As the CEO of U.S. Money Reserve, Angela Roberts has always been motivated by creating value and opportunities for others. Overseeing every aspect of the operation, Roberts sets the culture and pace for the entire organization. Since 2015, she has served as Chief Executive Officer, although she has been with U.S. Money Reserve since 2003, having held numerous positions throughout the company.
Early in her career, Roberts was an executive at Harrell Gourmet LLC, a producer and distributor of Wagyu beef domestically and internationally. Before her work with Gourmet LLC, Roberts was part of the strategic business development team at KLA-Tencor, a leading manufacturer in the semiconductor industry. The team she led was ultimately responsible for all strategic planning and mergers and acquisition activities.
Her time in these positions earned her a proven background in business planning, strategy, due diligence, mergers, acquisitions, and operations. Perhaps her greatest recognized contribution to U.S. Money Reserve is the creation of the analytic and KPI (Key Performance Indicator) structure. As a keen expert in understanding performance through the use of analytics or reporting metrics, Roberts pioneered the KPI to guide the business. Today, thanks to Roberts’ expertise, the U.S. Money Reserve is centered on the use of real-time data and analysis.
Roberts’ best advice for aspiring business-people is to emulate success rather than leaders. Roberts considers a strong work ethic, business integrity, honesty, and a positive attitude crucial qualities to cultivate and maintain in order to succeed in the corporate world. She takes inspiration from those who make the conscious decision to choose right versus wrong every day.
By dedicating herself and believing strongly that the people make the business, Angela has positioned U.S. Money Reserve as a trusted precious metal leader that always puts their customers and employees first. As she puts it, “It is those individuals who lift others, who are selfless, and put others first are the people I respect who motivate me to keep on this path.”
Where did the idea for U.S. Money Reserve come from?
U.S. Money Reserve was founded with the mission to help individuals protect their financial futures by diversifying their paper assets with physical precious metals.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
When I wake up in the morning, I jump on my NordicTrack Skier and think through the day before as well as the day to come. I prioritize what communication needs to go out to employees and family members, as I have seven children. Usually while I am working out, I start emailing and texting these initiatives to the various groups that need them. I personally take my kids who can’t drive yet to school, as that is the best uninterrupted quality time I have with them. Once my children are dropped off, I start making calls into the office and checking up on directives that were given earlier in the day. When I arrive at the office, I walk around and assess the moods of the different departments, which sometimes requires me to stay and chat and make people laugh or just watch the great workmanship happening among our very talented employees. My whiteboard is constantly filled with opportunities to get better and finishing touches to projects currently in the works. I stay productive by being involved as much as I can with what my employees are working on—not in the weeds to be disruptive, but enough to give guidance if they ask or if it is required. Multitasking is something I believe any good employee should be able to do at any level, and every employee at our company is exceptionally good at it.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The best ideas bring the consumer and your employees together. The best part of what we have as human beings is our relationships. Sales shouldn’t just stop at the transaction; they should continue on with messaging and, in our case, philanthropic efforts. Our company is very passionate about helping others, and when doing so, we also bring the consumer in to participate. Ideas come easy when you can connect people.
As for process-oriented ideas, I’m lucky because when I see a piece of automation or customer-reach process that will make our company more successful, I know as I write it down on my whiteboard that our staff, no matter the complexity, will be able to do every aspect of the design. Not many companies can say that, and I feel blessed every day I go to work, knowing that if I can dream it, it will be done.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Every generation behaves differently as it applies to transactional behavior and how they best receive product messaging. When I started working here, we largely marketed to the Silent Generation, followed by the baby boomers. Now we are planning for my generation [Gen X] to be the one most likely making asset purchases, all the while planning for millennials, which are a completely different group of buyers. Preparing for the next generations is a challenge—one our staff enjoys.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m going to answer this from the standpoint of being the CEO of a small business: I listen to my internal instincts (gut) as equally as I look at data. It can be natural to only make decisions based on data or to be a person who feels their gut instinct is right all of the time. I make it a habit to always remember to use both. When you can look at both sides of the equation, you can see all of the objections from a different point of view and make decisions from a 360° standpoint versus a 180° one.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Take six hours of college credit a semester, even though you’re working two jobs and when you finally work one job, you will be working 12 to 14 hours a day. Find time to do it online. Don’t let the total amount of credit hours be daunting—take one little chunk at a time, and if it takes you eight years to complete, so be it. Not that you’ll need this to be successful, but it will fulfill you in a way no amount of success ever will.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Most people believe that sugarcoating messages is important, but I do not. People in your life need to know the truth of what is going on, what their performance is really like, or how you perceive their character. I personally will never get better, as a professional or person, if I’m not told where I am failing in a direct way. You can love someone and still be brutally honest with them—because you care about them.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Don’t be afraid to care about your employees. It doesn’t make you weak to tell them how much they mean to you. It doesn’t make you weak for other companies to know that you would walk through fire for the ones you love, including the 135 people who work for you. When you work somewhere long enough and take the time to listen to what people have been through in their lives, you will find that most of the love and comfort they receive is from their place of employment. When you realize that, you make it a priority to nurture your staff. Money only goes so far, but love has no limits.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Collaborate with your employees. You are their leader, but it doesn’t mean that you know more than they do as it pertains to their daily tasks. You hire people for them to grow and become skilled assets. Use them as such and don’t be offended when they surpass you in some areas. Be proud—take the best in the room and make a great company.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There was one time in my career, about 12 years ago, when the outside world and the panic within that outside world made me change the way I operate for about a week, which took a bad situation and made it even worse. I vowed never again to let any situation or crisis change the way I operate.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think that eventually somebody is going to take our need for convenience and our inherent desire to take the path of least resistance and build a platform where anyone, for a price, can have a personal assistant who runs all their errands, books their travel, and takes care of their calendars. It would be fee-based, and the more assistance one requires, the bigger the monthly fee would be. I would develop it myself if I had time—go into large communities and hire administrative assistants to manage the requests on the app and runners to do the work. With both parents working, who wouldn’t want to be able to punch orders into an app to have dry cleaning picked up, make an appointment for their son with the dermatologist, call a hair stylist and book an appointment, book travel to Disney World for the family in August, and last but not least, pick up prescriptions from Walmart? This would be all done and delivered to your front door, just like Favor or Instacart does with groceries.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Personally—donated it to somebody who needed it more than I did during the current crisis.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Well, it used to be text messaging. Short messages of inspiration or short messages of “let’s be more productive” during the day allow me to be present in many parts of an employee’s day, but our marketing team recently got me on Microsoft Teams—and I’m not going to lie, I rather like it. Our employees are spread out in over 50 different locations, if you count home offices, and during this time, we have been able to stay connected and have big wrap-up sessions using this technology.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Good to Great by Jim Collins. There is a big difference between a good company and a great company, and what it requires to get there is very little. The book shows examples of how subtle ideas—when you really think about the possibilities—are all it takes.
What is your favorite quote?
I don’t know who said it, but what I use and believe is that “each failure is the first step to your next success.”
● The best ideas are formed when you bring the consumer and your employees together. Making connections and relationships will yield the best results.
● Make it a priority to nurture your staff. Don’t be afraid to care about your employees and take the time to tell them how much you value them.
● Listen to your gut as equally as you look at the data in order to make decisions and solve problems from a greater perspective.
● Avoid sugarcoating messages. Instead, be direct with feedback about how employees can improve their performance.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.