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NAIFA Members Provide Financial Independence

Scott BlakeScott Blake is a Wealth Management Advisor and Founder at a leading wealth management firm delivering comprehensive planning, investment, and insurance services for individuals, families, and businesses to help them achieve financial success and live rich, rewarding lives. A passionate leader in his community, Scott is a 2022 national winner of Advisor Today’s 4 Under 40 Award and a board member of several organizations in Columbus, Ohio. He is the President of the Columbus chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) and has an MBA in finance and financial management services from Capital University. 


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Scott Blake shares his background and journey into the financial services industry 
  • Tips for succeeding in any business 
  • How Scott leverages lessons from his political career and athletics in financial services
  • The value of having a financial advisor
  • The challenges Scott had to overcome as a wealth management advisor
  • What does the future of his practice look like? 
  • How to get clients as a financial advisor 
  • The importance of delegating tasks 
  • How the pandemic impacted Scott’s practice and how he handled it

In this episode…

Are you looking for financial security? Do you want to be on the right track for retirement?

Scott Blake recommends hiring a financial advisor, an expert who can help you plan and prepare for the future. Having pivoted to the financial services industry after several years in politics, Scott discovered how making sound financial decisions impacted his clients' lives positively. According to him, wealth management services should be accessible to people of different income levels — not limited to high-net-worth individuals. He shares how he's flourishing in this industry, helping his clients achieve financial security.

On this episode of Advisor Today, Chris Gandy and Suzanne Carawan sit down with Scott Blake, a Wealth Management Advisor, to discuss his successful journey in the financial services industry. Scott shares the lessons he learned from his political career and being an athlete that he leverages in the financial service industry, the value of having a financial advisor, the challenge he had to overcome in his business career, and tips for getting clients as a financial advisor.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, or NAIFA, the #1 association for producers in financial services. 

At NAIFA, we enhance professional skills, promote ethical conduct, and advocate for legislative and regulatory environments.

By joining NAIFA, you gain access to a partnership that elevates your performance while providing greater purpose to your professional work. NAIFA members are happier, make more money, and stay in the business longer.

Get in touch with NAIFA and learn more about how to join NAIFA by visiting NAIFA.org.

Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:02 

Welcome to NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series, where we focus on how financial advisors work, live and give to their local communities and our greater financial services industry. Now, let's get started with the show.

Chris Gandy 0:16

Hi, everyone out there and Nathan nation. We're happy to be here. Advisor Today's podcast. We're super excited about today's episode. And thank you again for tuning in. And thank you for being loyal members. I'm here with my wonderful co-host Suzanne Carawan. Suzanne, how are you?

Suzanne Carawan 0:38 

I'm good, Chris, how are you?

Chris Gandy 0:40 

Good. It's good to see you in the left-hand corner up here. It's kind of interesting on Zoom, I can look like this, and they can think I actually see you. Right. We have a wonderful guest today. Scott Blake's gait. Scott. How are you?

Scott Blake 0:51

I'm great, Chris. Thanks for having me on.

Chris Gandy 0:53

Good. Suzanne, before we get going and rocking and rolling. Do you want to let us know who's helping us with sponsoring this today?

Suzanne Carawan 1:01 

Yeah, actually, today, it's really exciting. It's actually sponsored by Advisors Today 4 Under 40 Award, of which Scott Blake is one of the national winners. A lot of people don't know that the four under 40 brand is actually owned by Advisor Today. So it's part of the overall platform. And so we're excited to have one of our national award winners with us, Scott, as a man, he has a number of accolades, but that's just one of them. But just a reminder, everybody out there, the 4 under 40 awards are open for nominations and applications. So please get those in those. And on August 31. So we're excited to see we've got a lot of great candidates coming in. And we crown those people December 3, and through fifth at the National Leadership Conference in Washington, DC.

Chris Gandy 1:45 

Awesome. Suzanne, you want to mention one more time. I was on a call last week, and you mentioned again, the National Leadership Conference. And when is that so people can register now?

Suzanne Carawan 1:57 

Yeah, so the National Leadership Conference, registration is open it is December 3 through fifth, and it's going to be at the Renaissance Downtown DC Hotel in Washington, DC. And that will include our belong Awards Gala, where Scott actually did get his national award on stage, as well as will have the installation ceremony for all of the incoming presidents to get sworn in, as well as our board, which Chris has done before. And we'll have a light program, and then we will have a date on the Hill to go up on Tuesday. And so that's December 3 through fifth. And you can go to LLC.NAIFA.org to register.

