This week on FIN-LYT by EWA, we invite you behind the scenes to introduce you to the minds and personalities that drive EWA. In this special “Meet the Team” episode, we sit down with each member of our growing team to learn what makes them tick both personally and professionally. We share the stories that have shaped their careers, the passions that fuel their dedication, and the unique perspectives that they bring to the table. We invite you to get to know all of us more personally!
Welcome to EWA’s Finlyt podcast. EWA is a fee -only RIA based at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We hope all listeners of this podcast will benefit as we deep dive into complex financial topics that we will make simplified for you.
And we hope that this really serves as a catalyst so that you can make the best financial planning decisions for your family and also save time. Welcome, everybody. In today’s Finlyt podcast, we are introducing you to every EWA team member.
A lot of the EWA team members, you’ll recognize their faces as advisors, but we wanted to give you an inside look at the rest of our team members who really make everything happen seamlessly here at EWA.
I am joined by Stephanie Bogdan. Stephanie, I’ve been so grateful that you joined the team. I don’t even know how long ago. It seems like years and years. I don’t think it has been that long, but very excited for all the growth we’ve had since you joined.
So tell us, as the COO, Chief Operating Officer and also the Chief Compliance Officer, what are two or three things that you are most passionate about and you feel are most valuable about your role here at EWA?
Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, thank you, Matt, for having me. And it’s been 15 months, believe it or not. I feel like it’s been a lot longer than that, too. I would say the top three things that I do for EWA that I feel are the most important is doing the HR function here at the firm, because we can’t do anything without the great team that we have built here.
And we’re not going to be able to continue to grow and bring on new clients and really affect the change that we want to for those clients without continuing to bring on new team members. Recruiting is like a constant process, so looking for great talent and looking ahead to make sure that we’re filling needs before we have vacancies is really important.
Also, keeping our eyes on our financials here at the firm. Every firm has to have a healthy bottom line, so managing expenses and making sure that we’re receiving value for whatever products, services, softwares that we bring in -house.
And then also, I think really important is the compliance aspect, which you mentioned. And that’s part of being an RIA that’s a little bit unique from those who work with a broker -daler is that all of your compliance functions are in -house.
So creating systems to make that really efficient, making sure we’re staying on top of regulatory changes and industry changes is huge. So I spend a lot of my time in those three functions, and I think that really sets us up for success at EWA.
Stephanie, thank you so much for sharing. If you don’t mind, give us your educational background. Sure. So I’m a Pittsburgh native. I love Pittsburgh, born and raised. So I actually graduated my undergrad from University of Pittsburgh.
I have a BS in economics, and then also finished my MBA through University of Phoenix about four years after undergrad. hold the WMCP designation, which is for wealth management certified professionals.
So some industry knowledge there. And just continuing, obviously, to learn as we go through our roles here. Previous to EWA, I have a pretty, I think, interesting resume. And I feel like somehow, someway, it just uniquely put me in the position that I’m in right now.
I did do some work in compliance. I worked with Schwab Institutional. I worked with financial planning software systems and actually training advisors all across the country on how to implement goals -based financial planning software.
And then most recently, I was the director of investment operations and financial planning for a firm here locally in Pittsburgh. Spent almost six years there in that role and loved it. And I’m very glad to be here and be able to kind of take all of that experience and bring it into one role.
Awesome. Well, thank you for sharing. So next question, what is your why? And I want to hear professional why. Why do you work in the wealth management industry and then also personal why? What makes you tick?
I mean, professionally speaking, I’ll echo something I think we said before, which is the work we do is really impactful to people. And you can’t be an expert on everything. I certainly am not a legal professional.
So if I wanted some advice on legalities or contracts, I’m going to seek out the best attorney that I can find. So I really feel like being the go -to for people when they’re looking for advice on a major financial decision cannot only have impact in that very moment, but also can have a really long -term impact on their life.
And we all know that you can make missteps. And that can really, you’re up for failure, or we can course correct and set you up for success. So I think us being able to really intervene in those very crucial moments can really have a long -term effect on people’s lives and their kids, their next generations, and so forth, which kind of brings me to my personal why, which is my family, my husband, and my kids.
I was very fortunate to have grown up in a family structure where my parents and I are very, very close. My sister, my brother, we’re all still here in Pittsburgh. So sometimes that’s great. Sometimes it’s close.
But honestly, we’re really fortunate. So I wanted to try to cultivate that same type of relationship with my kids and show them that life is wonderful, that there’s so much to experience out there. And that, you know, one of the ways that you do that for your family is to find a career that you’re passionate about, where it doesn’t feel like work every day and then be able to provide for them and give them, really give them opportunities to figure out who they are and what they want to be when they grow up.
