It Takes a Village

My son’s coach pitch baseball team won the playground championship last week. They were first among 22 teams in the league, surviving a two-week, double-elimination tournament. What an awesome experience!

In his victory speech, our head coach talked about the community at the playground and how everyone was like family. I was reminded of the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and how true that phrase became at that moment. The families of thirteen 7 and 8-year-old boys came together to coach and support the team. At least four dads assisted as coaches, while parents and siblings helped keep stats, run the scoreboard and ensure the players knew the batting order. One family sponsored the jerseys and hats.

Some of the players were all-stars, and at least one had never put on a glove before this spring. Every player improved their skills. Congratulations to Dr. Tichenor’s Defenders on an amazing season.

It also takes a village to run our wealth management practice. That village is on full display this summer as we welcome new clients and serve the needs of existing relationships. As the size and complexity of our clients have grown, so has the size of the team. I am grateful to work alongside these talented and dedicated professionals.

The client service associates are on the front lines. I am blessed to work with our Director of Client Service, Erika Mauro. Erika assists clients in our Preserve and Family Office service models, which are the largest and most complex relationships. She possesses finesse and precision that are unparalleled in our industry. Lisa Paul, who joined RWM in our Nashville office last year, works with the rest of my clients. Her attention to detail and caring demeanor make her the perfect person to shepherd clients through mountains of paperwork with ease. Every aspect of client relationships receives a guiding touch of one of these women.

At my right hand sits the most clutch player on the team. Alan Brockhaus is an advisor who recently celebrated his first anniversary at the firm. It feels like he has been on the team forever. As I explain to clients, Alan does everything required to prepare for and follow up after our meetings. Alan raised his hand when the tax team was short-staffed last season. He received a graduate-level education in tax preparation, making him even more valuable to our clients. Alan is an advisor and CFP(R) in his own right, taking the lead on existing client relationships while bringing on new clients. I will never take for granted my ability to turn to him and brainstorm a solution for complicated financial planning, tax, and investment questions.

The traders hold down the fort. Alex, my primary trader, and Dylan, head of the trading department, are so seamless that it might be easy to forget they are there. I could never overlook their vital role on the team. They ensure new accounts are properly allocated, invest new cash when added, and raise cash upon client request. They also handle rebalancing and any changes that come from the investment committee. These few short sentences do not even scratch the surface of what these ninjas do daily for clients. I am forever grateful for the original trading structure built by Patrick Haley, who is now focused on advising and managing investments for our largest clients. Dylan and Alex are leveling up on that infrastructure. It’s incredible.

Then there are the specialty teams.

The tax team does forward-looking tax projections and planning and, when needed, prepares client returns. Bill A, who runs the tax practice, is a once-in-a-generation talent. He can simultaneously operate both sides of his brain as a tax preparer and a financial planner. I am excited about our latest hire on the tax team, Dom, who seems capable of following in Bill’s footsteps. Rarely a day passes that I don’t interact with the tax team on some client issue or question.

There is much more, but attention spans are no longer built for 1,000-word blog posts.

The insurance team has a personalized approach to building risk management strategies. I consider myself a decent relationship builder, but Brian and Jonathan’s insurance conversations with clients always uncover a need or concern I somehow missed.

The family office team coordinates multigenerational estate plans while building a bespoke service model for our largest clients. This is an area of growth at the firm that most excites me. Taylor, Patrick, Cameron, and Erika are a force to behold.

Gary is our go-to advisor for all other estate planning questions. Joey is a stock-based compensation Jedi. Dan helps clients streamline and maximize corporate retirement plans. And our CFO, Bill Sweet, is often the magic glue in tax planning for our largest clients.

This post could be a book. Someone should write that book one day. Josh is spot on when he writes about how we built the firm without cutting corners and with difficulty as a feature, not a bug. We chose to do comprehensive wealth management the right way, not the easy way. To do that well, it takes a village.

I stand in front of clients all day and take credit for a lot of the work behind the scenes. But I hope you all know how grateful I am for all the hard work that goes into creating this client experience. Everyone mentioned in this post, and I’m sure I missed many more, is a hero in their own domain. I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I realize how lucky I am to be a part of this team.




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