Joel Chery is a complex manager for Wells Fargo Advisors, where he oversees three branches of financial advisors. He is focused on helping advisors to better serve their clients in developing strategies designed to help them reach their financial goals.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Joel’s family moved to Leominster, Massachusetts, where many of his relationships and values were formed. He has a bachelor of science in biology and biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. While at WPI, Joel Chery played football and worked several jobs in the offseason to help offset some of the expense of college. While working retail during his junior year, Joel had the opportunity to meet a financial advisor, which led to an internship. He quickly fell in love with the industry and knew this was the path he wanted for his career.
Joel began his career Merrill Lynch as an advisor, spending seven years with the firm. After that, he joined Morgan Stanley, serving in various roles, starting with associate complex manager, moving to a national training officer.
He then joined Wells Fargo Advisors in 2017 as a regional manager with a variety of duties including overall regional strategies and execution, leadership and coaching of financial advisors—leading to his current role. Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC
Joel Chery, a health and fitness enthusiast, enjoys boxing, mixed martial arts, weight training, running and hiking. He enjoys watching movies and is teaching himself to play the piano and guitar. He’s also closely involved with two nonprofit organizations, The Nativity School of Worcester, Massachusetts, and Good Sports of Boston.
How did you get started in this business and what inspired you to do so?
It was an accident. While in school in Worcester, I knew I wanted to meet people and impact their lives. My college advisor suggested that I get into sales, mainly pharmaceutical or medical device sales. While working at Circuit City, I had an opportunity to meet a financial advisor and that really changed the path for me. That led to opportunities like the internship with Ameriprise. That was my first real introduction to financial services. Before that, I knew absolutely nothing about the industry.
How do you make money in this business?
My profession centers around helping our clients achieve what is most important to them. With our focus being around the client, we learn about their needs and offer appropriate products, services and resources to help them reach their investment goals.
When you were first starting out in financial services, is there a time that you doubted this was the right idea for you? If so, how did you handle it?
Of course. Just as with any profession, it’s not a straight line nor is it easy. There’s a saying, “If they knew how hard I worked to get here, they wouldn’t think it was that impressive at all.” I believe that to be true. There are days that are tough. There are times you’re not sure you’re cut out for it. I try to focus on why I’m doing this and what doing this means for me and my family and the way I can help impact people. I’ve always said that when I think about what I want to be, it comes down to being inspiring. Having a goal like that, it doesn’t end, there’s not one day that I’m going to wake up and say, “Now I can take my foot off the gas because I am inspiring.” It’s something you continue to do. I want people to be inspired by the way I work, the way I treat others—and the way I approach life, in general. That’s what keeps me going.
What is one strategy that you’re using right now that’s working very well to generate new business?
Our focus is really through delivering quality advice to our clients. Getting to know our clients better, understand their needs better. Listening to what’s important to them opens up opportunities for us to help them with what’s important to them. Thinking about someone’s life span, all the different life-changing events that happen, most of those involve some sort of financial change or need. Those are things that we can help with. It’s not pitching a product, but rather it’s about finding out the needs and helping folks with those needs.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
One of them would be moving to Connecticut from Boston. This involved me leaving my friends and family and stepping outside my comfort zone—moving to a new place where I didn’t know anyone or have a support system around me. It was either keeping the status quo, which is working really well, or taking a risk of possibly enhancing my life. At the same time, a situation where I put myself in a situation that would involve new challenges personally and professionally. I took the risk and it’s been rewarding so far.
What do you think makes you successful?
That question is amusing in that I’ve had some successes but wouldn’t say I’m successful, per se. I have a long way to go and a lot more to do. One of the things that I’ve learned is to not be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are a natural part of anything. There was a time when I was younger that I was afraid of making mistakes and that held me back. As I’ve lost that fear, I’ve seen more success and successful endeavors as part of it.
What has been your most satisfying moment in this business?
There are really two moments that come to mind. The first one would be when I was named the Lead National Training Officer with my last firm. That was a title I earned through the support of my peers, colleagues and superiors. They saw something in me and supported me. It was touching to see that belief in me.
The other is when I was named Top 40 Under Forty by the Worcester Business Journal. This award recognizes young leaders in Central Massachusetts from a variety of industries. I was honored to be named among so many outstanding leaders in Worcester County.
What does the future hold for you and what are you most excited about?
I don’t know what the future holds. I want to be happy. I’ve had times that were good and times when things were tough. I just want to maintain the happiness and to be proud of the work I do. Whatever my future holds, I’m confident that the work will be meaningful to me. I’ll enjoy what I’m doing.
What business books have inspired you?
I’ve read some good books along the way. One is “To Sell Is Human” by Daniel Pink. I really enjoyed that book, as it came with a lot of good insight into what I would call understanding people and looking at perspectives. Another great one that’s full of leadership lessons on motivation and developing talent would be “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle. “Good to Great” by James C. Collins is one that I’m sure a lot of people are aware.
What’s your biggest competitive edge?
I would say that I’m a “forever student” and always learning. Someone once told me the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. I’m continuously learning, staying abreast of what’s happened in our industry and what’s happening today with new ideas, what’s working for others. There is so much more for me to take in and areas of my life that I can improve. That continual improvement is a focus of mine.