing and hunting. Prior to my life at Bernstein, I was a chef, so I am still an avid cook.
How have your values and personal background uniquely positioned you to work with your clients?
My background and range of experiences are essentially unique. I was raised in abject poverty, in a largely tribal community in rural NE Oklahoma. Thus, I have an abiding understanding of the value and fragility of life, wealth and relationships. My formal education in history and archaeology at Harvard and Oxford universities, and later as a Rhodes Scholar, prepared me for a lifetime of continuous, if informal, learning. I have been fortunate to live in and travel to a wide variety of places as more than a tourist, including running an archaeological dig in the Kingdom of Lesotho, living in the Yupik communities of SW Alaska—or dining with English Lords. Prior to Bernstein, I worked for a US Senator and as a treaty negotiator for my tribe. As a Board Member of CNB, I help steer what is, essentially, a Fortune 1000 firm. This grounding has guided my 20+ years of client advisory at Bernstein and given me the breadth and depth of perspective to contribute as a key thought leader.