Going Behind the Scenes at SHP Financial with Michelle Short — EP 019
Going Behind the Scenes at SHP Financial with Michelle Short — EP 019
During the first ten years of SHP Financial–2003 thru 2012–we had a team that deeply understood how to build great financial plans and do right by our clients. However, we had work to do on the business side of our operations.
When we realized we needed to hire a COO, we interviewed Michelle Short–and quickly realized how much talent she brought to the table. She’s helped us scale our business, deliver incredible experiences for our clients, and created new career paths for our team.
In this episode, we go behind the scenes to talk about how we transformed our company culture to create better client experiences, as well as share some of the lessons Michelle has learned–and taught us–over the years.
In this podcast discussion, you’ll learn:
What makes the client experience at SHP so unique.
How Michelle delivers a great client experience, helps us to stay organized, and improve our processes.
The goals that we’re aiming to achieve at SHP over the next 10 years.
“If our clients have saved their whole life, this is their nest egg. We have to take care of it.” – Michelle Short
Derek Gregoire: Welcome to another edition of the SHP Financial Retirement Roadmap brought to you by SHP Financial. I’m Derek Gregoire and joined as always by Matthew Peck, co-founder here at SHP Financial. And today we have a very special guest, someone who’s been on the team for, I believe eight years.
Michelle Short: Eight years, almost nine.
Derek Gregoire: Eight years now, almost nine.
Michelle Short: Yeah.
Derek Gregoire: And a lot of folks, everyone who’s come into our office and been part of the team knows Michelle Short, who is our COO here at SHP Financial. And you’re saying, “Okay. What’s the purpose of having a COO on?” Well, two things. One, we want to take you behind the scenes here at SHP and kind of let you know how things work together and how the culture is built and how the client experience is so strong and how that all started. And also get to know Michelle a little bit because there’s a lot of lessons about life and business that she’s learned and taught us over the years. So, first and foremost, welcome, Michelle.
Michelle Short: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Matthew Peck: Absolutely.
Derek Gregoire: And so, obviously, you’ve started, was it January of ’14?
Michelle Short: 2014, yes.
Derek Gregoire: If we actually really want to go back, Matt, we hired her in 2013.
Matthew Peck: Yep.
Derek Gregoire: And then she came to us like a week after hiring us and said, “By the way, I’m having a baby.”
Matthew Peck: Yeah. It was interesting timing.
Derek Gregoire: Which was awesome but…
Michelle Short: Scary.
Derek Gregoire: Scary, awesome. But the crazy part of Michelle, she’s a wonder woman with two kids, two daughters. Now, are they nine and seven?
Michelle Short: They are 11.
Derek Gregoire: Oh, my gosh.
Michelle Short: And eight. You’re close.
Matthew Peck: That’s alright. Yeah. Time does fly.
Derek Gregoire: Trust me. I get my kids’ ages wrong. Two girls, married to Greg, who’s an awesome dude.
Michelle Short: Thank you. Yes.
Derek Gregoire: And so, really, back before you joined us, I guess I remember we interviewed you in 2013, we were like, “This is someone different.” We’ve had a lot of interviews. You have to remember back in the first five, ten years of SHP Financial from 2003 to 2012, 2013, I think we had a good company. I think we always did the right thing but we didn’t really do the business side like so Keith, Matt, and I really had the background of like financial planning, how to do right by the client but the processes weren’t really strong behind the scenes. And so, when we interviewed you it was like, “Wow. This is really someone that we’ve never really had before as a candidate,” and we were excited to kind of see where things went. But we didn’t initially hire you as a COO and COO is a chief operating officer. How would you describe a COO?
Michelle Short: Yeah. I mean, so for me, I came in as director of operations, right? So, it’s like you guys had this vision. I remember you had this vision of where you wanted to be and where you wanted to go. And I think you were just getting your own way. You didn’t know how to get there, right? So, from my background, running teams, growing teams, implementing processes, procedures, who reports to who, who has a job description, that was just super important. So, I think when we started, there was probably like what, five employees-ish? Now, we’re up to or actually including you, that was probably eight, you know.
