Editor's note: Each One Teach One is a feature in the Sunday Economy section, featuring career advice from established Quad-City business and community leaders to those just starting out. To suggest someone to be profiled, contact Business Editor Liz Boardman at 563-383-2396 or email@example.com.
Heidi Huiskamp Collins
CEO of Huiskamp Collins Investments, LLC
How did you choose your career path? I am 54 years old and have been investing for 36 years. I am a “Grade-A” geek when it comes to investing. I work a full day, work out, spend time with my husband, and then spend my “off-time” reading the Wall Street Journal cover-to-cover, reading investment magazines along with blogs and newsletters, and analysis of investments that interest me. I don’t watch TV; reading about investments and then implementing those ideas with my clients is my passion.
How do you maintain a work/life balance? As a newly minute college and graduate school grad, I worked 90 hours a week and was all about “the job.” With age and maturity, I’ve learned to set healthy boundaries. Weekends are for family and community service. I have been so blessed that I feel strongly about giving back and community outreach and am especially drawn to helping children born into poverty. I mentor a young single mom with two small children and a little girl on the weekends.
What do you look for in a new hire; what questions do you ask in the interview to find the right fit? "Skills can be taught, but a caring personality who can 'connect' with clients and who is skilled at establishing positive relationships can’t be taught. I recently started my own business and have 'hit the jackpot' with the young woman I’ve hired as an assistant. When I interviewed her, I asked her to tell me about relationships she has established with customers in past jobs, what her definition of 'work ethic' is, a time that she showed initiative and 'ownership' in her employer’s business, and a time when she had to handle stress at work. I will be training her as a financial adviser, so I also wanted to know how she manages money and her attitudes toward saving, spending and debt."
Was there ever a time in your life when you hit an obstacle and had to re-evaluate or rebuild? "I think everyone hits obstacles, but my clearest example of having to rebuild has been my recent exit from my corporate job to establish my own business. Starting your own venture is a lot of work, but has been a dream of mine and has been so rewarding. I have been able to shed the aspects of my corporate job that didn’t excite me to pursue full-time the rewarding experience of working to help clients attain their financial goals and dreams. What could be more exciting than that?! By paring back my responsibilities to focus on my customers, I have set myself up to work well into part-time retirement."
What’s the best thing about doing business in the Quad-Cities? "The Quad-Cities has the 'feel' of a small community with the resources of a metropolitan area. I lived and worked in both the Chicago area and the San Francisco Bay area and I love the fact that I can travel pretty much anywhere in the area in under a half hour or less. At the same time, we have terrific access to the arts, leisure activities, beautiful parks and green spaces and the Mississippi River. People are friendly and approachable.
Do you have any advice for people starting out in their career? "Find your passion and pursue your dreams. I know it’s cliché, but I never feel like I’m going to 'work.'"