Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the CEO of my firm, Ritholtz Wealth Management, is Josh Brown – aka Downtown Josh Brown, The Reformed Broker. Today is his birthday. So in true introverted blogger fashion, I am inspired to write down a bunch of things I’ve thought over the years but have never told him.
Many of our clients find us through Josh. Whether they watch him on CNBC’s Halftime Report, where he is a regular contributor, read his blog, The Reformed Broker, watch him on our YouTube channel, or listen to his latest hit, The Compound Show podcast, Josh has a large and loyal fan base. Whenever I start a conversation with a Josh fan, I am always sure to tell them that Josh is exactly the same person in real life as the one you see on television. He is genuine, authentic, the real deal.
The second thing I tell Josh’s fans is that I have trusted my career to his leadership. And I mean that sincerely. Ever since that fateful day in the spring of 2018, when Josh wrote a blog post admitting his failure to hire more female advisors, I have placed my professional future in his hands. As we chatted over the lunch hour on the very day of that post’s publication, I heard Josh describe the firm he and the RWM team were building and how it was growing. I knew that I could be plugged in to that equation and immediately make an impact. For the first time in my life, I saw how I could use my talents to achieve success, not only for myself, but for future clients and eventually younger advisors.
Leadership requires no title. It’s an attitude of service to others. What you see on the outside is Josh giving amazing hot takes on CNBC, or nailing the animal spirits of the current market environment on his blog. He has a finger on the pulse of humanity. It’s his superpower. It’s what makes him a magnet, attracting hundreds of individuals and families to visit our websites and fill out a form indicating they want to talk to one of our advisors.
What you don’t see is Josh’s laser focused dedication to growing the firm. As CEO, he’s chin deep in all of the grit and sweat required to launch a rocket ship. He could just as easily spend more time on his glamorous public persona, delegating the day to day operations to an employee. He always says yes to a request to get on the phone with a client. When a rare mistake is made, he will personally make the call to apologize. He takes all the good and the bad responsibility that comes with being CEO, and it motivates him to work harder. Sometimes too hard.
Josh sets the tone at RWM. His weekly firmwide call has morphed in to a bi-weekly Zoom meeting, where he never ceases to find new ways to motivate us. I can only describe these events as part halftime speech from a coach, part comedy show, part words of wisdom from a parent, and part evangelical tent revival. I have often said that Josh could have been a legit professional comedian. I am glad he wasn’t.
One of my favorite things about Josh is his creativity. He’s a talented artist. Seriously, you should see his doodles! He is also musical. Remember that photoshoot with the guitar? Josh named this blog, The Belle Curve. I was trying to come up with something that captured my location in New Orleans and the financial theme. I sent him an atrocious suggestion with a word of French origin. Within 15 minutes he had an unbelievable short list of potential names. I think Carte Blanche was on the list. But the Belle Curve was perfection – a play on the statistical term, a French spelling, and the connotation of my southern upbringing.
Thank you Josh, for making the leap to the advisory side of the business, for building a firm for me to call home, for pouring too much of yourself into this role, and for all the things you’ve yet to do that I can’t wait to experience with a front row seat.
Happy birthday Chief!