So latitude to make some decisions, make mistakes, and then also be there to pick them up. Awesome. Well, I get emails from you all hours, and it seems like you don’t ever have spare time, but you’re also there for your kids at all their events and all their sports games, everything like that.
with your spare time, which I don’t believe you have, but I know you do, and I know you’re very family oriented. How do you enjoy spending your time? Yeah, well, obviously, yeah, spending time with my kids.
My daughter is a basketball player. So she, I don’t know where she got the coordination. Definitely not for me. So it’s neat to watch her out on the court, like doing something that I know I couldn’t do.
So it’s kind of like a living vicariously. So lots of time in the gym. My son does jiu -jitsu and we do a lot of tournaments, but really outside of the kids stuff, my husband and I love to travel together.
We love going to wineries and trying new wines and kind of really appreciating the process of that. And then if I ever do have like true downtime, I love to read a book. We have three crazy dogs. I love spending time with them.
They’re just like joy in my life. And spending time with my dad, especially, he got blessed turn 75 the other day, and he and I have always had a great relationship. So sometimes we just go get a coffee, we take a walk.
I think really just enjoying the time I have with him. It brings a lot to my life at this point. So I’m very grateful for all of those things. And I do have spare time and just very carefully crafted.
You’re always on, which we appreciate, but somehow you’re very energizing at times. I know you do decompress in the right way. So what’s on the travel agenda for the rest of this year? Yeah, actually I have a lot of travel and I don’t normally do this, but I think just by half instance, we kind of had everything kind of blocked in one time.
So actually this Saturday we’re leaving from North Carolina with our kids and all of our crazy dogs. So that’ll be a fun experiment with everybody in two vehicles. But actually just insanely grateful to have the opportunity to take my daughter to Costa Rica for a five day stretch to celebrate her 13th birthday.
So I never had like a mom -daughter trip when I grew up. So this is like one of those things where I just feel like so fortunate to be able to take that time with her to give her that opportunity. And I hope Phyllis will never forget that.
I know I won’t. But outside of that we’re gonna do a, my husband and I are gonna head to the Caribbean. at the end of September and spend a week together and just really kind of like try to reconnect and probably have a million conversations we haven’t had a chance to have over the course of this year.
Awesome. Hope you have a blast. I hope that you lose service so you can’t work on your in the mountains. And then Pura Vida, Costa Rica is an amazing place. It’s one place I’d go back to like every year.
I took your advice. Awesome. Okay. Well, last but not least, so we have these deck of cards. And this is from a popular podcast, diary CEO. And these are thought provoking questions. I’m gonna ask you pick one.
I’ll read it. All right. And then we need your answer. Okay. All right, let’s see what we have. All right. So this is a good one. Where will you be in five years? Okay. Well, in five years, I’ll address this professionally and personally too, because I think that’s easy to do.
Professionally, I’m going to be here at EWA, but we are going to have probably, I would say, at least double the team members that we have right now, servicing a lot more households. that we’re servicing right now and really, again, expanding the impact that we have here.
I believe we’ll probably still be in this building unless we find our own space. So professionally, I just think continuing the passionate work that we do here every day. I see myself probably here in 20 years, so that’s an easy one.
Personally speaking, at that point, my daughter will be graduating from high school. So I see a college basketball. Hopefully, yeah, hopefully, do you want basketball? I mean, this kid’s working 365 days a year.
So likely a lot of travel to watch her play and supporting her, probably getting my son ready to start looking at colleges. So that’s exciting too. But I think at that point, we’ll build the firm where we have some latitude where I’ll still be working while I’m traveling.
But I really want to be present for those big moments. And my husband will be getting ready to retire from the US Postal Service a couple years later. So I think really looking far forward and figuring out where our forever home is going to be and hopefully setting some really cool plans up for after he retires.
Now I’m joined by Chris Pabczyk on our advisor team. Chris, can you tell our listeners a little bit about your role at EWA, kind of what your, I’d say, top two or three responsibilities you have with the firm?
Yeah, absolutely. So I’m one of our advisors along with Ben, JMO, and Matt here. So my biggest responsibility is meeting with all of our clients on a usually quarterly or twice a year basis as much as we need to and making sure that anything that is big on their radar is on our radar and we’re planning accordingly.
Thanks. Chris, I would say I know you service a lot of our clients and you have just a great rapport with those clients. So thank you for everything you do for us. Tell us a little bit about what your educational background is and any professional experience you had prior to 2021 EWA was formed.
Yeah, so I went to school here in Pittsburgh at Duquesne University, majored in finance. and before EWA professionally, I interned with Matt actually. So I think in 2016, that was my first year working with him.
And throughout, that was while I was still in college. So during those years, I was helping kind of with the loose ends around the office and just learning what the industry was like. And then after graduation, I was kind of, Matt Shadow in a way, joining all of the meetings and kind of learning his processes.
