PDS Planning Financial Planning Team of Jimmy, Kevin, Jillian, and Joel
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
At PDS Planning, it’s a team effort to help you achieve your financial goals. We strategically align in-house teams to work collaboratively, allowing them to draw on each other’s experience and expertise to achieve better outcomes for our clients.
In May, we featured the Financial Planning Team of Rita, Laurie and Alyssa. They shared how they live out their motto, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
Up next is the Financial Planning Team of Jimmy Rogers (Senior Financial Advisor), Kevin Doll (Senior Financial Advisor), Jillian Wendling (Paraplanner), and Joel Bleskey (Associate Paraplanner). They love a good challenge and enjoy learning from each other and collaborating to find the best solutions for their clients.
Why do you enjoy working for PDS Planning?
Jimmy – I get to work with great teammates. We believe people are the heart of PDS and, in a professional service business, this is so important. We spend a lot of time together working on important client matters, so it’s great to be part of a team I trust and respect, a team that cares about helping clients.
I also believe PDS is on the forefront of where the advisory business is going compared to where it’s been. We have certainly differentiated our firm with our very tax-driven, comprehensive wealth management services for a flat, fixed fee.
Kevin – We truly work as a team and take a genuine interest not just in our client’s lives but also in our colleagues’ lives. I enjoy working in a collaborative environment that values and actively seeks each other’s input. We each have unique talents and areas of expertise, and seeing these come together to help our clients and grow our teams’ careers is very rewarding.
Joel – Truly working as a fiduciary, the opportunities for growth and learning, and our open atmosphere. Once I knew about fee-only firms within the financial advising space, I knew I had to join one as it eliminates many conflicts of interest some businesses run into. I also know there is a lot I do not know, and I wanted to make sure I was in a place that would allow me to learn and grow within the industry. Finally, being able to comfortably have a conversation with someone who has more than 20 years of experience in the industry about an idea, a project, or just talking about what their weekend plans are is truly refreshing and something I value highly within the work environment.
Jillian – I enjoy working for PDS Planning for a variety of reasons, but the main draw for me is the people. I’ve always been a firm believer that you can’t provide exceptional service for your clients without giving that same energy and respect to the team that surrounds you. If you work just as hard to support and encourage your teammates as you would do for your clients, your clients will undoubtedly see comradery throughout all aspects. It was a previous working relationship that brought me to PDS, and it’s the carefully preserved culture amongst the firm and its people that keeps me wanting to be a part of this firm.
What is the most challenging part of your work? What do you personally enjoy about your work?
Jimmy – A current challenge we are focused on is attracting new clients who would find tremendous value in our services. There are many people already working with advisors who are getting decent advice but probably feel there is “more” they should be getting from their advisor. The “more” they should be getting in addition to investment management is guidance around taxes, insurance, estate, and cash flow. These are services we’re actively providing that most clients tell us they were not getting before.
Kevin – The challenge of our work is also one of the reasons I love it so much. There is so much information out there and laws are constantly changing. I love digging into these changes and clients’ unique circumstances and finding ways to help them achieve their goals. Talking about money is a hard conversation for many families, yet it is one of the most important. I enjoy helping clients with these conversations and providing them with peace of mind they are on the right path.
Joel – I think the biggest challenge we face is the nuance and minute details we must learn and continue to research to add value to our clients’ lives. While this is one of the most challenging parts of work, it is also the most rewarding. Part of our job is to educate clients about these nuances, and whenever the proverbial lightbulb goes off, it’s a very satisfying feeling for everyone involved.
Jillian – I’d say the most challenging part of my job is having to be a part of “tough” conversations with clients. Whether those conversations are centered around unexpected life events or crises, walking clients through discussions regarding staying on track to meet their retirement goals, increased savings, and less spending – real-life conversations are of the utmost importance to helping our clients’ financial dreams become reality. It’s those conversations that bring me the most joy. Those conversations result in the most rewarding outcomes and seeing your clients reaching their financial goals through hard work and dedication both from the clients and the PDS team.