Derek Gregoire: But then we actually let go, I think, everyone.
Matthew Peck: Yeah. We’re probably eight total and contracted a little bit before the expansion began.
Derek Gregoire: And they were all good people but we had a consultant come in and she was basically like, it was really good for us because she got to meet with everyone individually and she’s like, “You guys are all on the same page as partners,” meaning Keith, Matt, and myself. But some of the employees, they’re good people but they’re there to get the check. They’re not really…
Michelle Short: Absolutely. Buying into the big picture. Right.
Derek Gregoire: Buying into the big picture of the clients and so forth. But I think this is ten years into our – we just had a ten-year reunion, Matt, as you remember.
Matthew Peck: Absolutely.
Derek Gregoire: And basically, Gisele Benson was one of our first employees and we kept her and I think everyone else had left and then her let go. And so, when Michelle started at that point, it was like starting fresh. We had the business starting to build up but we had almost as employees starting with a new model.
Michelle Short: Yeah. I think it’s taking like, okay, what do we need? And now we’re at 42 employees. So, it’s taking what do we need, Matt? What are you doing right now that you really shouldn’t be doing? And same with you, Derek. So, stripping that back and then bringing in the right bodies, the right culture fit for our team it was instrumental and now it’s like, okay, so we had this office in Plymouth. How do we duplicate that up in Woburn? How do we duplicate that in Hyannis? And then how do we give really the best experience ever? So, for me, it’s like coming in as director of ops. Yes. Let’s streamline everything. Come up with processes, procedures. This is where we’re going to grow. These are our goals. But then it’s like really helping you work on the business so that you can focus either more on your families because your families are young and growing too, and really bring in the next generation for our employees and give everybody a career path. That’s super important to us.
Matthew Peck: Well, let me kind of go back to the term career path, like when you first started off not too long ago because you’re, what, 32 now?
Michelle Short: Yes.
Matthew Peck: But the point being is that was that always the long-term goal for you personally? Was the long term goal of yours to become a COO? And how much was it that you learned at the previous job versus how much did you grow into that role while at SHP?
Michelle Short: Yeah, great question. It’s not like you go to college and you’re like, “Oh, I want to become a COO someday,” right? I knew I wanted to be successful. I went to college for psychology, believe it or not, but I do feel like I do use that sometimes here. But no, it’s working my way up. I started out as an administrative assistant then you go to an executive assistant, then you go to a director of a department.
Derek Gregoire: This is previous SHP.
Michelle Short: Previous SHP. Yeah, exactly. And it’s like you slowly want to keep growing. I have children at the time so it’s like I know where I can go. I think I kept out as a senior vice president at my last position and we had talked about me maybe becoming going down that road of like a COO. So, I did at that point in my career, I started having children. I knew that that’s kind of I had kept my eye on the prize. You know, that’s kind of where I wanted to go. I think, for me, I’m more better suited back-office operations. I’m pretty good at systems and all that stuff. So, it’s me. It’s not sales. So, that was why it was such a good fit for me.
Matthew Peck: Yeah, absolutely. Then, so what happens now? So, in the sense of like, okay, how has your role then changed here too? Because you mentioned you’re an executive assistant or EA and now a COO. I mean, if you were a director of operations, I guess, what’s the difference being a director of operations than chief operations officer?
Michelle Short: Yeah, good question. They’re a lot of different. So, for me, I feel like I’m more of a partner with you guys on your big vision, right? So, it’s like you tell me what you need done and you trust me to get it done and we just execute it. Whereas director, you’re still in the weeds a little bit but you’re still putting in processes and procedures. So, we have Mallory now as our director of ops. I would be completely lost without her. She’s my right hand on everything. And you all know you’ve worked so hard building your business. You know, it’s nice for me to be able to take a day off now and know that the office is still going to be running smoothly with me out here. So, she’s allowed me to have some more flexibility with my family as we grow but also I can think big picture more. I’m not in the weeds as much. So, whether it be our investment committee that maybe they just want to just chat with or advisory solutions team. I’m always there for them and I think it’s given me more flexibility to help them as we talk about their career path and their annual reviews and whatever else they need from us.
