What inspired you to join Bernstein?
After a long and successful run, I was ready for a change of pace. My 25-plus-year career began at GE Capital, and then as the CEO of seven different, early- to mid-stage financial and technology service companies. I wanted to take the skills I had developed and apply them to the financial well-being of others; specifically individuals, family offices, foundations and endowments.
This is why from my first day at Bernstein in 2006, until the present moment, I have felt like a kid in a candy store. I enjoy what I do every day, which is to serve as my clients’ most important trusted advisor.
It wasn’t an easy transition from serving as a CEO for 20-plus years to being a financial advisor, but I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I am pleased to say that the transition was a resounding success. I, along with my partner, Blake Bockhold, our team and Bernstein behind us serve clients with a 100% commitment to their financial well-being.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of being an advisor to your clients?
My partner, Blake Bockhold, and I work hard to earn the trust of our clients. We are a fiduciary and therefore, not “yes” people. We do whatever it takes to ensure that every decision is in our clients’ best interests. Unfortunately, the wealth management industry is fraught with individuals whose focus is on themselves, rather than their clients. Blake and I are 100% focused on the financial well-being of our clients. Without question, we put in the hours to thoroughly explain every detail so that our clients feel secure. We also have all of the necessary information to make informed decisions. Regular contact with our clients ensures they always know what is going on in their accounts. In other words, we continually earn their trust. We recognize that trust is extremely hard to earn and can be easily lost. Our clients are bright, self-made, hardworking people. Many are successful entrepreneurs. Yet, they are easy to care for because they’re all kind and down-to-earth.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
My mother was the single most influential person in my life. She was a single parent from the time I was five years old. Eight years ago, she passed away. It was the worst day of my life. My mother was the most good-hearted, loving, hardworking person I have ever known. She did everything in her power to ensure that my brother and I had the opportunities and support to succeed. She was also a great businesswoman and very entrepreneurial. Over the years, she helped hundreds of former drug addicts and ex-offenders learn new skills so they could be employed and re-enter the “real” world. She always focused on others first, and herself second. She was an incredible role model, mother and grandmother. I miss her each and every day. Still, the good news is, I learned how to be myself because of her.
I am as committed as she was to helping others do what is in their best interest. I always focus on the other person first. This is my foundation and why I am a true fiduciary to my clients.