The millennial generation can transform your business

As I’m sure is the case with many of you, a lot of reading material crosses my desk. I enjoy keeping up with various business publications and began to notice a pattern. The people featured in stories or columns, more often than not, appear to be over 40 and very well established in their fields.

These are my peers, and I enjoy reading about their experiences and have learned a lot from them. They have great insights but, as I’ve learned at Ancora, fresh perspectives can be a huge value-add, as well.

Young professionals, commonly dubbed millennials, are coming into their own and have a lot to share with us. The youngest of this age group are now old enough to be finishing their educations, with the oldest just reaching their late 30s. They make up a sizable percentage of our employees at Ancora, and I’m sure at many of your organizations, as well. I’ll be giving them the floor over the coming months so they can share their business experiences to benefit readers of all ages, just as they have been a benefit to us at Ancora.

Ancora is an employee-owned financial services firm with three main divisions — family wealth, asset management and retirement plans. Over the first few years after being founded in 2003, it brought back together a core group of us who, for the most part, had previously worked together in various capacities.

At this point, I’ve worked with a number of these individuals for over 20 years. It’s a great dynamic; we keep each other in line and work as a truly collaborative team. That’s not to say that we weren’t bringing in other people. We’ve grown at an incredible rate over the years, in employees and otherwise.

Similar to how our client base grew, Ancora often hired based on connections. It was natural that the people we knew or had connections to had similar backgrounds. We built an incredible team but began to realize that we only had a few young people at the firm. 

In 2017, we created a formal HR position and made a more concentrated effort to bring young people into the firm. Since then, we’ve made more than 13 hires in that age range, bringing our count of millennial employees to more than 20, or nearly 30 percent of our workforce. Between our Cleveland headquarters and Michigan office, we now have over 70 employees.

This move has been a boon to our firm. The young professionals at Ancora are mainly spread among sales, marketing, client service, operations and investment analysis roles. For some of them, their careers began at Ancora, while others went off to New York City or Chicago and brought those experiences back with them.

I believe they have benefited our firm immensely, and I look forward to watching them continue to grow and succeed. I hope you will also find benefit, and perhaps inspiration, in the upcoming columns by Ancora’s millennials.

Fred DiSanto is chairman and CEO at Ancora