Derek Gregoire: Well, I think a lot of time myself, Keith, and Matt, it’s not that we’re ever too important for a task. However, back in the day, like a lot of things we were doing, I remember Michelle’s like, “Why are you like, you guys are still answering the phone?”
Michelle Short: Yeah. You were answering phones, right?
Derek Gregoire: It’s not that we shouldn’t be like it’s beneath us but it’s like you could be doing other things.
Matthew Peck: Now, I would say too and this is somewhat an exaggeration but at times we would answer the phone with a different voice like, “Oh, hello. Matt’s not here right now. Hold on. Let me get him.” “Oh, hey, what’s going on?”
Michelle Short: That’s like a core competency. You guys should be doing that and that’s when I came in you guys were…
Matthew Peck: My voice imitation is not like core competency?
Michelle Short: No. It’s horrible.
Derek Gregoire: But Michelle that’s the thing is like she’s like, “Why would you? That’s not…” Like, I’m not good at the hiring process and like the training process and procedures. I think I’m better off like high picture and meeting with clients and just running the business than I am at that.
Michelle Short: Yeah. And you’re good at like taking care of your clients, right? So, it’s like you guys that’s your core competency, taking care of your clients and seeing who else we can help in the community. And I think for me, my client is our team. You know, I come in every day making sure that they’re happy. They have what they need. There’s never a question about anything that they need here at SHP and making sure that we are very intentional of how we offer our support to our clients making sure that they have the best client experience. So, I’m constantly working with Gisele or Mallory or the new business team to making sure that every client has the best experience.
Matthew Peck: I want you to explain a little bit like when you say what is the client experience.
Michelle Short: Oh, yeah.
Derek Gregoire: Most firms are I would say at least because we’ve been lucky enough to meet and help a lot of firms like ours around the country over the years. We actually run a little mastermind group to help some companies. Michelle, now maybe some companies do but how many really have a COO?
Michelle Short: No, it’s rare. It’s rare.
Derek Gregoire: Very few, right?
Michelle Short: Yeah. It’s rare.
Derek Gregoire: And, obviously, Michelle’s going to share about the client experience but there are so many things that when we first started out, you think that doesn’t really make sense. Like, what is a client experience or culture? What does that really matter in the long run? It’s so important.
Michelle Short: It’s like think of the best hotel you’ve ever been at, right? It’s like the feeling you get when you walk into the lobby and you’re feeling like you’re just being treated so well. And it’s like that’s super important to me for our clients. If our clients have saved their whole life, this is their nest egg. We have to take care of it. So, it’s like making sure that they just feel comfortable with us. We feel like family to them. That’s my number one driver. So, it could be somebody who maybe saw your TV ad on the weekend or listened to our podcast or maybe they came to a seminar to learn more about what they should or shouldn’t be doing with their financial portfolio. No matter what it is, it’s making sure they feel like the person that they speak to first, like Tasha and her team, making sure that they feel very comfortable with her on the phone. You know, of course, when Gisele comes in making sure that they, you know, this is nerve-wracking for them. You know, they’re coming in. They don’t know who we are. So, making sure Gisele gives them a tour of the office.
You know, we have a family wall. It’s like our family is everything to us. Some of our kids are always running around the office. You know, it’s like making sure that, like, our families are shown and making sure that everybody is introduced and that they feel comfortable for the meeting. That to me is client experience and making sure that if they have a question, we have our SHP portal. If they have questions on that, they know how to navigate their way and they know who to call if they have an issue with that. If it’s team Derek, team Matt, team Keith, team Joe, whoever the team is, it’s making sure they know who to call on the team to get that quickly answered for them if they have a question or something like that.
