Penny Pennington has been at Edward Jones for almost 20 years. And in that time, she’s built her own practice, led several areas of the firm and progressed to Managing Partner. She understands the difference it makes when your company truly cares about your career progression, and she’s excited to share that experience with the new talent Edward Jones is cultivating during a period of major growth.
Pennington recently shared how she started her career in personal finance, how she cultivates strong client relationships and how Edward Jones is different than its competitors. Then, she talked bringing your whole self to the office, and how impactful taking ownership of your work can be to your everyday experience.
What led you to Edward Jones and what has your career path been with the firm?
I started my career in corporate investment banking, but I felt like something was missing. I was successful but didn’t feel a sense of significance about what I was doing. I found what I was looking for when I joined Edward Jones as a financial advisor in Livonia, MI, in 2000.
After building my practice in Livonia, in 2006 I was asked to take a new role in our New Financial Advisor Training area in our home office. Since then, I've had the tremendous opportunity to lead several areas of our firm including BOA Development, Branch and Region Development and the Client Strategies Group. In each role, I’ve gained a greater understanding and appreciation of how Edward Jones was built for our clients, and how we make a difference in their lives and the lives of their families.
What kind of development opportunities does Edward Jones offer?
When I started as a financial advisor, I can tell you, the training I received was instrumental to my professional development, and it helped me serve my clients better. Today, the support and resources are even greater. At Edward Jones we spend a lot of time cultivating talent – focusing on leadership and development. The opportunities our associates have access to at our firm are second to none. Edward Jones can help you develop and evolve your skills and your career.
What’s your commitment to inclusion and diversity?
At Edward Jones, we are committed to diversity and inclusion and believe we offer a terrific opportunity for those who join our firm. We have a long-term strategic plan that focuses on attracting, retaining and developing talent that brings diversity of thought, background and experience.
For me, inclusion and diversity is about making sure every associate feels a deep sense of belonging and providing choices to our clients based on their unique needs. The financial services industry is making progress in this space but there is still more work to be done. We want to help lead the way.
What is different about working at a privately held partnership?
I often say that there are two relationships at Edward Jones that make us different from anyone else: the deep personal relationships we have with the clients we serve and the relationships we have with one another. These relationships are what make us unreplicable. We are legally a partnership, but we are a partnership in spirit as well. You can see that reflected in the way we treat our clients and one another.
As one of the few remaining privately owned firms in the financial services industry, we are owned by the people who work here. As a result, we make decisions without the pressure publicly held companies have to return profits to shareholders each quarter. Ownership gives our team a sense of pride and creates a shared commitment to make Edward Jones better every day.
Why work at Edward Jones now?
It’s an exciting time to be part of Edward Jones. What started as a single office in downtown St. Louis in 1922, today has grown by leap and bounds. Today we serve over 7 million clients, but we know that we have the opportunity to continue to grow – so that we can make a difference in the lives of tens of millions of investors and their families across North America. And when we do well for our clients, the success and significance we feel as being a part it is something truly special.
With growth comes opportunity. To continue to succeed we have to focus on cultivating talent and on leadership development. And we were founded on the principle that those who are responsible for our success should share in the rewards. Our commitment to clients and our spirit of partnership make Edward Jones a great place to work, and a great place to build a career.
What feels different working at a best place to work?
Edward Jones is different where it matters. We invest in our associates because we believe that each one matters as an individual. We’ve created an environment where associates can bring their whole selves to work. A place where everyone can thrive – so that every associate can show up every day focused on how to make an even bigger difference for our clients. This commitment is reflected in our relationships with our clients and others have noticed, too. Fortune magazine has recognized us as one of the 100 best companies to work for in the United States, and Canadian Business Magazine has named us to its list of best places to work in Canada. Recognition like this is rewarding, but we don’t do things to win awards. At Edward Jones we put the client first in everything we do. It's our first core value.
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