Tell us about your background
I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and lived there until age 21. I come from a family of six kids with great parents and grew up in a very supportive environment. My father is one of my biggest heroes because he taught me things I consider to be absolutely critical to success, that is honesty and integrity in everything you do--not just your professional life, but also your personal life. I have carried those tenets in my career and throughout my life. There are instances, you will find, if you are honest and up front in business dealings, people respect you, and know they can trust you because you get the job done - you deliver on your promises.
I received a public education at Brighton high school and studied everything. I was a big fan of theater and was interested in fashion merchandising and marketing. For my first round of college I went to Dixie College in Southern Utah and studied business marketing and merchandising. I attended Dixie for a year and then transferred to the University of Utah to continue my education. My experience away from home at Dixie College was great for me. I learned I could be on my own and support myself. I was close enough to mom and dad if I needed them, but far enough I could be on my own.
During my high school years, I worked part time as a waiter and bus boy in a restaurant at a local country club. When I went to Dixie College, I used contacts from my country club job to get a job at another country club near the college. Networks are so important for you to leverage throughout your career. When I transferred to the University of Utah, I found that the theory of business didn’t appeal as much to me as jumping right in and doing it. When I was 19, my older brother landed a job with Fidelity Investments where they had recently opened a call center with brokers, mutual fund traders, etc. I asked him if Fidelity allowed two people from the same family to work there and he said, “I don’t see why not.”
I applied, even though I hadn’t finished my schooling. I didn’t have a lot of practical experience, but I had energy and interest. I interviewed for a job at Fidelity Investments and was offered the job partly because I had put on my resume that I was an Eagle Scout—not a big deal to most people, but it was one of the things I put on my resume to show if I applied myself to something, I could finish it. I was offered a job and accepted. Several months later, I was talking to my interviewer and she said, “When I interviewed you, you didn’t have your complete college education yet, but I was impressed with the passion and interest you showed in your interview and your experience as an Eagle Scout I decided to take a chance and offered you the job.”
I went to work with Fidelity at the age of nineteen. In the financial investment industry, there are certain licenses you need to get to trade securities. I took the tests, and tested for my broker’s license which I passed on my first try. Later on, one of the Human Resource individuals came to me and said, “You can’t have your broker’s license.”
I responded, “What do you mean I can’t have my broker’s license?” She said, “You’re not eligible to receive a broker’s license until you meet the age requirement of 21.” Fidelity met with the Securities Exchange Commission about it and their response was, “He already passed the test.” So, at one point I was the youngest broker Fidelity ever had—that was my time in the spotlight.
At Fidelity, I began as a mutual fund service and trading representative. After a year and a half, I pursued other opportunities within the company, taking a position in Boston, where they have their corporate headquarters. I knew by working in headquarters I would be exposed to the breadth of services Fidelity offered. It was my intent, to test a lot of things since I was still not q