So that’s how I really learned everything that I know and try to just implement what I learned from those years. Awesome. Yeah, you definitely had a good mentor in that. So, well, I think that, you know, one of the purposes of doing this podcast episode was going to give our listeners an insight into like who we are, you know, outside of our roles here, it’s easy to read a bio or whatnot.
But what does Chris like to do outside of the office? I know you do travel a little bit. So tell us what your interests are outside these doors. Yeah, I’m sure I’ll be the first one to mention this on the team, I love to golf.
I think probably all the guys on the team have mentioned that. So in the summer, I love to golf in the winter’s big skier. So I like to do that when I can. But yeah, other than that, whenever we have free time or long weekends, try to travel and do fun stuff like that.
But so what is your favorite place to ski? So someone was going to, you know, come to Pittsburgh and chat with you. What would you say? Hey, I recommend you go ski here. I have never I haven’t skied in probably 20 years.
Yeah. Well, I grew up here in Pittsburgh, so we’d always go to Hidden Valley or seven springs, but the best that we’ve done is out West. I’d say we favorite places tell your ride in Colorado. So it’s beautiful, not too crowded because it’s a little bit tough to get there.
You have to fly then drive like an hour and a half, two hours. So it keeps the crowds away, but that’s that’s definitely the top spot. No, that’s awesome. I love it. All right. So Chris, um, outside of, you know, when you’re getting up to go skiing, obviously that’s a big motivator.
Um, when you wake up in the morning, what’s your why? Why do you get up and do what you do every day? You know, come here to EWA and do the great work that you do. Yeah. I’d say in my position, I have, I guess a unique position to be able to, uh, I’d like to say impact a lot of different families on a personal level.
I think finances is something that reaches so many different areas in life. Just personally, the professional decisions that you make, whether it’s taking a job or moving, whatever it is. So I think having the opportunity to be there for those big decisions that can be pivotal, pivotal moments in their life, their kid’s life.
Um, that’s, I think, I just think that’s important. And it’s, um, something that keeps me coming back every day and helps that I, I enjoy it too. So I find the, the subject matter, the, the ins and outs, uh, very interesting too.
So kind of blends together. Yeah. It helps that things are always changing. And you know, new, uh, new products, new regulations, um, you know, as the world evolves, you know, client situations evolve.
Um, so I think we’re in a really unique position and you and the advisors do just such a great job of connecting with. their clients and really like being the go -to for every decision. I know we’ve had clients ask you about how to take care of home renovations and things of that sort.
So they’re really like involving you in their day to day life. So I think that’s really special in the relationships that you have personally developed with those individuals. So thank you for that work that you do.
Absolutely. I love it. Well, I’m going to throw you on the spot as we did everybody else with our diary of a CEO conversation card. So hopefully, let’s give you something to think about. Okay. You want to read that out loud for our audience and let us know your thoughts.
What is your mood right now? I would say I’d like to think my mood’s relaxed right now. Yeah, it’s a little bit, little anxious to, you know, what exactly I would draw from this. I know there’s a lot of interesting ones, but mood right now is good and feel ready to kind of attack the day.
So it’s been a busy week and a busy quarter overall. So I’m feeling. energized and ready to tackle all that stuff. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Chris. I know everybody will appreciate you sharing.
Awesome. Thank you. Now I’m joined with Jordan Fadasco from our investment team. Jordan, thank you so much for chatting with us. Will you tell our audience about what you do for EWA and what the top, maybe two or three things are that you like about your role here?
Yeah, so I’m the director of investments here at EWA. I joined the team in the beginning of February. I would say the top two things that I do, one, being onboarding the clients. I feel like establishing that new relationship is extremely important, showing that you’re going to help guide them through all the steps, keeping them in the know with what is going on.
First impressions are extremely important. And moving between financial firms can be extremely daunting. So we just want to make them feel comfortable. Another task would be, I would say like the upkeep and the maintenance with the clients, because I mean, as important it is onboarding the clients.
We want to be there for existing clients. So whether they have questions, they have a new goal based on life changes, making sure that they feel comfortable, because we are building long term relationships with these clients.
It’s just do one thing and then it’s done. This is a forever. So we always want to be there for them. And you guys do, you and Nick do such a great job with that. And you and I have known each other for a number of years.
And so I know kind of what your educational and professional background is, but our audience probably doesn’t. So can you share with us a little bit about where you went to college and what you did prior to joining EWA?
Yeah. So I graduated from Duquesne in 2022. My primary major is finance, secondary major is mathematics. and I received two certificates in actuarial science and quantitative finance. So prior to joining EWA, I started at a firm in Mount Lebanon as an intern going, the summer going into my senior year, and then I stayed on part -time as investment operations staff during my senior year, and then after graduation I became a full -time employee there.
