Challenges that take you out of your comfort zone are opportunities for growth.
Joel Chery is a native New Yorker, born in Brooklyn after his family migrated to the U.S. from Haiti. The family was very close as they lived in a one bedroom apartment in East Flatbush. As things became more difficult in Brooklyn, the family moved to Northern Worcester County in Massachusetts when he was still in elementary school. The family placed a big emphasis on education and the ability it had to enrich lives. Taking that advice to heart, Joel attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he studied Biology and Biotechnology.
It seems that some things are just meant to be. For Joel Chery, his first opportunity in the financial services industry came while he was still in school in Worcester. He was working in sales at an electronics store when he had the opportunity to meet a financial advisor. They developed a relationship which over time, led to an internship with American Express Financial Advisors. That was only the beginning of Joel’s life in the financial industry.
Joel Chery is currently a Senior Vice President, Complex Manager with Wells Fargo Advisors, a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC., Member SIPC. In his capacity as Complex Manager, Mr. Chery helps guides the firm’s financial advisors in providing the most appropriate products and services for each individual client.
As an avid believer in living a healthy lifestyle, Joel boxes, weight trains, runs, and hikes. He also is currently teaching himself to play the guitar and the piano. In addition, Joel Chery is a philanthropist and is involved with the Good Sports of Boston and the Nativity School of Worcester, Massachusetts.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
When I was at my previous firm, I was ready to take my career to the next level and was considering new options. There was an opening for a brand new role at Wells Fargo Advisors in Boston. My experience and background matched well with the requirements of the position. I felt this could be an opportunity to build something from the ground up while being part of a premier organization. I felt that it would be a place where I could continue to grow and develop while having an impact. I was thrilled when they offered me the position. It also provided me with a location that brought me back to family and friends.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
There is nothing typical about my day. There are a lot of moving parts. I work with a group of talented advisors serving the needs of clients all over the country. Those requirements often overlap with what I am doing on a day to day basis. The ideal day would be spending time with the advisors to try to develop strategies to help clients reach their investment goals. A typical day is a day of running interference. There are things that I try to accomplish and those of our advisors. It is always interesting, but never typical.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I would say that bringing ideas to life is the hardest part of the job. After you have the idea, it is putting together a strategy which is probably 10% of the process. Getting advisors to believe in it and buy into it is the hardest part. My approach is to try to paint the vision. I have to let my people know what we are trying to accomplish and why we believe it is important. I have to lay out the steps to help them get there. Then I can get their input. Leading with authority is not always effective or even realistic. I often get better results and outcomes when I try to lead with influence. When I get input from the people that I trust, I believe I am better able to develop a sound strategy and advisors are more likely to believe in what we are doing.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One of the trends that really excites me is the ease of connectivity. Wells Fargo Advisors offers a variety of communication tools. It is not just phone calls, mail, and email. Video conferencing is also becoming more mainstream, as is the use of social media. I really enjoy the multiple ways of interacting available to us. We can express ourselves in so many ways.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I would say one habit that makes me productive is that I write down my goals daily. It is just a friendly reminder of why I do what I do every day. It gives me a nice little boost for the day and makes me more productive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice I would give the younger Joel Chery would be in two different stages. I would tell my high school/ college self not to be afraid to be authentic. I often felt as though I my humble beginnings placed me at a disadvantage. I’ve ultimately found that my successes came from me just being myself and having a unique perspective. I would say to trust your instincts. I would tell my young professional self not to be afraid to make mistakes or have failures. People that don’t make mistakes or experience failure are not challenging themselves to do more, in my opinion.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I would have to say that what I believe to be true is that getting things done can sometimes be better than getting things perfect. Some things will require perfection and should get that, but not everything can be perfect every time. I think we all tend to forget that we are a work in progress.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
There are two things that I do that I would recommend. First, it is to work out. Our bodies and minds crave physical movement. Especially if you want to perform at a high level. The other thing is to revisit your goals every day to keep you focused and motivated.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One of the strategies I have is my focus on strong communication. There are a lot of people with good ideas but if you can’t communicate them with clarity, you may as well not have them. I learned that the better I could communicate, the better I become at getting others to join me in getting things done and bringing ideas to life.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There were many things that I struggled with during my career. But I took the struggles as a learning opportunity. It helped me become a better leader and a better person. Challenges that take you out of your comfort zone are opportunities for growth.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I wish every car had a carbon monoxide sensor. When carbon monoxide reached a certain level, the vehicle would give some sort of alert and ask for a response. If there was no response in 5 seconds the car would shut off. I think this could save lives.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent would be on gifts for my nephews and nieces. There isn’t much that makes me happier than how excited they get for very simple things. Easily the best money I’ve spent.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
My email and calendar application is everything to me. It is essential and portable. It keeps my tasks up to date. It keeps me informed. It keeps my appointments and it shares essential tasks with everyone.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. It teaches you how to interact well with people. It shows how things are better accomplished when you work well with others.
What is your favorite quote?
“The will to win is only superseded by the will to prepare to win,” by Vince Lombardi.
• Challenges that take you out of your comfort zone are opportunities for growth.
• Our bodies and minds crave physical movement.
• The better one communicates the better able they are to lead others towards getting things done.
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.