Scott Blake 2:37 

Great. That's a great experience. Scott, we're excited to have you, man. Thanks. I'm happy to be here.

Chris Gandy 2:44 

Thanks for being here. Thanks for taking the time to share with us some insight on what it takes to be fabulous under 40. New Name. With that being said, Scott, tell us a little bit about yourself your practice and how you get started in this wonderful business of financial services.

Scott Blake 3:04 

Yeah, first off again, thank you for having me. Big support for NAIFA. Like many people who join NAIFA, I had a mentor who tapped me on the shoulder Bob Roche, here in Columbus, Ohio, who said you need to try NAIFA and seven, eight years later, everything you said is exactly true about the experience. But my background, I think, is very similar to a lot of career changers. I was a client of an advisor in my office first, I spent about 10 years working in politics, running political campaigns around the country. And then, so often happens in politics, my guy loss and I met with my advisor and said, hey, I'm unemployed right now I'm thinking about what I need to do next. Let's shut off those IRAs and the insurance contributions for a bit. And my advisor at the time, a gentleman named Travis Mark here in Columbus, Ohio, had the courage to say hey, have you ever thought about doing what I do? He knew a little bit about my background. I'm a transplant from South Florida, moved up here to Ohio State to swim for the Ohio State University and had an MBA in finance. And he thought I would make a good advisor, and he encouraged me to talk to our Managing Partner and flashboard eight years ago or eight years later, we have a practice that it's me and a team of three underneath me that services clients and 40 states around the country. So it's really blown up beyond my wildest hopes and aspirations, but I think coming from an area like politics NAIFA's allows me to keep my feet wet in that area, but at the same time, move to such a positive of varying, being able to be all of our clients cheerleaders all the time and talk about building people up rather than needing to tear them down, which is sadly the state of our politics or too often.

Chris Gandy 5:13 

I meet myself, so I don't interfere with your talk. But coming from that world, you have a different perspective. Right. So, so share with us a little bit about this opportunity that you mentioned. Sounds like you had a pretty fast start, right? I mean, you kind of took off, so what would you attribute to the start you have? Would you attribute it to your sports background, discipline, would you attribute to luck? What would you attribute it to?

Scott Blake 5:47 

Well, I think, I think that's a good question. There's a few aspects to it. Number one is as a former athlete, you hate to lose, right. And if you hate to lose, you're always willing to work your butt off to ensure you win. So work ethic has never been an issue for me. I've always been willing to do what's necessary. Even when I swam, I would argue the things that held me back weren't necessarily my training. It was more just natural talent, which I think in athletics, we all get to this point where there's always someone more talented, in my case, people like Michael Phelps. But probably beyond that, we work in the relationship business. I tell every client when I start working with them this is about trust, this is about relationships, this is about making sure you want to see the space for the next 30 to 40 years of your life. And something I did take positively out of politics was that to was the relationship business. And if you're not cultivating and building those relationships, you're not gonna have the trust that's necessary to help clients take action, or help them make the choices necessary to be successful. So I think relationship building has always been a strength of mine. And that was a key part of me having a fast start. But it's also about having great mentors who guide you in the right direction. In my case, it was people like Bob Roche, who was people like TJ Cannon in our office, who's a former President, of environment NAIFA, longest chapter, just pointing me in the right direction so that we can be successful.

Suzanne Carawan 7:32 

Yeah, how did you do? I mean, what was your kind of ramp time? Look for people out there who, because we need to bring more people into the business. And we'd love career changers. So what was your kind of ramp time between saying, Yeah, okay, I'm interested in hearing what this career could look like. And you actually feeling like, I made it and maybe what was your point to say that was a success point?

Scott Blake 7:52 

Yeah. So my last role on a political campaign was I was the political director for the former governor of Ohio, John Kasich, who ran for president 2016. And when you start out a presidential campaign, the goal is to win and you're envisioning this light later. And that was really the culmination of my decade with him. I ran the New York primary for us in April of 2016. And one of the people they sent me to New York with was a colleague of the governors who happened to be an advisor with Raymond James. And it was a former staffer for Reagan, very connected and visual. And I watched him be able to come in, runs his practice successfully, but come in, and be so helpful over a week's worth of time and then get back on the plane, go back with his beautiful family and his successful practice and go back to doing his life. And I remember that was my first kind of moment watching him. Wow, this guy gets to do all the fun political stuff. But he also gets to help people positively run a successful business on the other hand, and he became a mentor to me as I was starting out, and once I had the offer, through Northwestern Mutual to enter this career, I went to lunch with him and I wanted to get his thoughts. As a successful advisor, someone who's working with a small number of affluent clients. And he told me, you have to think of the next three years of your life as you're entering medical residency. You're going to be overworked and underpaid. He said, but at the end of that three years, you're going to go into private practice. And you're gonna do it without a quarter to a half million dollars of medical school debt. Right. Right.

