Amy Webber, president and CEO, Cambridge Investment Research
I would tell the 25-year-old version of myself that life is short and to build a career with people who share your purpose and set of values. Prioritize the relationships, as difficult situations are easier to resolve when you start from a basis of trust. If you focus on serving others, rewards will come back a hundredfold. Be sure to embrace change, take educated risks and make decisions with your long-term vision in mind. Those who choose to capitalize on opportunities during times of change are the ones who thrive.
Tariq Johnson, director of institutional sales and operations, NuView Trust Co.
I would tell myself to enjoy the process. We often get so attached and fooled by thinking the destination is what will bring us joy or happiness, such as a new promotion, making more money, or closing a new deal. I’ve found that once the outcome is realized, we only set a higher goal for the next time. It becomes a constant pursuit of working toward a more challenging or ambitious goal. If the outcome is only a fleeting moment of enjoyment, you might as well enjoy the process along the way, because it’s not about the result — it’s about who you become in the process.
Taylor Garrett, president, Orchard Securities
The most important thing I would tell myself is how important family is and that no success in business can replace failure at home. I would also tell myself that I should never stop learning. The day you stop asking questions and let ego get in the way is the day you stunt your growth as a person.
Matthew Iak, executive vice president, U.S. Energy Development Corp.
My late mother-in-law, and greatest mentor, taught me, “God gave you two ears and one mouth, use them in proportion.” This still resonates with me today. As I have learned — and continue to work on — one should question others’ answers, rather than answering others’ questions. It was an epiphany for me to realize that at the highest levels of leadership, it is not about you, but those around you. In sales, the ability to hear is the ability to sell. In management, hearing employees is the only way to lead meaningful change. Most importantly, in a marriage or any great relationship, letting your loved one know they are heard is the key to success. (I am still working on that one, just ask my wife.) In summation, the art of hearing, not just listening, is what I would tell my younger self. The problem is … I’m not sure I would have heard the message back then!
Karlton Kleis, managing director, capital markets, Arete Wealth
I would tell the 25-year-old version of myself the financial services industry is the greatest industry in the world, as it will allow you to directly experience the results of your efforts on a scalable basis. Focus on increasing credentials and knowledge of the industry as much as possible to keep your skillset sharp and provide real value to customers. At the end of the day, relationships are key in all things, from communication to management to executing a business plan. It can always be worse, and the only thing constant is change.
Thayer Gallison president, Timbrel Capital
Given the opportunity to speak to myself at 25, I would explain that while a career focus on technical proficiency is important, greater success is dependent on being the most well-rounded person you can be. Relationships developed in your personal and professional life, paired with subject matter expertise, is far more beneficial than knowledge alone. Knowledge will be a prerequisite, while relationships will be your differentiator. Building a strong social and business network — that will overlap in ways you could never expect — will fuel career opportunities and financial growth, as well as self-fulfillment, achievement of life goals and individual happiness.