Matthew Peck: Well, I think it touches on something that’s really interesting. Just more the idea of when, let’s say, prospects, right? If they see a commercial or if they’ll see some podcast or a workshop or a seminar or whatever that may be. And when they first walk into these doors, they really don’t know what to expect.
Michelle Short: They don’t. Right.
Matthew Peck: Do you see what I mean? It’s like that’s something that, okay, well what is a typical…
Derek Gregoire: Well, it’s scary.
Matthew Peck: Yeah, it’s scary. You don’t know what the outcome is going to be. You don’t know what they’re going to ask you like the financial advisor. So, I mean, I think one of the biggest things that we tried to I’ve seen still here was, A, as much to make them very comfortable but, B, to let them know that that we’re just regular people like very authentic, very, very down to earth, and we’re here to help and here to serve. And I think that’s all wrapped up in that experience.
Michelle Short: Absolutely. It’s like you all do when you’re in your meetings with your clients. You know, we’re setting the agenda for our guests entering the building no matter which location they’re in. It’s making them feel comfortable understanding what’s going to happen at this first meeting, making sure they know where the kitchen is if they need a cup of coffee or just making them feel comfortable. And we do, we have clients come in just walking on Plymouth Waterfront and they just come in maybe with their dog or just by themselves just to say hi. Maybe get a cookie from Gisele or something but it’s really important to us, their family.
Derek Gregoire: We had some friends last weekend. They went out to dinner locally and then, “Okay. Can we check out your office now?” Because it’s kind of, you know, Plymouth. I live in Lakeville. It’s a little bit of a hike. So, we came into the office and they were like, “Wow. This feels like home.”
Michelle Short: Feels like home.
Derek Gregoire: They’re like, “Who did? I know you didn’t do this, Derek. Who is responsible for this?” And that’s I go, “Michelle.” But yeah, I mean, that’s the cool part is we know we take what we do so seriously because people are investing their life savings with us and coming up with this plan. They just want to make sure they’re going to be okay. And when they walk, not only before the appointment, the conversations, the material sent to them, when they walk in, we want them to feel like their names in the TV. They’re getting cinnamon buns and coffee and warm cookies and popcorn depending on the time of the day. And sometimes there are some songs playing from their era. There are so many little things that little touch points that I think help people just feel welcome.
Michelle Short: And that makes us have fun, employees. We have fun, too. These are our clients. Like, we just have so much fun too and it’s so important to us. You know, the whole team’s dialed in on that. I know they know if Gisele’s away from her desk, the next person just kind of come in and make them feel welcome too. You know, it’s part of our culture here at SHP.
Derek Gregoire: And like you said, and then the thing I’m proud of, Matt, too, is like we have this 24-hour rule and we obviously want to be a lot less than that. But if someone has a question, we want it answered and so we want people to…
Michelle Short: Even if we don’t know the answer, we want to recognize the question.
Derek Gregoire: Clients know. We have a system in place where clients know when not only they feel welcome, they feel welcome to call. There’s no dumb question and if they have a question, they’ll call. They’re going to get a response. Even if you don’t have the answer, “Hey, Mr., Mrs. Jones, we got your email. We got your call. We’re going to look into it. We’ll touch base with you every day until we have the answer.”
Michelle Short: We have that answer.
Matthew Peck: Well, I mean, just think of it from their perspective. I mean, I think even personally speaking, like I’ve sent off an email and I’m like, “Did that person get my message? I don’t know. Did they get my email? I don’t know.”
Michelle Short: Are they going to respond?
Matthew Peck: Everyone gets billions of emails. It’s exaggerating. But every day…
Derek Gregoire: No, you’re not.
Matthew Peck: I mean, we’re buried with email, long story short. And I think it’s extremely important that we recognize like, yes, message received and, yes, we will get back to you.
Michelle Short: We’ve heard you.