And now I’m here. Which I’m so happy about and you and I work together at the previous firm. Yeah, I was Stephanie’s intern. No, so I was very fortunate to have met you early on and recognize like what just an incredible team player you are and how much you have to offer.
So we’re so glad you’re here. So I think enough about inside of our building. What do you like to do outside of, you know, your hours here at EWA? What do you enjoy, you know, doing in your spare time weekends?
Yeah, so I enjoy obviously spending time with friends and family. I love to read. I like to read thrillers and fiction. There’s a bookstore in Dormont called Beyond Bedtime Books. It’s my favorite. The owner is adorable and her dad’s there.
He’s so sweet. So I always find good reads there and she always gives good recommendations. I really enjoy working out. I’ve gone to Mecca Fitness for over a year now and I just started doing their CrossFit classes the past two months.
So I really like it. The community’s nice and the workouts are always challenging. I love it. Yeah, we definitely, that’s kind of a common theme here at the office. Because I think everybody has been to Mecca or CrossFit or both.
So tell us really quickly what is, like what’s your why, Jordan? Like why do you get up in the morning? What makes you wanna get out of bed? You know, what kind of jazzes you up on a daily basis? So my why?
I feel like from a job perspective, it’s just being able to help clients achieve their goals. Even though like I’m on the back end and maybe I’m only communicating with clients via email, it’s still nice seeing all these goals come to fruition.
I would say personal why is just making my parents proud. Just showing that like I’m working hard, my dad has a really hard work ethic and so does my mom. And just showing them that like I wanna be a good professional and build a beautiful life for myself.
I love it. Now I’ve had the chance to meet your parents. So I will say they’ve done a really great job with you. So I’m pretty sure they’re very proud. So as our last piece, as everyone else has done, if you wanna pull one of our conversation cards and just read it out loud and take a second to think about it.
Would you do it all again? That’s a good one. Yeah, I would definitely do it all again. There’s nothing that like I dislike about my life or that I would change. I have an amazing family, amazing friends, an amazing job, great team.
It’s definitely been a great- great transition coming here. And I think it’s been like done amazing things for my life. And I would definitely do it all again. Well, we’re super glad you’re here. And I think we’re just like on the cusp of what we’re going to accomplish inside this building.
So thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Now I’m joined by Ben Ruttenberg, one of our advisors here at EWA. Ben, thank you for chatting a little bit with our audience. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do at EWA?
And what about your role you like? Yeah, thanks for having me. My name is Ben Ruttenberg. I’m a WALT advisor here with EWA. Started in January of 2022. So time certainly flies. Really, my day -to -day is working with clients from creating a financial plan to implementing it, and then ongoing review of that financial plan.
So really, my day is mostly spent with clients, hands on, in meetings, helping them. pursue their financial goals and what’s important to them. Yeah, you have a lot of meetings on your calendar. I can vouch for that.
So you enjoy being in front of our clients, which is amazing, great rapport and people’s skills with them. So Ben, before you came to EWA, obviously, some college background and professional background.
Fill us in on a little bit about that. Yeah, so I graduated from Ohio State University in 2018 and received my executive certificate in financial planning from Duquesne in 2020. And previous to EWA, really my first three years out of college, I was a financial advisor at another broker dealer.
Met a lot of great people, learned a lot, and then was happy to join EWA in 2022. Well, we’re super happy that you’re here. So we always talk about what we do inside this building. So share with us a little bit about what you do outside of EWA.
What are your interests? What do you do on the weekend? What has Ben enjoyed? Yeah, this is going to be probably the most boring answer of everybody that you get. But love to really just spend quality time with my friends, my family, my girlfriend.
Very, just have really awesome people in my life. So I’m always very grateful for that. If it’s just me, I love just watching sports. So I’m a huge born and raised in Pittsburgh, big Steelers and Pirates fan, and then obviously graduated from Ohio State.
So huge Buckeye football and basketball fan. Love to read. I think it’s a great way to wind down from a long day. And just going out, trying new restaurants and hanging out with friends. I think a fun thing that I try to do at least once a year is meet up with a bunch of my friends from college in Columbus for an Ohio State football game, whether we’re actually going to the game or just hanging out.
It’s just great excuse to get everyone together and to see everybody. Absolutely. So what Pittsburgh native still live here, obviously. What’s your favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh right now? So if anybody came to visit us here in Pittsburgh, who maybe they live out of town and a client.
where should they go eat? Oh, that is tough. And you’re putting me on the spot. I was not prepared for that. I would say one of my favorite foods is sushi and that kind of cuisine. So I really can’t go wrong with umi and shadi side or umami and Lawrenceville.
