2023 Summer Interns Share Their Pathways and Impact
This article was authored by Jackson Hartz, one of our 2023 Summer Interns.
With fall now firmly here, I’ve been reflecting on my vibrant and enriching experience as a summer intern at Brighton Jones. I, along with over a dozen other interns, was immersed in what it means to work at a wealth management firm.
I hope this Q&A gives you an inside look into the intern life at Brighton Jones, not just from my perspective but also through the eyes of my fellow interns who walked this exciting path with me. In this article, you can learn about the Brighton Jones culture, what a day as an intern looks like, fun team-wide activities, and much more!
Whether you’re curious about wealth management as a potential career or want to get a taste of what it’s like to work at a place like Brighton Jones, our experiences offer a sneak peek into the world beyond the classroom.
What is a typical day in the life of a Brighton Jones intern?
Evelyn Westby – Seattle: After taking a bus into Seattle, I would start my day by enjoying a cold brew coffee on tap. Then, I would check my email and calendar to comprise a to-do list for the day. Shortly after, I would check in with my Intern Champions, who would introduce new projects for the day or week. I enjoyed shadowing analysts or attending internal prep meetings when not working on a project.
Jackson Hartz – Seattle: One of the things I truly appreciated about this experience was the fact that each day brought something new and exciting. I usually started my mornings with a quick preview of my schedule for the day. Once I had a grasp of my day’s commitments, I would map out my tasks for the day, setting priorities and goals. What I found particularly enriching was the flexibility to engage in various activities (meetings, projects, shadowing, coffee chats, etc.). If I ever found myself with some time to spare, there were ample opportunities for shadowing.
Kyle Hughes – Seattle: I would start the day by checking for new emails. Then, after making sure I had addressed all urgent messages, I would get to work on my assigned projects. While many of these projects would vary, most days would consist of preparing tax returns, filling power of attorney forms, and attending trainings.
Audrey Ely – Seattle: A typical day begins with the cold brew on tap at the office. Each day is divided into meetings with my pod, one-on one meetings with my mentor, and individual or group work with other interns. I spend my individual work time completing projects assigned to me, organizing client data, and reaching out to other #oneteam members for coffee chats later in the week.
What project(s) did you enjoy most during your internship?
Olivia Peluso – San Francisco: I enjoyed collaborating with members of the JEDI group at Brighton Jones to form a female affinity group for employees. Another intern and I assisted in identifying potential speakers and topics to be discussed at meetings for the group. The most rewarding part of this project was connecting with women at Brighton Jones. These women guided me throughout the project while providing abundant support and encouragement. They empowered me; they were a shining example of Brighton Jones and its incredible values.
Veronica Toccaceli – Portland: I loved writing an article for Women Living a Richer Life. My partner wrote about the obstacles women face during their journey toward financial mastery and how to overcome them. I interviewed Dr. Kolay, my finance professor at the University of Portland, to gain further insight into our topic. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and reached out to people inside and outside the office!
Kyle Hughes – Seattle: I definitely enjoyed filing the tax returns. While at first, I thought each one would be similar and repetitive, each assigned return I had was different from the last, making each one feel like its own little puzzle that challenged me from start to finish.
What surprised you most about the Brighton Jones work environment and culture?
Daniel Main – D.C.: I was surprised at how proactive and personable my teammates were. They always took the extra step to be a resource whenever I would hit a wall in a project or had some free time on my hands. I remember opening my email inbox some mornings and seeing a dozen invites for shadowing opportunities or client meetings. My experience at Brighton Jones raised the bar on what a work culture can be.
Grace Marsh – Seattle: When interviewing and talking to people who worked here before my internship, everybody always said that the culture here at Brighton Jones is special. I didn’t expect it to be as remarkable as everybody had described. Everyone is open to answering your questions and contributing to your personal growth.
Jackson Stuart – Scottsdale: From the first day, I was amazed by how welcoming and respectful everyone was. No coworker I felt was looking down on me because I was an intern. Everyone was always willing to answer my questions and explained everything in detail!
Did you come away with any insights about the wealth management industry that defy conventional wisdom?
Haley Droppleman – Seattle: At Brighton Jones, that hyper-competitive notion “it’s a dog-eat-dog world” couldn’t be further from the truth. This company has woven compassion into the fabric of their firm.
Jack Thistle – D.C.: I can confidently say that I am leaving my internship with Brighton Jones with more knowledge about wealth management than I ever anticipated on learning. With limitless opportunities for financial education sessions, we were constantly learning about how Brighton Jones approaches wealth management and how it differentiates itself from other firms.
What was your favorite fun activity with the team?
Chase DeLeon – Seattle: The team day event at Top Golf was enjoyable. Having this team day early in the internship allowed me to meet many new people and get to know my fellow interns better. This was a fantastic week one experience that I will never forget!
Michelle Murdter – Seattle: I enjoyed the hike to Snow Lake. It was an excellent opportunity to get to know my coworkers better and stay active!
Rory Shanks – Seattle: My favorite fun activity with the team was going to the Mariners game. It was super fun getting to interact with everyone outside of the office. It was a great opportunity to learn more about everyone and do something out of the office together!
What’s your advice for next summer’s interns?
CJ Castillo – San Francisco: Try connecting with as many people as possible! This internship goes by in a heartbeat, so take every moment of free time to explore connections with employees or learn about the company through small projects. Be enthusiastic and open to learning new skills, even if it’s hard to understand. Ask many questions, and enjoy your time and the people you meet!
Ryan Bridge – Seattle: Reach out to as many people as possible. They each have insights on Brighton Jones, the finance industry, and life. Everyone wants to meet you, too, so never feel afraid to reach out to someone you want to get to know better. Also, don’t feel limited to just staying within the PCFO pods. Learn about business development, investments, real estate, and much more.
Tyler Kim – Seattle: My advice for next summer’s interns would be to keep an open mind and be curious. Ask as many questions as possible and connect with as many people as possible! One of the best things about the internship is that you can connect with people at all different points of their careers. I connected with analysts, associate advisors, and senior lead advisors. The input and advice you can receive are invaluable not just in your career but in your life!
What’s next for you in terms of school or your career?
Sabrina Samra – Portland: I will enter my Senior Year of college and graduate early from the University of Oregon. My future path is not completely clear, but if there is one thing I know, I will always look for a company with values and morals similar to Brighton Jones.
Kyle Hughes – Seattle: After the internship, I’m returning to Central Washington University to finish my final year and major. Afterward, I plan on studying for the CPA Exam, which will help my job prospects and expand my knowledge and skill set.
If you could sum up your internship experience at Brighton Jones in one sentence, what would it be?
Evelyn Westby – Seattle: An enriching opportunity to learn more about the wealth management industry and participate in hands-on work in a fun, culturally unmatched environment.
Audrey Ely – Seattle: Brighton Jones has allowed me to grow professionally, pushing me to step outside my comfort zone and expand my horizons.
Jackson Hartz – Seattle: I had an incredible time immersing myself in the amazing company culture, working alongside wonderful people, benefiting from a well-structured internship program, and seizing countless learning opportunities.
Chase DeLeon – Seattle: This internship undeniably blew my expectations out of the water; whether it be the incredible #oneteam and office culture, the opportunity to attend client meetings or the numerous coffee chats I had, this experience is one I will never forget.