Suzanne Carawan 9:57 

Yeah, good analogy.

Scott Blake 9:59 

I reminded myself of that every day, in my early weeks in the business, when it was hard when you're getting told no by someone, I mean, I was blessed with a large national network, which not everyone has. But I remind myself of that all the time because that's what I think you have to look at the first couple of years of apps. And then when you come out that other end, everything this gentleman told me, it was true. And it gets easier to that point, you have a book of business that now you're looking to build and trying to just create. And I think that's something that I share with young advisors all the time is just the lessons of entering this field.

Chris Gandy 10:49 

Scott, share with us a little bit about how important culture was for you. I mean, as a former athlete, you mentioned a couple of unique opportunities that, given the fact that you have an athletic background, right, you have a different perspective. So share with us a little bit about why, as an athlete, what were some of the things you took from being an athlete and used in our field that's helped you or guided you along the way?

Scott Blake 11:23 

Yeah, again, I think it's a lot of my story is this dichotomy between athletics which brought me to Ohio, and then my career in the political realm and how they balance each other out. I think, for any successful athletic team, culture is vital. And there has to be positivity, there has to be, obviously teamwork, there has to be an open door culture where people are there for each other. And that's something that I always experienced at Ohio State. Ohio State is obviously the largest athletic department in the country, there are a massive amount of resources. And I think that positivity was something I've thrived on. You buttress that against politics, we've spent the next 10 years of my life in. And, again, you do what's necessary to win. But the things you need to do to win, aren't always the most savory or the most enjoyable, right? Sometimes can bring out the worst in people. And I think I'm open about the fact that I've been exhibited that. And one of the reasons I took a step back, after 2016 campaign was that I wanted to get back to something that brought out the best in me, rather than bring up the worst in me, which might be very effective. But that doesn't mean it's right. And I think, you know, that's what I found at Northwestern Mutual. And at my office, here in Columbus, which is an open-door culture, people who want to see you every morning, people who are there to help you if you need it. But then most of all, I think, is the clients, the ability to look somebody in the eye on Zoom or in person and get to be their cheerleader and get to celebrate the wins, and get to be the shoulder to cry on when things are difficult. And I think that's the coolest thing about our career, is that if you've built that trust, you're the first phone call that the person makes when something changes, and I lose a job when they get a promotion, when they get married, when they buy a house, they have a kid, I had a call five minutes ago before I hopped on this zoom from a client calling to tell me that they're getting married. I'm pretty sure I came after, right after my parent's close family and then their financial guy. So, I take that responsibility really seriously. But from a cultural standpoint, I think that's the thing I enjoyed the most. And then it becomes contagious in a financial services office when everyone is living by those values.

Suzanne Carawan 14:14 

So that's interesting. I didn't know that about you. Because I actually left software as an entire industry. And specifically in startups because I felt the same way. Like it was just that I was very effective. But it was like draining my soul. I needed something that was more fulfilling. And I find that what you're saying about clients with our NAIFA's members, because the NAIFA's members, by and large, are all positive, right? They want to celebrate wins. They need somebody else to celebrate their wins with them. And it's great to kind of it . Yeah, and it makes you feel good. It's infectious. And I love that you use that term, because it's that opportunity begets you know, the activity begets opportunity, but it's that positive, that consistency of being positive. I think that we see our neighbor members that were they're all successful. That's what they have in common. It's really a positive outlook that is infectious. And I think that's why everybody likes to get together so much that camaraderie is about, all of you are competitive, but you're not competitive with each other. And it's interesting, it's an interesting culture NAIFA that we have there from that perspective, given the level of people we have who are competitive, and it could go south, but it doesn't. Everybody's really there for each other. It's interesting.

Scott Blake 15:30 

Yeah. And I think I am awful about celebrating myself, in my practice, like, I'm very bad because I'm always on to...

Suzanne Carawan 15:43 

The next thing.

Scott Blake 15:46 

Yeah, and I do think that was one of the special things for me at the National Leadership Conference last year with 440. That night, my Managing Partner nominated me for that, that's not something I normally would have thought of. And I think it was something I was able to celebrate with my team and, as an accomplishment for all of us. And I think that something that Nathan does really well is, make sure we're putting an exclamation point in advisors' lives when it's appropriate or necessary.