Those are two that are up there. All right. I’m going to go ahead and agree with both of those. Outside of that, Ben, what really like, what’s your why? Why do you get out of bed in the morning, come to work?
What drives you to do what you do? Yeah. That’s a great question. I would say what I find really rewarding about this career is number one, first of all, I just kind of need to be in front of people and talking to people.
I think there’s people that are a lot smarter than me and better at doing all the data and the Excel and sitting in front of a spreadsheet all day. That’s just really not my strength. I love to be in front of people and talk to people.
With that in mind, I always want to do something that I found rewarding. And so working with people to work towards a financial goal and then achieve it is a really, really rewarding feeling. So if someone is able to work towards retirement and then retire because of the work that we’ve done, I feel a great sense of purpose from doing that kind of work, whether it’s getting someone to retirement or helping pay for a kid’s college or the myriad of other financial goals that we work with our clients on.
My why is that I love what I do because it’s really, really rewarding to help people see a goal all the way through. I think the work we do is super impactful and you get to see it every day. So pretty awesome.
Well, let’s wrap it up really quickly, Ben. We have your conversation card. Let’s see. Nervous. Nervous. All right. You read that outlaw for us. If you had to give all your money away to one organization tomorrow morning, what organization would it be and why?
Oh, that’s a good one. Wow. I would say I would give it to Autism Speaks. Cause very, very important to my life and my family’s life. My little brother Zach was diagnosed with autism when he was two.
And so they just do amazing research and funding. So it’s an organization that I’m super passionate about. So that would be open my answer. That’s super special. Thank you so much for sharing. Of course.
I appreciate it. And now I’m joined with Nick Stone -Cipher, our portfolio manager. Nick, thank you for coming and having a couple of minutes to talk with our audience. Absolutely. So tell us a little bit about what you do at EWA, kind of what your top like two or three, you know, responsibilities are for the firm.
Yeah, absolutely. So as you mentioned, portfolio manager at EWA. Happy to be here. Glad to do the job. But I’d say some of the most important things that I do on a daily basis is portfolio construction, trading and money movement needs for our clients.
Awesome. Awesome. And now you’ve been. been in the industry for quite a while, you have a long history of working with Matt and amazing experience. So just tell our audience a little bit about what your educational background was in college and then what your experience was before EWA came to exist in 2020.
Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, Matt and I go way back. We’ve worked together for almost 13 years now, I believe. So yeah, it’s been a good run. But educational background, I went to Pitt. I majored in economics.
And I have a minor in applied statistics. And as mentioned, worked with Matt for about 10 years prior to joining EWA with Matt. And in that prior work lifetime, I created and headed up an investment department for Broker Dealer.
And it centered around training, research, and analysis, and the investment business for financial advisors. Yeah, you definitely have a great resume one of the smartest guys I know so I appreciate that Absolutely, all right, so now the fun stuff.
So I know what you do inside the building amazing at your job You know been with Matt for quite some time So tell us though like what does Nick do outside of EWA? What’s your you know, what are your top interests?
Well, how do you spend your weekends? Absolutely? So my wife Kara and I were both big -time Outdoorsy type people so we love hiking biking kayaking Just going for walks like just love to be outside, but Personally speaking pretty big into golf and tennis as well.
So well tell us I know you have traveled extensively So if you had to go back to somewhere you’ve already been what was your Favorite place that you and Kara have traveled that you’d recommend to our clients or listeners It’s a good question Being that we love the outdoors We did do a trip a couple years back where we spent some time in Montana in Glacier National Park and then we drove up to Banff in Canada and Seeing the wildlife and the sights and the hiking me.
It’s just it’s beautiful out there So I would definitely say we would go back. I hear that’s incredible Once in a while I have the pop -up on my on my computer screen of like Lake Louise and such it looks incredible So maybe we’ll get there someday.
It’s it’s definitely worth it’s beautiful Well, tell us, you know when you wake up in the morning and you’re getting ready for work Like what’s your why what kind of motivates you? What makes you excited about doing what you do every day?
What motivates your life? Yeah, absolutely. So kind of personally and professionally to kind of take that one on personally, you know, I’m Big in trying to help out the family. I’m big in trying to provide so the why you know gets you out of bed each morning is to First off, you know provide for yourself and your family, but on the professional side Again aim to to provide for our clients and for the households out there that we haven’t met just yet But I think for me, it’s really big because being in the industry for me a 13 plus years years now.
There’s a lot of financial advice that’s going around out there. Some of it’s good. Some of it maybe not so much. And here at EWA, I know we do a great job with our financial planning and we really take care of our clients.
So the mission there is kind of come in, do a great job, provide for yourself, but also provide for others and know that you’re putting out a quality product and doing the right thing. Yeah, I mean, absolutely.
