Symposium Spotlight: Q&A with Sam Calhoun, the Associate Vice President of Internal Sales and Services at Nationwide Financial
We had the opportunity to chat with Sam Calhoun, the Associate Vice President of Internal Sales and Services at Nationwide Financial. Sam is speaking on the panel, Hidden Figures: the little-known but awesome career tracks in wealth management. Sam is excited to share dive into the conversation along side moderator Kate Healy, the CEO and Founder of AdvoKate IQ and panelist Abbie Sheridan, the President of Greenrose Communications,
There’s only a couple more days left to register for our Symposium, which is taking place this Thursday, February 8. You can attend virtually or in person at The University of Akron! Virtual attendees can join the excitement starting at noon and continuing until 3:30 pm ET, while those attending in person can kick off the proceedings at 11:30 am ET. Whether you prefer the virtual experience or the in-person vibe, get ready for a lively celebration that highlights diverse talents and promising opportunities in the dynamic field of wealth management. Secure your spot by registering now – it’s free!
How did you get into the wealth management industry? What first attracted you to the space, and why have you stayed?
My original focus from an educational and career standpoint was Information Technology and Human Resources. Focusing my career on wealth management and financial services was something I became interested in later. After working in IT for three years post-graduation, I transitioned to financial services, and for the next 10 years, I worked in financial services areas related to operations, customer service, and underwriting, along with a parallel focus in HR. Thereafter, I became more fully involved in wealth management from a sales and sales leadership perspective and have been in this arena for the past 24 years.
For me, a major attraction to wealth management is the opportunity to help people raise their level of awareness of the important need for solid financial planning and making good decisions for their financial future. A career in wealth management, particularly in sales, also provides an opportunity for an individual to more clearly attribute and realize the connection between their hard work and the results they produce and enjoy.
What characteristics or traits do you commonly see among successful professionals in financial planning?
People who have a decent degree of analytical skills and who are comfortable with processing and breaking down data into forms of information they can convey to other people are important traits to possess. I also see success among people who are knowledge seekers, who are interested in continuous learning and are interested in reading and studying financial services/wealth management and who are committed to being excellent students of the industry.
Beyond those more technical aspects, I would say it is very important for a person to possess or develop a curious nature that propels them to seek and find answers to help meet the needs of the people they serve. I would add that being an effective communicator (especially a strong listener) is critical. Finally, and most importantly, in my opinion, is for a person to be empathetic and caring, along with holding true to the utmost values of honesty and integrity. Your name is everything in this business, so protect your name and reputation by always doing what is in the best interest of those you serve, rather than yourself.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about financial planning?
One of the biggest misconceptions is that financial planning is primarily relevant only to the wealthy. Financial planning is critically important for everyone, regardless of their financial strata. Financial planning is a process by which anyone can utilize a disciplined approach to managing their income and other assets in a way that provides them with an opportunity to grow their net worth. Financial planning is also about helping people to attain goals that are common to the wealthy or non-wealthy, namely – buying a car or home, saving for a child’s education, and saving for retirement.
Another big misconception is that you don’t have to worry about financial planning when you’re young. While it may be true that a young person has not yet reached their earnings peak or may have little in the way of assets, starting early on a disciplined financial approach is the key to building good habits that will hopefully be sustained throughout a person’s life cycle. Starting early also helps a young person reap the reward of the age-old benefit of having time on their side to accumulate wealth over an earlier and longer period of time.
What impact do you hope organizations like Diversitas will have on the wealth management industry in the coming years?
I sincerely hope the impact of Diversitas will be manifested by the significant and meaningful increase of diverse entrants into the wealth management / financial services industry so that a broader set of people can experience the benefits and rewards of a career in this industry.
The increase of diverse entrants will hopefully lead to a wider array of people from a more diverse set of backgrounds who are being reached and becoming educated on financial planning/wealth management principles and practices, and the opportunities it affords them to build net worth for the benefit of themselves and their families.
I further see a huge opportunity for Diversitas to play a major part in raising the level of awareness, education, and accountability of established wealth management entities to embrace and champion diversity as a strategic priority.
What’s the best way for someone to get started who may not know which career path is best for them, but know that they don’t want to go the traditional route?
Internships and networking. A great way to explore career paths in this industry is through an internship. Many programs average 12 weeks, some less, and provide valuable insight into the day-to-day responsibilities while allowing you to build a professional network.
To learn more about how to foster a meaningful relationship in the wealth management industry, read our Q&A with Morae Metcalf, the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources at Cambridge Investment Research, and of course, don’t forget to secure your free spot at this year’s Symposium now!
Sam brings over 30 years of financial services and leadership experience to his role as AVP of the NF Internal Sales & Service Solutions Centers. His diverse professional background within financial services includes sales, operations, customer relations, underwriting, mergers & acquisitions, and human resources.
In his current role, Sam oversees an organization of 400+ associates for which he provides strategic leadership and vision in the continuous pursuit to elevate the execution of Nationwide’s mission to protect people, businesses, and futures with extraordinary care.
Sam attended Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, from where he holds a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Human Resources. He also holds a Master of Arts degree from Middlesex University in London, England.
Sam is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (FLMI®) and holds the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) designations from The American College.
Sam appreciates time well spent with his family and is very active in the Central Ohio community with a Christian based ministry working with families and individuals from various backgrounds.