Suzanne Carawan 16:17 

Well, I'll tell you, from a marketing perspective, the vast majority of people are, you really shouldn't be your own best cheerleader. Like, if you're marketing yourself, and you're really pushing your own brand, and nobody else is doing it usually doesn't come off. So great, like you know who those people are. But it's the other people around you. So you need some other platforms around you to really celebrate you. And that's the real brand. And the trails from it, right? Are people like, wow, we need to know this person, it's when somebody else celebrates you and points that out.

Chris Gandy 16:48 

So, Scott, share with us a little bit about kind of your vision for the business, financial services, like you said, You came from a political world, but financial services is unique. platform, right? Tell us what you learned growing up as a young man like, what did you learn about finance or financial advisory work? Right? And then how are you taking that and expanding it and making it really your own?

Scott Blake 17:18 

Yeah, so I think this is a fascinating topic. And I tell clients this often that being good at financial planning and being good with money is usually a genetically inherited trait. If someone has positive interactions with money when they are young, that usually means they're going to care about those things as well. And I was one of those people that had access to understanding what our industry does early, I remember going with my parents to see their advisor, I think, at the time was with Merrill Lynch, a typical wire house and I got to watch those interactions, watch those relationships evolve over the course of decades, both positive and the times, and my parents were frustrated when the portfolio wasn't doing as well. So I had a lot of interaction with that early. And then I became a client of Northwestern Mutual because my boss and politics was a client. And he said you need to go talk to the sky and start saving money. And I looked him in the eye, like, what are you talking about saving money, you're paying me like $30,000 a year, is like 2008. And but my advisor took me on and helped me put money into a Roth IRA and my income went up and up and up, and I got to see that relationship evolve. And that relationship was so positive for me that that's what made me open to having interviews with the industry in the first place. Our practice today, I think my story is what I want our practice to operate from a value structure. I believe every single person deserves a financial plan. I know you talk to advisors like, well, I only work with ultra-high net worth individuals, or I only work with doctors. In my opinion, I don't find that compelling. Frankly, I think we have such a challenge in this country with not enough people having financial security or being on track for retirement. We're running businesses here, but this is about helping people plan and prepare, and if the person is invested, and they care, and they want the relationship. I don't care whether the person makes $500,000 or the person makes $50,000. So our practice, Blake Wealth Partners, we’re under the Northwestern Mutual umbrella. But we talk about our focus being modern wealth management for the moment. I want to work with Millennials. I am not as attracted to working with the 60-year-old. Now we do. But I find it really inspiring to work with a person between 30 and 45, where the cake is not even in the oven yet, right? There's changes you can make, they're going to really impact that person's life. And those are the cases that get me most excited because I know if this client listens to me and takes my advice and builds a relationship with me, I'm going to change that person's life. So, I'm a big believer in trying to live a life bigger than oneself. It can't only be about the money, it can't only be about the new client acquisition, it can't be about the premium or the AUM. What are you doing to impact people's lives. And that's why we always come back to this concept of don't just like my advisor took me on when I was 23 year old making no money. If the person cares, and is engaged in the process, we as advisors should be bogged down.

Chris Gandy 19:07 

When you look back, Scott, and you say challenges, what would you say your biggest challenge was in the business so far? So you've been in the business? How many years?

Scott Blake 21:34 

Have been in the business eight years?

Chris Gandy 21:37 

Okay, so in within those eight years, what would you say was your single largest challenge so far?

Scott Blake 21:45 

I think that to number one, like so many advisors, making smart decisions from a staffing process. I have an amazing team with me right now. But this is the third or fourth stamping iteration that I've been through. And my team members have been with me now for two and a half to three years. So we have longevity. And it's going great, but I had to learn that lesson the hard way. I had hired a lot of people in politics before, so it wasn't my first time doing it. But I think understanding is a different type of hire. I think coming from politics, you just expect people to always have just absurd work ethics, because they're getting paid no money, and they're working for a candidate just because they believe in the person. And then going into a business, small business setting where the compensation and things like that become more important. So I think that's a challenge. But I think part of my biggest challenge was being willing to lean in to read marketing myself as Scott Blake, financial planner, and not Scott Blake political hack. And I think every free chamber has struggled with that, right? Because it's so much of your identity. People probably knew me for two things prior to this group. They knew me that I was Scott Blake from Florida who swam. And I was Scott Blake, political guy for John Kasich. Those were the two things and then to go start working in your warm market as a financial planner, going, don't think of me as those things anymore. Think of me as this. And it took me, you know, a long time to craft my story appropriately to explain to people why I made the choices I made, why I left one career and went to another because people like to put you in a box. I was at the stage where you go to the lobby. That's what I was meant to do. I mean, I had a mentor telling me, aren't you old for this. I'm sure we'll all further career changes. And hearing that, like one weekend to the industry is tough, tough to hear. But I think it's the best advice I didn't take. Because sometimes you need to go a different direction. Look outside the box, because most people will only see you through their own prism.

