Plowing the driveways of elderly neighbors after a snowstorm; volunteering at a homeless shelter; serving people food; mentoring a recovering drug addict; coaching a youth basketball league; hosting a men's support group; cutting up and clearing fallen trees in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina — Joe Callahan, principal of Cincinnati-based Callahan & Associates, calls them his “angel activities.” He doesn't use the phrase often. It just slips out. And he clearly doesn't think what he does is a big deal, perhaps because he's been doing it since he was a child.
Callahan's father died when he was 4, but his mother was able to raise him and his three sisters with middle-class comforts. To remind her children how blessed they were the entire family worked at a homeless shelter every Wednesday. “I got a sense of service early on,” he says.
Callahan likes to work both with large groups and with individuals, one-on-one. For the past five years, he and his staff have set up a grill every other Thursday at the Drop Inn Center, Cincinnati's largest homeless shelter, where they serve as many as 250 people hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwursts, potato chips and soda.
He also acts as a “big brother,” mentoring a man at the City Gospel Mission in downtown Cincinnati whose father committed suicide in front of him when he was a boy. “That was his wound in life, and he never felt worthy, never felt he could measure up and he turned to drugs and alcohol and got in trouble with the law.”
Callahan says he vowed to “walk through life with him” and talk candidly to the man about the need to respect himself, be a solid citizen, behave generously and respect women. “Over the years the transformation has been amazing,” Callahan says. “You can see his natural gifts coming out and how he's becoming a healthier individual. On May 1 we're running a marathon together to raise funds for the hungry.”
Callahan's straight-shooting approach has not gone unnoticed. Cincinnati attorney Jim Singler says he has referred clients to Callahan who are recovering substance abusers and need financial advice. “Joe is very sensitive to that situation,” Singler says. “He handles it well, and is very matter-of-fact and no nonsense.”
Callahan claims he's actually quite selfish. “I get off on [helping people]. It's kind of cool to see people's faces light up when they realize there can be change for the better.”See all of Registered Rep.'s Altruism Award Winners" class="old-inline-image">
Firm: Callahan & Associates, LPL Financial
City: Cincinnati, Ohio.
Years as a rep: 24
Years with current firm: 5
AUM: $85 million
Product mix: managed accounts 70%; managed annuities 15%; insurance 15%
Specialty: Tactical/Active management of assets; retirement income planning; financial life planning
Designations, licenses: Certified Financial Planner; Regional Principal; Series 7, 63, 24