I would agree. I think every firm says, oh, well, what’s your differentiator? Oh, I provide great service. Well, you know, not everybody can be providing that A plus service. I really do think that like you and the rest of the team go like above and beyond.
So thank you for that. All right. So one last piece that I think the most fun part is our diary of a CEO conversation card. So I’ll just get you talking about maybe something off topic and maybe something I don’t even know about you.
So what do we do here? Read this out and just read that out loud. You got it. What is the greatest gift another human has given to you? That’s a good one. That’s that’s a deep one. Um, I would really just say, you know, come rotary and trust and loyalty.
So I’m in a great relationship with my wife and, you know, the fact that she trusts me and we’ve been together for so long, I mean, I’d say there’s no greater gift that you could really be given or, or have.
So we’ll, we’ll stick with that. I love that. It makes me happy. Thank you, Nick. So much for doing. Appreciate it. Now I’m joined by Piper Martin, our most recent, uh, hire to the EW 18. Thank you, Piper, um, for being here.
Well, you tell us a little bit about your role and, you know, so far, what are kind of the top, um, responsibilities that you’ve taken over for us? Yeah, absolutely. Um, so my role here at EWA is the social media and executive assistant.
Started here in the beginning of July. So very new, um, but I’ve, I’ve loved my experience so far. Um, probably the top most important tasks that I have in my role here are building the brand so that we’re a front of mind in our clients and potential clients, um, heads and just to get like the brand out there and, um, build it up.
And then also building relationships and trust with our clients. I think that’s one of like the most important things when it comes to marketing is having that trust between the company and the people that you’re working with.
Um, and then lastly, I would say that providing value is really important to my position here. I, um, want to provide, we want to provide value to our customers or clients. And, um, I think that’s just one of the most important things to building a reputable brand.
Um, so yeah, perfect. Yeah. And you and I have worked quite a bit together over the course of the last month. So I think we’re making great strides in all of those areas. Um, so thank you for all your contribution so far.
Um, so tell us a little bit about, you know, prior to coming to EWA, a little bit about your educational background and like any professional. experience you had before you joined us. Yeah, absolutely.
So I just graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with majors in marketing and supply chain management. During my college career, I had about four internships. And my most recent one was with a IT and cybersecurity consulting company, which was a really great experience.
I didn’t have too much knowledge in that industry, but I learned quite a bit. And I found it really, really valuable, especially gaining a lot of marketing experience and bringing that here to EWA. It’s been a really great, great time.
Yeah, you definitely had an impressive resume. So we’re glad you’re here with us. So tell us a little bit about outside of helping us build the EWA brand, working alongside me every day. What do you like to do outside of work on your weekends and your free time?
Yeah, I really enjoy. spending time with my friends here in Pittsburgh. We often like to explore restaurants and coffee shops in downtown or North Shore, anywhere around the area. It’s a lot of fun and I like taking my dog for walks.
I have a little puppy and she’s really sweet and yeah that’s pretty much it. So what is your favorite place that you frequent for dinner in Pittsburgh? I know you’re from the Philadelphia area. So this is, although you’ve been here for some time, like this isn’t like home per se, but what’s your favorite place in Pittsburgh?
If we had some clients come out of town, where should they have dinner? It’s a tough one. I like love all of the restaurants in Pittsburgh. We’ve a pretty good food scene. Yeah I agree. It’s been really nice to try them all out.
But I’ve been going to Urban Top quite a bit. Very good. Good food, good drinks. Yeah it’s a lot of fun. Alright well last question before we get to the fun pieces. Tell us about your why. So you know when you wake up in the morning, what is it that makes you want to either come to work or get up and get moving?
What kind of motivates you? Yeah I would say like professionally like in this industry I think it’s a really crucial industry for a lot of people. It’s very necessary and I think providing that value from the marketing standpoint is a really big part of why I do it.
Just so that I can you know help other people and help EWA as well build that brand. And also my personal why would probably be for my future self. You know just building that that foundation and building relationships along the way with with the people that I work with and around me.
So yeah. Well we’re excited to help you form that future you know here at EWA we just really got started. So I think there’s a very long road ahead of what we’re going to be able to really create together as a team.
So thanks for being part of it. All right, so on to our last piece, which is our diary of a CEO conversation card. If you would randomly pick one and just read that out loud. OK. My question is, what do you promise to do to make our world a better place?
I promise to give it my all every day and put in a lot of really great work and provide value to the people around me and in my life and keep building relationships with people and networking. And yeah, I think just, yeah.
having people in my life and surrounding myself with great people Is definitely something that I Look forward to doing. I I completely agree with you I think you know the energy that you surround yourself with is super important than not only that but the energy you put out into the world Right has that tendency to come back to you.