Chris Gandy 24:36 

Interesting. You've got an interesting past. But you can't drive. You can't drive forward looking backwards. So let's talk about the future. Right. So what is the Scott Blake? What does your practice look like five years from today, if you could paint a picture, what does it look like from today and what do you need to do to be able to develop into that person, those are two different things, right? Because we can want it all we want. But at the end of the day, we don't develop, we don't look inward. Michael Dell said it best was just kind of an interesting quote: you have to think like a big company before you become one. So that concept has always led me down a path of okay, I have to create something bigger than where I'm at to get to where I want to go. But it's your story. We'd like to hear from you. Everyone out there NAIFA Nation, is listening. Scott, where are you going? What are you trying to build? And then what do you need to do to develop to become that leader of that opportunity?

Scott Blake 25:41 

Yeah, I think of it in scope and scale. So in scope, through COVID, our practice grew dramatically. And that's why we're in 40 states around the country, we have a national practice and a national presence. So scope wise, in terms of size and national touch, I think we've had this great explosive growth, I think, where I want to focus more as is scale, right, always approaching it from a willingness to help as many people as possible. But really make sure that we're helping our clients we're going to need the most and holding through the next two, three years, especially with the tax reform bill sun setting, I think there's a massive opportunity to make sure we're educating people about, what the estate tax changes are gonna look like what income tax and cap gains taxes changes might look like. So I think there's a huge opportunity in terms of the scale of the clientele that we're learning. We're also trying to be more mindful of where the areas that were most affected. I live in Columbus, Ohio, which is an urban environment. And Suzanne, correct me if I'm wrong, I think the 11th largest metropolitan area in the country, so we are a big city in Columbus, Ohio. But our best most effective work is with clients really, on the coasts, it's Washington, California, Boston, New York, DC, Miami, that's where we have a lot of traction. And I think I will continue to focus and grow in those areas. Like I said, I have an MBA in finance. So I've leaned on that a ton. In the early stage of my career. This year, we'll finish our CLU and CHFC. So I'm excited that I have a team member, in my practice, who's going to pass the CFP. So really adding a lot of designation support, which the clientele was looking for more and more and working with our partners at the American College to make sure we get that done. And I think five years from now, what you'll see in our practice is a lot more focus on those target markets where we've had a lot of success, and growing that scale of clientele that we're talking to.

Suzanne Carawan 28:13 

So, one thing I want to ask you, Scott, because this is kind of interesting, we do a lot of work at NAIFA in long-term care, and talking about multigenerational planning. So most of the advisors are trying to almost go top down, right, they're coming in through their baby boomer clients trying to get down into the Millennials. Are you finding if you're working with Millennials, so you're starting to? Are you actually going up through them? And that's really interesting. I don't think a lot of people are thinking about that.

Scott Blake 28:39 

Absolutely. I mean, because our tagline is modern wealth management. So, that motivated piece, I think, is the keyword there. Because if I'm working with a millennial who's living in New York, say making, 200 $220,000 a year, I want that person to have the courage to talk to mom and dad.

Suzanne Carawan 29:03 

Makes perfect sense. But you just don't hear a lot of people talking about right coming, almost grassroots up to talk about their parents and saying, Hey, what's happening here? How do we have that conversation? But yeah.

Scott Blake 29:14 

I think it's hard work, you know, right, because there are some people in my target demographic that I talked to, they're not at the maturity level to be ready to have these conversations. And that's okay. We'll be there for them when they are. But, I think, in my opinion, the millennial and I say this as an elder, millennial, myself, but the millennial generation gets a lot of grief. And I would argue very unfairly. And I tell clients this, I'm the defender of the millennial generation, because in my experience, the Millennials that I work with are good savers. The Millennials I work with are very concerned with paying down their debt and I think making sure we're able to share that story with the rest of the country, with the people in these clients, families, that's going to make them more willing stateless Mom and Dad, you got to go talk to Scott, because I need to make sure you're okay. Long term. Mom and dad got to go get a Will mom and dad get long-term care insurance. Are you moving in with me when you're eight? No asking those questions because they affect our clients, financial futures.

