At this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, Bob Chapman, author of Everybody Matters, shared a few sobering statistics about the American workplace: seven out of eight people believe the company they work for does not care about them; three out of four workers are disengaged; and the rate of heart attacks increases by 20% on Monday mornings.
As I sat in the audience listening to Chapman, his message struck a deeply resonant chord in me. He explained that his early days as CEO of Barry-Wehmiller were marked, unsurprisingly, by a focus on financial success. As he matured in his role at the company, however, he realized something was missing. His responsibility as a business owner couldn’t just be about growing bottom lines; Bob needed to grow a work environment where team members were supported in developing their own talents and skills, believing that who they are and the work they do is valued and valuable. Barry-Wehmiller now measures success “by the way we touch the lives of people.”
What Chapman was articulating is why I created Via Global Advisors. When I founded Via Global, I was tired of searching for a firm where I would want to be both a wealth management client and an employee. Some firms checked one box, but no firms checked both. Indeed, as an employee of other wealth management firms, I was routinely told that profitability was the top - the only - priority. My children were “things I had to deal with,” and my ideas crowded out by company inertia. One particularly uplifting message that a wealth management executive frequently told his employees: cemeteries are full of people who thought they were indispensable.
At Via Global, we have the privilege of working with families over time to help them realize their financial and non-financial goals. We work alongside clients on issues that are important to them - from ensuring that a surviving spouse is on solid financial ground or that a young adult has a trusted ally to call as she launches financially.
In an environment where firms see clients simply as account numbers and revenue - how can we forget the Goldman Sachs’ trader who famously noted that company executives frequently refer to clients as "muppets?”. We know the individuals, values, and stories of each and every family member we serve.
At Via Global, we measure our success by the way we touch the lives of people – our clients, our colleagues, and our business partners. We join Bob Chapman in trying to change the world - one person, one family, and one company at a time.