In Their Own Words: Interns Find Connection and Drive Real Impact

Oct 06, 2021 |

The Brighton Jones internship program is a reflection of how we collaborate across teams. Those who go through the program have an opportunity to work within each of the firm’s department and functional areas, contribute in meaningful ways to projects and initiatives of strategic importance, and join in the regular moments of community and celebration.

We were lucky to welcome Greta Geivett, Connor Kardokus, Aaron Pearson, and Vivia Zhu as interns this past summer. Greta and Aaron worked alongside Personal CFO team members, Connor supported our Mindfulness-based Emotional and Social Intelligence (MESI) program, and Vivia served on the tax team.

Before they wrapped things up, the group fielded a few questions on their work and offered advice to future interns.

Walk us through a typical day in the life of a Brighton Jones intern.

Greta Geivett: Each day was a little bit different, which kept things interesting! Some days I connected with people throughout the company to learn more about their roles at Brighton Jones. I also had opportunities to shadow advisors as they prepared for client meetings, which was a fantastic learning experience. I spent time on the projects assigned to us by our pod, including organizing client data, taking notes in meetings, and even setting up the occasional happy hour! It was a similar workflow on days in the office, with the added perk of grabbing lunch at Pike Place Market with some colleagues.

Aaron Pearson: I would start by going over any emails that needed my attention and review my calendar for the day. Typically, each day would include work on assigned projects, broken up by onboarding/training or client-orientated meetings.

Vivia Zhu: A typical week consisted of checking in with your assigned peer buddy, attending a pod meeting with everyone on the team, completing tax returns, and reviewing feedback with managers. Occasionally, the firm would host training sessions on relevant topics like Roth IRAs, Personal CFO services, or business development.

What project(s) did you enjoy most during your internship?

Connor Kardokus: Writing the chapter summaries and workbooks for the MESI Blue Belt program was my favorite project. The book was a terrific read, and I learned a lot about mindful communication. What’s more, it was an excellent opportunity to hone my writing skills.

Greta Geivett: I was lucky to work with Brighton Jones’ philanthropy specialists during my internship. It was rewarding to play a small role in their work in support of various causes and communities. I had the opportunity to help develop the Community Impact Circle series focused on particular topics or passions, whether it be social justice, environmental preservation, or health equity. I researched organizations and discussion points to support moderated discussions during the group’s meeting. It was a gratifying experience to see my contributions used in meaningful ways by the philanthropy team.

Aaron Pearson: I had the opportunity to help with the CHOICES philanthropy project. CHOICES focuses on assisting 8th-grade students in making smart decisions that will serve them well down the road. I attended the presentation and shared feedback and recommendations with our team to help inform our curriculum in the future.

What surprised you most about the Brighton Jones work environment and culture?

Greta Geivett: Since this was my first formal internship, I was nervous on the first day. I can now safely say that I had no reason to feel that way. Everyone I encountered at Brighton Jones was willing and excited to have a conversation with me. The welcoming culture shines through immediately.

Aaron Pearson: I worked from a different state throughout the internship. One of the biggest concerns for me was fitting in with the team and building meaningful relationships. However, the culture was very inclusive from day one. I was able to make stronger relationships than I have at other jobs that were in person.

Vivia Zhu: I loved how everyone on my team was able to laugh together and connect on a more personal level, even though we were virtual. There is a mindset of “work hard, play hard,” and it was cool to see everyone getting work done, learning, and making time for fun and community.

Did you come away with any insights about the wealth management industry that defy conventional wisdom?

Connor Kardokus: I had a preconceived notion that most people at a financial company wouldn’t care about a mindfulness program and would consider it a drag. I was thrilled by how invested people are in their wellbeing and creating a respectful and collaborative work environment.

Greta Geivett: One major lesson about wealth management that I will take away from my time at Brighton Jones is that it is an industry of serving others. If you are studying finance and looking for a career where you can help others, then wealth management is worth exploring. The work provides opportunities to use both analytical and social skills to help clients and their communities.

Aaron Pearson: Some clients may not focus as much on the quantitative aspect of our services. The qualitative, beyond the balance sheet aspect of the partnership might be what drives them—things like listening and understanding their goals or just being someone they can trust.

Vivia Zhu: Wealth management is not about helping people make the most money; it’s about aligning their time and resources with their passions and purpose. Brighton Jones emphasizes this approach and encourages intentional planning in all areas.

What was your favorite virtual/in-person fun activity with the team?

Greta Geivett: Going to the Mariners game with the company was a great time. We got to meet people we had only seen online and connect with other colleagues from across the firm.

Aaron Pearson: I enjoyed our two weekly team meetings the most. It was the best opportunity to get to know the broader team and build relationships.

Vivia Zhu: I liked my team’s weekly pod meetings. We would always have wacky icebreakers that made me smile and helped me learn more about each team member. We also did a virtual scavenger hunt that had me running around my house looking for things, which was super fun even though we couldn’t be together in person.

What’s your advice for next summer’s interns?

Connor Kardokus: Seek out whatever opportunities interest you. You get out what you put in, and the people here really care about making the experience valuable to you. So if you’re interested in something, reach out to someone to try and get involved.

Greta Geivett: Speak to as many people as possible! Everyone at Brighton Jones is willing and excited to meet with you and give you invaluable pieces of advice. Your internship is what you make of it, and Brighton Jones provides unlimited opportunities to learn about the company, wealth management, and several other fields of business. People are excited to teach you and share their experience, so do not be shy to reach out!

Aaron Pearson: It goes so fast. Focus on building relationships with team members and people you admire. Everyone at Brighton Jones is open to connecting with you if you’re willing to put yourself out there and ask.

Vivia Zhu: Make time to reach out to people and get to know them, go to happy hours and events, and ask questions. The work will get done, but you will cherish the memories you made and the wisdom you received from others.

What’s next for you in terms of school or your career?

Connor Kardokus: I’ll be applying to clinical psychology Ph.D. programs and aiming to start a program next fall. My goal is to become a psychologist at a Veterans Affairs hospital.

Greta Geivett: I’m returning to Fort Worth, TX to finish my senior year at Texas Christian University. I’ll be receiving a degree in finance with a minor in English, which I hope to leverage in wealth management or philanthropy. I’m sad to leave my dream school but excited to find out what adventure the world has in store for me next!

Aaron Pearson: I’m studying for the CFP® exam this coming June. I’m also looking forward to graduating this December and entering the workforce in January.

Vivia Zhu: I’ll be finishing up my senior year at the University of Washington and working as a teaching assistant for the Foster School of Business!

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