Matthew Peck: Yeah, absolutely. And again, from personal speaking, it makes you feel a lot better to know like, “Oh, he got my message or he or she has got my message and now I know that they’re working on it at least. They might not have the answer right off the bat but I feel recognized.”
Michelle Short: Absolutely. I always tell the team, it’s like a tennis match, right? So, you never want to have the ball on your side of the court.
Derek Gregoire: I’m good at sending that thing back.
Michelle Short: You got to get that right out here. Yeah, exactly. So, it’s so true. And back to the office like we want people to feel comfortable. We want people to feel like this is their home. We want people to come and visit even if they don’t have an appointment. You know, it’s just it’s very important to us and it makes our team feel real special too, to come to a place like this. You guys do a really good job of really caring for the team and making them feel special. We spend so much time in the office together. Sometimes we’re working late. Sometimes we’re coming in a weekend, which doesn’t matter but it’s making it feel like it’s not just an office. It’s not a cubicle. It’s not where we punch in, punch out. It’s like truly our second home.
Derek Gregoire: Well, I also like the other thing, too, Michelle helped coordinate was like on every Monday we have a team meeting. The whole team gets together on Zoom and in-person between the three different offices and goes through kind of like what we need to be working on for that week, what are the main things and so forth. And then we also have a leadership meeting. So, our leadership meeting is myself, Keith, Matt, and Michelle. And basically, we always joke around like Michelle is our boss, right? And so, basically, that’s also like what needs to be worked on, what can be improved.
Michelle Short: Keep you on track.
Derek Gregoire: Yeah, exactly. Keeps us on track for and then we also do every – was it six months offsite meeting?
Michelle Short: We do, yeah.
Derek Gregoire: And so, we have a whole team kind of go somewhere offsite with all the team leads. And again, what can we be doing better? What’s good? What can we do better on and what should we do even better in terms of basically just how we run our business, how we run each portion so that you as a client or someone listening, again, it’s not just the numbers of dollars and cents and when can I retire. You want to make sure you feel welcome, you feel comfortable, and the main thing what that does over time is really build trust.
Michelle Short: Absolutely. Yeah. We just had our six-month offsite. We took the department heads offsite, went through a good old-fashioned SWOT analysis. What are our strengths? What our weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Where do we want to individually I’ll go next year? So, we kind of all pulled together our ideas and we have a follow-up this week or next week just where are you going to take these ideas and where are we going to implement? What are our goals going to be for next year? So, that’s exciting and our team loves it because they have a voice too to be heard.
Matthew Peck: Well, yeah. And I also say to that point is that voice kind of channels through you. I mean, that’s one thing, personally speaking that I’m very grateful of is I want to know that our employees, our teammates, our shipmates is something that we do internally, at least. I want them to have a voice in it. I want them to have ownership in it. I want them to come up with ideas because they’re primarily on the front lines. I mean, they’re the ones that are dealing with clients and client questions and client concerns, the experience, and whatnot. And so, I want them that information and that sort of feedback to filter its way up. And then your role here has just been so wonderful to be able to kind of, “Alright. Here’s the vibe right now that people are at.”
Michelle Short: We need to do this or we don’t need to do this.
Matthew Peck: Right. Because one of my biggest things and I remember this actually from a client on the North Shore but just one of the idea it’s like the better your employees are treated in his opinion and I agreed, the better your employees are treated, the more that they feel welcome and included and that they have a voice, the better they then will treat the client.
Derek Gregoire: 100%.
Matthew Peck: You see what I mean? And so, it’s like, I mean, maybe that’s just the golden rule encapsulated but I love how you’ve been able to kind of really have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening and then getting that information up to the leadership.
Michelle Short: Yeah. And then we’re tracking all our numbers, right? So, it’s like what’s working? What’s not? What should we tweak? What should we not tweak? You know, so just going through those and having to be able to take that off your plate so you can just keep running the business is just that’s what I love. That’s what I thrive on and that’s why I wanted to be the COO. So, yeah. We have a great opportunity here.