Suzanne Carawan 30:30 

Right, right. Yeah. So how are you prospecting? How are you getting all these clients on these coasts sitting here in the Midwest?

Scott Blake 30:36 

So be willing to get on their plane? I think that's number one. Right? I think you need to see people in person. But I think also being willing to be good at Zoom, frankly, and I think some people have been dismissive of the opportunities, Zoom presents, almost to a detriment. In terms of prospecting, it's all about the experience, I want the client to have a good onboarding experience with me, I want them to be able to have that, build that trust with me, before I go kick down the door and say, hey, who in your network should I be able to talk to. And usually, the referrals that we get are extremely teed up, we get referrals that are extremely ready to sit down and have a financial planning conversation, not somebody who hears from Scott Lake and does not know who I am. So, I want to create a close circle amongst my clients and prospects, where if somebody thinks I'm the right fit to talk to their friend, I don't want you to put me on an email, I want you to tell them that I might give them a call. But usually, I think leveraging just if they're working in a modern workforce, workplace, they understand email, they check their email, minute by minute, and me getting on an email with that prospect. And my client usually yields amazing success in getting that first introductory meeting scheduled with them.

Chris Gandy 32:17 

So, Scott, talked to us a little bit about delegation, and the importance of it, you know, to be able to scale and be able to do some of the things you're doing. Delegation is key, right? I kind of grew up in the NFL world, my first six years. And I remember they talked about the 40, and the 60. And having fun doing, and I remember I said, Okay, wait a minute, I can't do this all by myself, right? And so long before you knew it is like, hey, you got to hire somebody, I got to hire somebody else, right? But you got to understand. You got to let go to grow. Right? And, Joe, we get in our own way, sometimes, because we think we know it all. And we're the best doing what we do. But at the end of the day, we might have the best and other things. So share with us a little bit about your technique for delegation, and how you go about delegating the items that need to get done, but they don't just need to get done by you.

Scott Blake 33:15 

Yeah, so I think first things first, I'm not the most tech-savvy person in the world, I've kind of failed that kind of millennial checkmark, where I'm not great with technology. So I specifically make sure that the team members I brought on are true problem solvers. So, two of the guys on my team are Zack Green, and Matt Synovia. Both are NAIFA members. So get your staff signed up for NAIFA as well. Zach handles all of our investment operations. And that handles all of our insurance operations. And having those two silos while they each understand each other's jobs, I think is critical because it allows them to own a specific part of the practice. So we do a lot of delegation through the use of a CRM system. We give tasks to different team members, there's a task the other team member has to do we reassign it back. So Northwestern Mutual gives us a lot of great technology that allows us to leverage it. And I think for me, it was the understanding during COVID When we were not all together, that the only way something was gonna get done was I had to use the technology to assign them the task, and then trust it was going to happen. Because when we were all in the office before, I think that kind of was that advisor who was always walking up to their cubicle going, how's this going? How's that going, kind of very lumbered from office space. So I think COVID In some ways was a real opportunity for me to grow as a manager, and make sure that I was okay with passing off tasks and passing off client interaction when it wasn't appropriate for me to be involved in that role overcome, or be involved in that follow up question on insurance, underwriting, and be willing to give that to my team. And I think COVID pushed me over the cliff there to make sure I can take that leap.

Chris Gandy 35:32 

Cool, so COVID helped you grow? Interesting.

Scott Blake 35:35 

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Chris Gandy 35:38 

So last couple of questions here. So Scott, speaking coming out of COVID. So you would have started, didn't really ramp up right before COVID? In COVID, hit, right. So what did you do during COVID? Call it the first 90 days, what did you do? How did you do it? What was kind of the mindset, once you got kind of knocked down because everybody got knocked down at the same time, right. But you had a business to run and you had clients that you had committed to? So what did you do kind of first? That how did you guys get to come out of it with some momentum? Because of the opportunity?

