When it comes to careers, sometimes we have to realize what we don’t want before we can find what we do want. That was Nick’s experience after he graduated from Hillsdale College as a Financial Management major and got his first job with a finance firm in Ann Arbor.

Nick found himself in an“every man for himself” environment, where he felt like he could never fully collaborate with his coworkers. With the encouragement of former college teammate and roommate, and TFO Wealth Partners team member Tad Sobieszczanski, Nick sent his resume to TFO Wealth Partners.

“It was very clear, the first day I came in for an interview, that the environment was very different,” Nick says. “You can really tell people care about each other. We have a lot of very interconnected, interwoven families and friendships that have kind of grown up over the years here, and that’s really been impactful for me.”

He joined TFO Wealth Partners in December 2016 as a family wealth associate, providing support to advisers on several different teams. He went on to join the investment committee and began to handle his own clients—at one point, more than 200 of them.

His responsibilities have evolved, eventually reducing client-facing work to become Director of Retirement Plan Operations on top of his other roles. This includes ensuring the functionality of TFO Wealth Partners’ processes and systems, and serving as a liaison between the individual wealth management and the retirement sides of the business as well. He is also the interim chair of the investment committee.

In six years at TFO Wealth Partners, Nick has seen a lot of positive changes at TFO Wealth Partners. The number of employees has doubled, and the company moved into a new building. What was once primarily an investment management business has expanded into a “holistic” family planning practice.

“Our motto is ‘Helping families be families,’” Nick says. “Over six years, I’ve really seen us embrace that more and more each year—putting different practices into place, different tools that we’ve created, to really put us in a position to do that exceptionally well.”

Growth and change are not always easy, but an attitude of teamwork has helped TFO Wealth Partners weather past challenges. For example, when the previous investment committee chair departed, the rest of the team was able to come together and pick up the responsibilities to help minimize disruption.

“It’s a very collaborative environment, and we have a really good team structure and good people that we can rely on when we are going through those growing pains,” Nick says. “There’s kind of an attitude where, if somebody figures out a better way to do something, everybody’s willing to learn how to do that with them, regardless of if you’ve been here for a day or 10 years.”

He notes that anyone interested in a career in finance should look for that kind of attitude in their workplace. Team members should feel supported, rather than pressured to compete with colleagues for new opportunities.

“In terms of working for TFO Wealth Partners, come in with an open mind, willing to do kind of outside-the-box things and whatever’s asked of you, but also eager to learn and eager to improve the company,” Nick says. “Be willing to work hard, but to be rewarded for that, and to jump on opportunities that are put in front of you.”

Nick Sponseller
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