So I’m feeling very good things coming your way. Thank you so much Of course. Thank you now. I’m joined by a Jameson Smith Jameson you want to tell us a little bit about your role at EWA and Your background and how you ended up here with us.
Yeah, so my role. I am an advisor I could do a lot of things but primarily Working with clients being in client meetings talking to clients all the time making recommendations making sure that their Plans are on track and their goals are being hit And really just doing financial planning working on bringing in new clients and maintaining existing client relationships I guess is the simplest simplest explanation Well, what was your background before coming to EWA?
What was your educational background? And then what was your professional background? So I went to a small school Nobody’s probably ever heard of wheeling Jesuit University. It’s a wheeling University now and so I went played lacrosse there and I had no idea what I wanted to do I just knew Wanted to do something in business and so started as a super general like business Administration degree or whatever it was and I get to pick a concentration and one of the concentrations was personal financial planning And I was like a same school start doing that and then I kind of liked accounting classes and then it was like you could take three more Three more classes and get a double major in accounting So I was like, okay, I’ll do that and so I did that and then I didn’t I was like I don’t really know if I’m gonna do accounting or finance started as an internship at Northwestern Mutual in college Did really well in the internship and so then started there full -time as an advisor was there for a year out of college and then over here, Matt recruited me, and here we are.
Sounds like the perfect background for your role. So outside of studying lacrosse, working through the internship, so forth, I think what we were trying to share with some of our audience today is what actually goes on outside of our office.
So what are your interests outside of our walls and working with our clients? I really enjoy golfing. So I golf a lot. I try to. I don’t have a ton of hobbies, honestly. But working out, I really enjoy.
I’m really into health and fitness and traveling, I guess. And then I have a dog whose name’s Chance, so do some fun activities, go on walks, and do stuff with him. Well, what would you say is a big kind of a more thought -provoking question.
What would be your why? Why do you do what you do every day? Why are you interested in fitness and health and so forth? What gets you out of bed in the morning? OK, so I’ll answer the first part. Fitness, health, I just.
I think that’s the baseline of everything, is you’re being able to be healthy, maximizing your mental capacity, physical capacity. And so I think that’s really important to me. And that is a catalyst into being able to do the best job for my clients, live the best, most optimal in life.
So that’s really important for me. And then why, from a business standpoint, I have seen a lot of really one statistic that I think is crazy is it’s like under, I don’t remember the exact statistic, it’s high.
It’s like eight or 90% of the industry legally doesn’t have to act in the client’s best interest, which is insane to me. And I’ve seen some things while we were at the past firm that I can’t even believe were recommended and implemented for clients.
So I think there’s really bad financial advice out there. It’s a problem in the industry. There’s a low barrier to entry to get into the industry. So I am very passionate about doing the right thing for clients, making sure that their recommendations or financial planning is always in line with their goals, because that, unfortunately, the client’s best interest is not always in line.
And I also enjoy, and I enjoy building and creating things. So really building this firm that we’re building to do the best thing for the clients is really exciting to me. Love it. All right. So we’re going to do the fun piece now, which is your turn to pick from the diary of a CEO conversation cards.
Kind of throw you on the spot with one of these fun questions. You want to read that out loud for our audience? Yeah. OK, this is deep. Wow. Do you think your younger self would be proud or look up to you now?
Yes, I do, because I think my younger self as a child struggled with confidence and feeling empowered and being my true self. And I think I have since, of course, corrected that. And I think if my younger self looked at where I was now, they’d be really impressed and couldn’t believe it.
I love it. I mean, I would agree with you. You have built this great career. So I appreciate you sharing it with our audience. Thank you so much. Thank you. OK, so now we’re going to turn the tables a little bit.
And Matt, I’m going to chat with you a little bit about your background. I feel like a lot of our audience, client -wise at least, knows you very well a little bit about your background. But tell us as the CEO of EWA what you feel like the most important functions that you perform on a daily, weekly basis.
Yeah, so thank you. It’s a very thought -provoking question, because sometimes it’s all a million decisions you feel like you’re making every day. I would say the top three would be, and this has kind of been an identity shift for me personally, because a lot of my time building the firm 13 years ago was all in front of clients and trying to get new clients.
And now it’s coaching. The number one is coaching our advisors. Really being intimately involved in every client financial planning process. And then, you know, delegate and elevating the confidence and expertise of our advisors and really growing the advisory team.
The second one would really be with you and that would be, you know, we have a weekly meeting that we do. We call it our projects meeting. We go offsite to a coffee shop nearby and this is to develop the strategy and make sure that our firm initiatives, our clients are getting the best service, are reinvesting the best technology and just talk about the strategy moving forward.
And I would say the third thing that we, I would do is really just making sure that every decision aligns with the best interest of our clients, also of the firm, which has to be here to serve the clients and also of all team members.
