Greg Anderson: The People’s Person
Following some recent client and community events, we caught up with Greg Anderson, financial planner in our Columbus Office, to chat about what attracted him to the financial services industry and to find out why he’s so passionate about getting to know his clients and making a difference to the lives of people in his community.
Tell us a little about what attracted you to the financial services industry?
A whole new world opened up to me back in 2006 after I made a major decision to sell my family run, glass fabricating business to another family member. I’d reached a point in life where I wanted a change. The family business, of which I was CEO and president for 10 years, was a million dollar business but I was looking for a new challenge. It was a friend who seeded the idea of a career in the financial services industry. Initially, I just laughed at the idea but then as I mulled it over, I thought this could actually be a really good fit. After all, I had a really good handle on what was involved in a buy-sell agreement through selling my own business and had learned first-hand about estate planning. I also loved being around people, getting to know them and helping them. I recognized that I could develop good relationships with other business owners and help the vast majority of them that don’t have any succession plans in place. My friend explained what I needed to do and in no time at all (at least certainly sooner than he expected!) I showed up and started working for a financial firm where I stayed for a few years. I then made the move to Skylight in 2009 as I wanted the ability to offer my clients a fee-based planning model and service my clients more comprehensively.
I’ve never looked back and love what I do as I get to form tight-knit relationship and friendships with my clients, I get to serve my community and also I have the freedom to run my own business.
Tell us a little more about why you are passionate about getting to know people
I live by the motto – “People don’t care what you know until they know how much you care”. It’s just second nature to me to want to get to know people and care for them. I like to find out what’s important to them. It’s great to be able to sit down with my clients in a relaxed atmosphere over a coffee and talk about general stuff – like what’s happening in their life, their family, with their kids or grandchildren. Some planners and other firms are too focused on products and lose sight of how important it is to build lasting and meaningful relationships.
Also I’ve recently invited some clients to events where I get to know them better in an informal setting – like a game at the Columbus Crew. We have a suite down there and it’s really fun to get out there and spend time with clients where we can all relax, have fun and chat over a beer and some food.
You are also passionate about serving your community. Tell us about some of the organizations you are involved in.
Enriching the communities we serve is something that’s greatly valued in Skylight and it’s something I totally believe in and embrace. There’s nothing more fulfilling than being able to make a real difference in people’s lives. I’m actively involved in a number of wonderful non-profit organizations like the Freedom Center of Knox County which delivers treatment for individuals and families battling substance abuse and dependency and The Methodist Eldercare Services which is Ohio’s number one retirement and assisted living facility where I can help with end of life issues.
An organization which is particularly dear to me is CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) of Franklin County where I volunteer as a guardian ad litem (GAL). We represent the interests of neglected and abused children who find themselves in the court system by no fault of their own. CASA takes 20% of the worst cases in Franklin County. My involvement started nearly four years ago when I attended a CASA breakfast and walked away thinking “How can I not help?” I kept thinking that most of us have knock-backs in our lives but it’s hard to imagine being abandoned at such a young age by the people you need most in your life. Most of the vulnerable children that I meet are removed from their homes and placed in foster care, often far from their friends, family, and schools. Often, I’m the only “constant” in their lives as their parents’ struggle and caseworkers and foster parents come and go. The kids are thrown into a confusing court process without having anyone they trust. That’s where I step in and explain to them what’s going on ask them what would serve their best interests – I essentially serve as their “voice”, if you like. Also one of the important things I do is to help them forget their problems and just be kids. A lot of the times, we just toss a football and don’t talk about anything. It’s such a privilege to help these great kids and it’s so rewarding to see them reunited with their parents or settled in a safe and permanent home.
Greg A. Anderson is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC OSJ: 2012 W 25th Street, Suite 900, Cleveland, OH 44113. 216.621.5680.