Scott Blake 36:22 

Yeah, so I think a few things. Thinking back to that time. My wife and I, I'm married two kids, we were building a house at the time. And we had sold our houses sold to pass. And we had to spend the dreaded couple of weeks with the in-laws while the house was finished being constructed. And during that time, COVID happens. So my COVID experience was in the unfinished basement of my in-laws, the first couple of weeks, watching Tiger King doing the thing, Washington last dance, doing the things that everyone else was doing. But it wasn't really our space. So me being able to go and focus on my business was actually a bit of an escape while we were all locked down together. And what I thought about a lot during that time was what do our clients need from us now? They need to hear that it's going to be okay. So I spent a lot of time over communicating with clients, calling my clients, hey, how are you doing? Now calling with an agenda and a calling with a sale, calling and saying How are you doing? And then making sure that our team was getting tons of information that Northwestern was very helpful producing about the market, about his how history has judged this time period before, and making sure that clients had over communication from us. So they knew that someone had their hands on the wheel. And then building off that after we got through the first few weeks was, as I'm having these regular conversations, like checking clients more than ever before, making sure I was bringing up, hey, anybody else in your network who has some real concerns around their 401k or concerns around their retirement, understanding what's going on. And out of that came a lot of you got to talk to my friend, Joe, or you got to talk to my friend. And those calls usually started off with that same historical analysis and saying the siren song of these moments is when people go, this has never happened before. Because there's always a historical trend, and educating them on that to give them confidence that this too shall pass.

Suzanne Carawan 38:59 

No crisis, we get the biggest opportunities, right. Don't let a good crisis go to waste as we...

Scott Blake 39:06 

Thank you Rahm Emanuel.

Suzanne Carawan 39:07 

Yeah, that's right. Yeah.

Chris Gandy 39:08 

That's right. So all right. Well, Scott, I think we're coming towards the end of our time. Do you have anything before we go to Speed Round? Suzanne, do you have anything else that you would like to ask Scott?

Suzanne Carawan 39:27 

Yeah, just say, Scott, do you want to give a kind of a plug for what it means? What that meant for you to be a 4 Under 40 winner. And then also kind of the, you know, I got the I had the opportunity to kind of see you in action at the congressional conference and shepherding in a whole kind of new group of people. So if you want to talk a little bit about that, too, I think that would help everybody out there.

Scott Blake 39:50 

Yeah, again, I came up through NAIFA Because of Bob Roach. You know, Bob is a Lifetime Achievement Award. leader winner in the past, big believer in life a path, big believer in advocacy. And he was always the advisor in our office here in Columbus who was super connected to the political environment, close relationships with people like Pat teaberry. And John Kasich, you know, that was really huge for our industry over the course of the last 40 years or so mom was a leader. And that's why when he told me, I need to join, I did it immediately. And I think NAIFA the recognition is great, and I'm so honored to have gotten the 4 Under 40 award, I think, clients were, had so many questions about were super excited for us in our practice, to know that they were working with top advisors, so that was huge for me, but for me, NAIFA's, about having a voice. Because that's what advocacy is, and I told the younger version or office, you have two options, you can choose to be apathetic and not pay attention. And then be really mad when DC or your state capitol screws your business, or you can choose to be engaged. And that doesn't mean that they're going to do everything you want every time. But having those relationships, having that voice allows you to make sure you're protecting your clients interest and your own business interest. And I think that is one of the special parts of NAIFA. That the community and all that support, but the advocacy piece. There's some big things coming up. I tell these guys in my office prior to the point where they're tired of hearing it, but it's, or you fight for your clients, when they talk about, are they going to tax the cumulative value and life insurance in two and a half years? Because you know, what's going to come up? Are you going to be able to be knowledgeable about the estate tax exemption, and what happens when that actual foreign Bill sunsets. I mean, these are their huge opportunities for advisors to educate clients on but they're also integral to us, holding up to the promise we make to a client when we start working with them, or when we help them get set up with their first account. So I'm extremely passionate about NAIFA's from an advocacy function. I think that's also in our chapter here in Columbus, where we've seen the most growth and opportunities, new advisors coming in, because they want to be a part of that advocacy mission. And they want to make sure that their voice is heard and in our state capitol and in Washington.

Chris Gandy 42:52 

Awesome. Good job, Scott. I would think you're a baseball player, you hit it out of the park for good. Suzanne, do you have anything else before we go speed round with Scott.

Suzanne Carawan 43:05 

That's it. It's time for the speed round.

Chris Gandy 43:07 

All right, Scott. So we're gonna take you through we call the speed round. I know it's not we don't have sound effects and all the fancy glittery lights, but it's okay. The objective behind this is people may know Scott, as the advisor, we want to get to know Scott as the person. Okay. So I'm not going to ask you anything crazy. There's no gotcha questions here. It's just simply whatever comes to mind share with us and Nathan nation. We want to know about you. Okay, so, pretty, pretty easy, right? So you're in the state of Ohio, right?

Scott Blake 43:43

I am indeed.

Chris Gandy 43:44 

Okay, the Ohio State Buckeyes, or the Michigan Wolverines.

Scott Blake 43:50 

The Ohio State bucket. Listen, they help pay for my college tuition.