And so there’s lots of decisions that have to be made on a daily basis, but just making sure that the core principles and values of the firm are always being protected. Yeah, I think we do a great job of that too.
So thank you for sharing that with us. I would agree with all three of those. Appreciate it. So Matt, tell us just a little bit about, so obviously before EWA college, a little bit of professional background, just give us some highlights as to schooling, professional prior to EWA being formed in 2020.
Yes, I think first and foremost, a lot of people probably would be surprised. Well, I think a lot of people know this. I was homeschooled until high school. So the joke, homeschool high five, I was my only friend, no, just kidding.
But so it’s homeschooled until high school, moved seven or eight times growing up. My dad had a midlife crisis from being a music professor and in this state of Indiana, and now becoming a pastor. So good for him, but that took us to Pittsburgh and led me to a lot of opportunities.
From there to no surprise, I strongly encouraged to go to a small Christian liberal art school called Geneva College, not to be confused with the college that you can’t walk on the grass. We could walk on the grass at Geneva, but it was just as strict.
So we had, I played college basketball, we had a lot of fun, just at Geneva, you really had to get away with it secretly, so learned a lot of good lessons and lifelong friendships. So, Really grateful that I got to spend my time there.
I was a double major in accounting and finance that a year at Big Four accounting firm before going back to the company, internship in financial planning, our prior broker dealer. Nice. All right, Matt.
So we know about everything that’s here at EWA. Tell us about what you like to do. I don’t think you have a lot of spare time either. So I mean, both of us tend to be really engaged. But what do you do when you have that downtime outside of these walls?
What do you like? Yeah, so first and foremost is my daughter, Aurora. Love spending time traveling with her, my girlfriend. We love golfing. We love traveling. We love doing new adventures. Rory’s getting into golf as well.
She loves the little new puttery machine that we have. And then also spending time with the two golden retrievers at home. As much as they shed, love them to death. And lots of lessons to learn from a good oil dog.
I agree. Yeah, outside of that, I have the pleasure of a lot of friends. are also clients. So there’s a lot of synergy where, you know, clients have similar hobbies. So we do a lot of golfing. And really, obviously love growing the firm and serving clients.
So the personal and the business, there’s clear boundaries and lines, but I’m grateful that I found what I love to do at such a young age and it’s really a passion. Yeah, I think that’s really special that, you know, to be able to love it, you do so much to have a little bit of overlap between some of the leisure activities that you like and also spending time, you know, really honing the relationships that we have with our clients.
We have some incredible clients and, you know, great, they have great stories. They have so much, I think, to offer back to us, you know, from their life experiences. So that’s neat to get to do that.
Okay, so a little bit more philosophical question for you as well. You know, what is your why, you know, why do you get out of bed every morning? Why do you work as hard as you work? And, you know, what’s Matt’s like reason for it for being?
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think the, I was, I was blessed to have the experience of having a disabled sister growing up and that really gave me a lot of perspective, a lot of perspective that I didn’t want to, you know, not everyone has the blessing of health and, you know, a full mental capacity.
So I, the lessons I learned from there is, you know, don’t, if God gives you a talent, don’t, don’t let it go to waste. So I’d say my why is just serving others and making sure that my talents get utilized that I’m blessed with on a daily basis.
Also, I want to make sure I raise the most humble and, you know, serving daughter and any future kids that I have. So that’s equally my why is making sure that their talents are not taken for granted and that they have the right, I’m a very competitive person, but I think that competitiveness can easily lead you awry if it’s not purpose driven.
So I’d say my why is just making sure that everything I do is purpose driven, not just for a competitive reason. Well, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting your daughter and she is a special little girl and she’s I I think you’re doing a great job.
So, yeah, she’s fun. We love having her in the office. So I’d come in for a visit. All right, Matt, we’ll put you on the spot one more time. This is a Diarrhea CEO card if you want to read it out loud and or if you want me to read it out loud.
All right. I think this is a great one for you too. Oh boy. What are you now clear about that you didn’t know last year? What am I now clear about? I didn’t know last year. It’s a nice broad question.
Yeah, I would say through coaching and mentorship, I always thought I was a self -aware person, but understanding that, you know, how much your childhood shapes you and there’s certain things that can really, you know, make you, will trigger you and not being really curious about those instead of assuming the answer from someone else, I would say it’s really communication and really going as scary as it is deep diving into your own background and deep diving into your own, you know, personal journey that I think stems from the first five years of your life and just accepting that and really integrating it as part of your life with knowing how you can be the best communicator possible.
That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing. Absolutely. Thanks for tuning in to our podcast. Hopefully you found this helpful. Really hope this is as beneficial and impactful to as many people across the nation as possible.
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