How would you describe your team’s way of working?
Jimmy – It always starts with embracing our fiduciary duty of putting clients’ interests first and doing the things we say we’re going to do. We enjoy working together to come up with creative solutions to help our clients meet their financial objectives.
Kevin – In general, PDS has a very collaborative culture. It’s always “all hands on deck” and everyone is willing to pitch in where needed regardless of their position in the firm or on a client team. We know we can go to each other with questions and there’s always a willingness to teach and help with client issues with which another team member may have more experience.
Joel – Being the newest member of the team, I have very limited exposure to all of the functions within the team, but this is what I can say: Everyone is more than willing to help and take time out of their days to assist my learning. There have been numerous projects I have been working on, and when I get to a point that I am stuck, I can go to any of them and ask for help. They will gladly guide me through the process and explain how that task will add value to the client whenever we meet with them.
Jillian – Through continuous collaboration. Each team member brings a unique perspective when viewing a client’s situation or financial goal. These unique ideas or pinpoints are what allow our team to piece together a client’s financial puzzle. Our team values collaboration and unity based on the understanding that each of us, as individuals, provides a specific skillset or perspective that adds value for our clients. The quote “The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts” – I feel sums up our team and what we strive to provide for our clients.
How do you approach new ideas within your team?
Jimmy – We’re constantly evaluating better ways to serve our clients, create more value and grow the firm. We all come from different backgrounds and, I would say, everyone is very curious. We also don’t take ourselves too seriously and I think that makes it easier to bring up and discuss new ideas and creative solutions to problems.
Kevin – Sharing is caring! I love researching and coming up with solutions for clients. I often share various links, articles, and thoughts on new tax laws or other planning opportunities with the team. But what I love more is having a colleague come to me with an idea they’re passionate about and how it can make us more efficient or improve the client experience. We love new ideas or finding ways to improve on what we’ve built. I heard a saying once, “don’t let best get in the way of better,” and took it to heart. We can always improve; new ideas keep us taking that next step forward.
Joel – If you have a new idea, you better let someone know! If there is a new idea everyone will listen and then we will discuss why that would or would not work within certain contexts. While not every new idea will work, someone will always listen to it and discuss the pros and cons of implementing it.
Jillian – Through open lines of communication. We truly live an open-door policy within our team and throughout the firm. We encourage people to push themselves outside of their comfort zone — ask curious questions. Don’t be afraid to bring new ideas to the table or challenge old ideas/ processes to help us look at these antiquated ideas or procedures with fresh glasses to evaluate if what we are doing as a team and throughout the firm is relevant or serving our firm and clients to the best of our abilities.
What does your team value in a colleague?
Jimmy – We value people who care. We try to hire people who care about their teammates, care about their clients and care about how they can create more value.
Kevin – Accountability, Taking Initiative, and Genuine. I appreciate colleagues who think ahead and take the initiative to learn something new or improve on our process, as our industry is constantly changing. It’s important to be accountable to our clients, but we also believe in being accountable to each other. I love working with genuine people, and at PDS, I think we’ve built a culture where we all feel comfortable being true to ourselves and our values.
Joel – They want someone who is eager to learn and someone who wants to be the best version of themselves possible. Everyone has the opportunity to learn new things, and though they haven’t really changed much within the industry, the vast majority of topics we discuss with clients change at least every couple of years. It is a lot to keep up with, so having someone who is always on top of these changes and is learning about them is invaluable. Secondly, we recognize that not everyone is perfect, but we all strive to do something every day that makes us better than we were the day before, and, ultimately, more valuable for the client.
Jillian – Work ethic, accountability, and having fun! Each of us plays a vital role on the client team, and those roles depend upon everyone putting in the hard work, offering help when and if another team member needs it and going above and beyond for our clients. It’s a delicate balance, but one we each take pride in contributing towards and encouraging each other to have fun and enjoy it.
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