Derek Gregoire: Well, it helps a ton too because even like the guy coached football and I needed time off to get, not time off, but I couldn’t have certain days. I had to be out at a certain time. And that’s these days and years I don’t want to miss with the kids.
Michelle Short: Absolutely.
Derek Gregoire: We’ll never have it back. So, to have like just behind the scenes, some of that stuff happening does provide a little bit of flexibility around scheduling so that Matt can coach and I can coach and Keith can coach. I’ll just be there for the games or whatever that may be. But I think, like you said, one of the things I didn’t realize early on was you can call it whatever you want but a lot of people call it culture. In the culture, like you said, Matt, where people feel like they have a voice. They feel welcomed internally. I can’t believe, now I can, but I couldn’t believe that it would have that much of an effect on our clients. And so, many of our clients over the years have been like, “Can I work there?”
Matthew Peck: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, yeah.
Derek Gregoire: “Can I work there? Can I work there part-time? How do I get a job there?” like laughing and that when they feel so comfortable, I mean, so much of our business is referrals. Because not only we’ve done I feel like, I don’t want to be biased, we’ve done a really good job in planning and building out. Like, that part is so important but they also feel welcome and trusted like they know, like we’re not perfect. We’re going to do everything we can to do as many of the little things right to give them success to the point where even Michelle has all the different employees come up to hit their bonus each quarter. They have to come up with an idea. And like I’m sure there’s a thousand but one of them is like, “Hey, we need to send out. We’re sending out something to our clients. We should use a nice gold paperclip.” Not that it’s real gold.
Michelle Short: Yeah, it’s not gold.
Derek Gregoire: But it just looks like these clients are these important people. Let’s make them feel special. Instead of putting the regular silver, let’s do gold. And it sounds like a minor thing but it’s all those little touches that make people feel special, I think.
Michelle Short: Yeah. And the team feels heard too.
Derek Gregoire: Exactly because and now that was their idea.
Michelle Short: So, yeah, every quarter they come up with an idea and it’s so neat to implement them. You know, we have so many great ideas and we don’t implement all of them but we do flush them out and see what’s working, what’s not. And that makes us not stay stale as a company, right? And it gives them a voice, which is pretty neat.
Derek Gregoire: Exactly. So, if you think like now that we’ve got 43, 44 employees, whatever it is, and if you look at kind of the next 5 to 10 years, what do you see?
Michelle Short: Ooh, yeah.
Derek Gregoire: You thought about that at all?
Michelle Short: Oh, yeah. Keep going. We always get that like, “What are we going to do?” So, actually, that goes back to our vivid vision. So, we have a vision as a team. It’s fire and foundation. And Matt was a spearhead of that, of course, with input but every three years we update our vision for the team, right? So, it’s like, let’s lay out the next three years. These are our expectations. These are where we want to go together as a team and we report into it and say, “Oh, this is where we are. This is where we got to go.” And so, I do think growth is a big deal. Maybe some expansion. You know, we have so many people to help, so many people to serve that I just don’t know that we’re taking advantage of all that, right? So, I see expansion. I see just helping more, obviously, clients for us and then building up our team.
Matthew Peck: Yeah. Well, and I think too, I think that will be sort of our biggest challenge. So, Derek, you asked over the next five or ten years. I mean, it’s like how do we make sure that that experience never changes or it improves, right? How do we make sure that our culture as we hire, as we said, we started what, there was eight people and now there’s 41, 42 people. How are we able to keep that culture the same, even though our numbers of, gosh, not 10 times 5 or 5 times as many people now. I mean, I guess it’s like maybe this is just too tough of a question but have you thought in terms of that of, okay, what will be the best ways?
Michelle Short: It’s like quality control, right? How do we quality control our internal team to make sure? And I think that’s something that’s on the forefront of every one of the team leads here at SHP. We think of that. We talk about that. The directors all get together and have their own director meeting and they talk about that, making sure we keep that culture alive. It’s hiring good talent, training them. I mean, we have a great training program. Nick and his team. Laura helps. I mean, we just have such a great team to help with that.
