When Joni Schultz interviewed for the sales assistant position Andrew Burish was looking to fill, she just had one question: Why had he gone through seven sales assistants in the past two years?
“He said, ‘Because there's a lot of work to do,’” recalls Schultz with a laugh. That was 16 years ago, and Schultz has made a lasting impression ever since. “Our team wouldn't be where it is today without her,” says Burish.
Indeed, the team that started out as Burish and Schultz now comprises eight other brokers, six other sales assistants, 10 interns, three analysts, one marketing specialist and a business manager — six of whom Schultz hired, trained and now supervises. Together they serve more than 1,800 clients, and manage $1 billion in assets.
As head of the client services department, the 55-year old Schultz says she can typically answer any question that isn't related directly to investment advice — those she defers to Burish. She doesn't have a Series 7, and says because several others on the team have the license, it has become less of a priority for her now. Besides, she'd rather talk to clients and sort out their problems than place trades. For example, one elderly client that just passed away began coming in regularly to get his estate in order.“ He had assets in mutual funds, at various banks, all over the place,” she says. “We had to figure out the best way to consolidate it, and then go from there.” Burish says the client became a fixture at Schultz's desk. She sorted it all out before he passed away, and the team is proud to now be taking care of his children's financial needs.
Schultz admits to turning on the office lights, starting the coffee and sitting down to work several hours before the sun rises. “Andy's not calling my name, the phones aren't ringing, there aren't any distractions,” she says. Because of her atypical hours, she splits her time between the city (Monday through Thursday), where she lives either with her children or her ailing grandmother, and her home in Virocqua, two hours away, where she takes long weekends with her retired husband. “I'm not ready, these are my prime money-making years,” she says. “And this is still fun!”