Monica Van Zale,
“She really, really cares about the people around her and about a job well done. She has a real enthusiasm for this business. And that attitude rubs off on everyone around her.”
— Branch Manager Dennis Kaboth, A.G. Edwards, Boulder Colo.
“Everybody wishes they could have somebody as efficient as Monica working in their office. If she doesn't have an answer for you immediately, she'll contact the home office and find the answer as soon as possible.”
— Tom Brown, CPA, Boulder, Colo
Monica Van Zale is an information junkie. She just can't get enough. During morning commutes to the A.G. Edwards branch office in Boulder, Colo., she straps on a set of headphones and listens to professional-development audiotapes. On lunch hours, this senior registered sales assistant checks out videos available from the A.G. Edwards University archives. And one night a week, after the market has closed and her colleagues are all home eating dinner, Van Zale is on the computer participating in an online course on mutual funds.
“She is always looking for new learning experiences,” says Kacy Beveridge, a junior sales assistant who has been training under Van Zale's guidance since February.
Operations manager Vicki Kyle agrees, “Monica has an insatiable thirst for knowledge.”
Adds Robin Morgan, an assistant in the office, “Monica is a role model for me, a real inspiration.”
Van Zale loves to share that knowledge with colleagues and clients, when appropriate. “Combine the love of learning with an absolute fascination with the stock market, and that's where my passion is,” she says. When she returns from a training session at company headquarters in St. Louis, she brings back energy that radiates throughout the branch office, her colleagues say.
“Monica is the most amazing person with whom I have ever had the pleasure of a working relationship,” raves Fred Williams, a vice president and member of the firm's Chairman's Council. Van Zale has worked with Williams since he stepped down as branch manager and back into production in June 1996.
“She is a tremendously positive influence,” Williams says.
Maybe her experience as a fourth-grade teacher in Medina, Ohio, has something to do with her passion for learning, her role as mentor, cheerleader and the resident expert on all things A.G. Edwards.
“That comes with having worked for A.G. Edwards for 11 years,” she says. Or it could have something to do with her five years of experience as a wire operator in the A.G. Edwards branch in Medina, Ohio, before she came to Colorado. Van Zale says she inherited the love of learning from her father.
Whatever the reason, that quest for knowledge has blossomed into a wisdom that benefits everyone around her.
In April, Van Zale shared her insights on the branch's project-tracking system with other team members at a team-building seminar in St. Louis. But her most meaningful influence, perhaps, is on clients.
“Monica has a very special way of treating clients and co-workers as if their problems and feelings were the most important issues in her life, despite everything else she is juggling,” says Williams.
Van Zale's personal mission statement reflects the firm's motto: Trusted Advice, Exceptional Service.
“Fred is the trusted advice, and I am the exceptional service,” she says. For example, Van Zale remembers comforting a client who was preparing for brain surgery, and the harrowing possibility that she would not survive the procedure. Van Zale handled all the paperwork. Her children had access to her account, and this client was put at ease.
“She was just so relieved,” says Van Zale.
Her advice to less-experienced sales assistants is elementary, “Learn as much as you can, look for every opportunity to grow, and be as helpful as you can,” she says. “Not just to clients, but also the brokers you work with.”