The University of Georgia’s Alumni Association annually recognizes outstanding alumni who have made an impact in their careers through its 40 Under 40 program. Grady College is proud to have seven honorees in the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018: Brooke Bowen (ABJ ‘07, JD ‘10), Chase Cain (ABJ ’05), Meredith Dean (ABJ ‘14), Josh Delaney (ABJ’11, AB ‘11), Ivey Evans (ABJ ’06, BBA ’06, MBA ‘13), Quanza Griffin (ABJ ‘01) and Lauren Pearson (ABJ ‘02).
Selections were based on the graduates’ commitment to a lifelong relationship with UGA and their impact in business, leadership, community, artistic, research, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors. The 2018 Class will be honored at the awards ceremony on Sept. 13, 2018, at the Georgia Aquarium.
Name: Lauren Pearson
Graduation Year: 2002
Current Occupation: Managing director, partner, HighTower Twickenham
Grady College: How did Grady College help prepare you for your career?
Lauren Pearson: Grady College gave me the opportunity to learn how to think, and thus provided me with a skill set that was transferrable across industries.
GC: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students/young professionals?
LP: Be open to varied and unexpected work experiences in your twenties. You never know where life is going to take you. I sold advertising space in a journal just after I graduated – unexpected and unglamorous and I loved every minute – but both the sales experience and the introduction to potential clients paved the way for my current career.
GC: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?
LP: Grady offered numerous opportunities to learn to communicate persuasively and effectively in myriad situations: one-on-one, in a boardroom, before a large audience or on social media. The ability to communicate clearly, succinctly and memorably serves me daily in my career.
GC: What skills and/or values and/or circumstances do you most attribute to your success?
LP: It is important to carry personal values into professional life. The financial world is not exactly known for its ethical standards, but I have to stick to what I know is good and true personally in my professional life. Two years ago, I transitioned from a large wirehouse investment firm to a fiduciary firm because it was the right move for my clients, and not from a place of self-interest. When you make decisions with those you serve in mind, you can sleep well at night, and often, you come out ahead in your own career.
GC: What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned as you’ve navigated through your career?
LP: Take big chances and be grateful when they come before you. It is unusual for a 38-year-old woman to have her own investment practice. I questioned the opportunity a thousand times along the way, but in the end, I am a person of faith, and I believe in the purpose behind my work because I have seen the long-term impact of wise financial planning, and thus was able to take the plunge to open my own business. I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve families every day.
GC: Describe a moment in your professional/personal career that you are most proud of.
LP: I am proud to be a working mom. Motherhood is a tough journey whether you work inside or outside the home, and I am happy to be raising three girls who I hope will follow their dreams, whatever they may be. They are five, seven and nine, and they cannot fathom that Mommy works with “boys” all day, but I tell them, “if you love it, it doesn’t matter what other people think or if they are all ‘boys.’”
GC: Do you have a favorite Grady memory?
LP: My favorite Grady memory was creating Tiffany & Company ads in graphic design class. I love to create things – whether that be ads or financial plans!