How much does Sally Engels mean to the father-son PaineWebber team of Ken Clark Sr. and Jr.?
Simply stated: everything. "She's absolutely everything that a broker could want in a sales assistant," Ken Jr. says.
"Our branch cannot function without her," adds Ken Sr.
Engels has worked at PaineWebber's Mission Viejo, Calif., office for 15 years, most of that time in operations. The combination of her operations experience and her affable personality make her a valued sales assistant, according to the Clarks.
"You can frequently find people who are good on the operational side of the business," the elder Clark says. "Far less often can you find a good operations person with people skills. Very rarely can you find a good operations person with people skills who genuinely cares about clients. Sally is one of those very rare people."
The Clarks respected Engels so much while she was working as a cashier and later as assistant operations manager that they often tried to convince her to join their team. "If a sales assistant position opens up with us, we want you!" Ken Sr. remembers saying.
Engels was hesitant to cross the operations line, yet she liked the Clarks so much that she made the leap in 1998.
Things couldn't have worked out better for the two-Clark team, which manages $140 million in assets for 300-plus clients. Not only is Engels good with clients, she is hard-working and knowledgeable. "Sally's experience enables her to quickly address every issue that confronts us," the younger broker says. "And if she doesn't know, she knows whom to call. She has friends in every department."
With Engels' depth of training, she can step in to fill virtually any need. "Our motto is, `If you have a question, ask Sally,'" Ken Jr. says.
Even while receiving such great votes of confidence, Engels is humble. "I'm fortunate to have other SAs around with so much seasoned knowledge who are so willing to help," she says.
Perhaps Engels' most important attribute is her ability to connect with clients. The Clarks often hear her engaged in pleasant conversations about clients' children, grandchildren and vacations.
"It's heartwarming," Ken Jr. says. "She's just unbelievable with clients. She's so gracious and genuinely cares about what's happening in their lives. That cements relationships."
"Clients relate to me well," Engels says. "I enjoy giving them a helping hand, giving them comfort when they need help. I like to keep them calm and help them see their way through a situation."
She will do whatever she can to make sure a client is satisfied, no matter what time of day it is. "We had a couple closing escrow on their first home, and time was critical," Ken Sr. says. "They needed to pull their money together for the down payment. And without us even knowing, Sally wound up jumping through a lot of different hoops and driving to several banks - all after hours - to make it happen. I can't tell you how grateful that couple was. Sally is a tremendous, selfless team player."
The Clarks themselves receive Sally's signature brand of concern. "She genuinely cares about our workload and stress level," Ken Jr. says. "She's actually kicked us out of the office a few times. She does her best to minimize our workload."