Suzanne Carawan 43:59 

You get ejected from the state.

Chris Gandy 44:03 

Like, Scott, see how easy that was? Okay. All right. So, Scott, favorite place that you visited because of this business? Whether it's from a conference or something you qualified for.

Scott Blake 44:19 

We have a great set of clients in Boston. I love going to Boston and spending time with them taking them out to dinner in the north end. I also might my family's from Connecticut. There's New England in my blood, even though I live in the Midwest. So I've really enjoyed going up to Boston and seeing clients there.

Chris Gandy 44:41 

One of the really coolest things you got to experience in politics.

Scott Blake 44:52 

Election night in New Hampshire and 2016 the energy of we finished second in New Haven For behind the ventral orange nominee. And there's a ton of energy we were surprised finish to finish ahead of some of the other candidates just that, it's a special place politically to be in New Hampshire during primary season.

Chris Gandy 45:18 

Okay, good. Um, your favorite food it's any specific dish.

Scott Blake 45:28 

No specific dish, the whole the whole thing. If you could train if you can transport me to Florence, Tuscany right now with my wife, I'd be happy.

Chris Gandy 45:40 

Got it? The thing that you would say that, Pete how people would identify you if people said, you know, if they can give you one word and say this guy, what would they say?

Scott Blake 45:51 

Well, Chris, you and I have this in common. I'm about six, five and three quarters. So usually the first thing they say when they meet me, if they've only interacted with Zoom is Wow, you're a lot taller than I thought you were.

Chris Gandy 46:04 

It's good. You can go back in history and have dinner with anyone whether living or they've passed in history. Doesn't matter who it is, who would it be and why?

Scott Blake 46:19 

Good. I'm proud to say George Washington near when he exited office as President, I think to be the leader of a country for the first time and be willing to actors that Cincinnatus give up power, I think it makes for a very interesting conversation.

Chris Gandy 46:41 

Okay, if you could go back and a finishes listening, especially our young advisors that are aspiring to be the next Scott Blake, if you can go back and give yourself when you first your first day in the business advice? What is the one word of advice or one key advice that you would give to yourself?

Scott Blake 47:04 

Prospect more in your warm market?

Chris Gandy 47:08 

Prospect more in your warm market? Why do you say that?

Scott Blake 47:11 

I think just until you get past that phase, you look back, you know, oh my god, what opportunities did I possibly miss by not focusing on that enough? I think for a lot of advisors, that's the best thing you've ever younger guys are starting out because most of us veterans had this amazing warm market. I really shouldn't just ask for another introduction when I met with this person.

Chris Gandy 47:36 

Right. Guy, you close it out closed mouths don't get fed. That's what we work with these sayings, and that's one of those sayings is that? So Scott, we appreciate you. We appreciate you being a NAIFA. Member, we appreciate all you've done and given us guidance in the political space, obviously, because you walked in those shoes, I think you can give us a different perspective, from those who are just in awe that what I call the business of politics, right, because there's that side of it, which I got to see in Washington for the first side was so with no further ado, Scott, do you have anything else you want to share with NAIFA Nation? Any points? Any final thoughts?

Scott Blake 48:17 

No, I think I think we've covered it all. I'm just extremely proud to be a member of NAIFA and the leadership here in the Columbus chapter and I look forward to continuing to help advance our causes nationwide.

Chris Gandy 48:31 

Awesome. Suzanne, do you have anything else before I close this out?

Suzanne Carawan 48:36 

I would just say that I'm sure that Scott is going to be in-district meetings coming up in August. So be find your Scott Blake in your chapter and get involved in districts. And then we'll see you back in December, as we talked about on the hill. And with that, Chris? Yeah, thanks, everybody.

Chris Gandy 48:51 

So thanks, everyone, NAIFA nation where we're so happy to have our guests today. Scott Blake four under 40 I mean, that's amazing. That's an amazing task. All of you out there who don't know what that is. Reach out to your local or your state and or your national affiliate, and get involved. One of the things you heard about from Scott today is about being a leader right and in leading from the front you to hear anything he talked about today was from the back and you have to be willing to lead to be able to volunteer and you gotta do it with passion and desire. So Scott, thanks Suzanne. Thanks. Thanks to all of you and NAIFA nation where we come together here on Advisor Today podcast for the betterment of everyone out there for us in our industry. As a family. We'll see you NAIFA nation next time. Thank you.

Outro 49:43 

Thanks for joining us for NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series. Make sure to subscribe to get future episodes and if you're interested in coming on the show, let us know.



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