Matthew Peck: I’m sorry to interrupt but you’re talking about night and day that we did not have at all. As you would say, we didn’t have a job description, much less training.
Michelle Short: Yeah. I didn’t have a job description when you hired me.
Derek Gregoire: No.
Matthew Peck: No, no.
Michelle Short: Now, we do.
Derek Gregoire: But even like the last like this year, we’ve hired so many like I wouldn’t say so many but like amazing, amazing, amazing talent that I don’t think we’re really able to attract ten years ago. No way.
Michelle Short: Yeah. I think you’re right and I think it’s not just bringing in new people. It’s getting the right team members, the right shipmates. It’s that talent and making sure that we have the best talent for our clients. Best talent.
Derek Gregoire: I think some of the things I’ve realized over the years in some of the success of the firm is a lot of these people have come from corporate America. And the good thing about Keith, Matt, and I is we kind of grew up pretty blue collar and we talked about the different things we did as a kid and Keith in the cranberry bog. And I was drywall and plastering hay bales. Matt had his stuff going.
Matthew Peck: We’re waiting tables, baby. Yeah. That’s the way you do it.
Derek Gregoire: And so, the whole, yeah, I was thinking about that now. But basically, I think we were never in that corporate thing where everyone’s like, “You got to do this and we’re the head people that we’re going to rule over you.” So, I feel like just…
Michelle Short: We’re anti that.
Derek Gregoire: Just being like regular people and this is not a pat in the back. It is not hard to do. Just be a good person. The golden rule is treat people how you want to be treated and not try to…
Michelle Short: Always do the right thing.
Derek Gregoire: Exactly. And I think people know that we can have a conversation in about anything and we’re not going to feel like there’s no issue. Like, someone has to come to us with a concern, a question.
Matthew Peck: And I think too it kind of goes back to what Michelle is saying about the training system. I mean, I love sitting down in that process, sitting down the new hires kind of sharing our history with them because I think part of that culture is the history of how Derek, me, and Keith started out in our mid-twenties and every client was huge. I mean, and if we lost a client, it was life or death and trying to, you know, we would just express that and tell the story to our new hires, “This is why we freak out if you don’t get an email back within 24 hours. It’s part of our DNA. And now, maybe we want to be part of yours.”
Michelle Short: Yeah. No, we can share that. What worked, what didn’t, what we expect. and they appreciate it.
Derek Gregoire: One of the stories, we used to drive to New Hampshire for like a potential $5,000 account and the violins going. I feel like we drive to school in the snow uphill both ways but no. I always joke around and I’ll still say it. They’ll hear it on this podcast but our advisors are pretty good because we used to have like Brian and at least…
Michelle Short: I never forget when I first started, you would take an appointment here in Plymouth and you would drive to Westborough, take one at Westborough, and then go to Woburn, and then you get to get home for dinner with the kids. It’s like I don’t know how you function honestly.
Derek Gregoire: Right. Now, we’re going too far behind the scenes.
Michelle Short: Yeah. No, but you’re right. But you know, you’re giving the next generation a chance to do that. And you’re giving them a path and you’re giving them a team of support that you didn’t have honestly.
Derek Gregoire: That’s one of the most rewarding things to me, personally, is not just the company because it’s seeing all the people like yourself.
Michelle Short: Absolutely, yes.
Derek Gregoire: And Mark and the list goes, I can go on for the whole team but seeing them build their lives and experiences with their family and being able to afford a house and to do this, things they want to do in travel that we like to think that’s all part of like the foundation we all set many years ago together. But that’s super rewarding to see that.
Matthew Peck: Well, I mean, certainly. And Michelle will probably tell you better but like what, three or four babies and three or four weddings and whatnot. I mean, I thought I was done seeing newborns for a little bit.
Michelle Short: No. Erin is last week.
Derek Gregoire: That’s this year.
Matthew Peck: Yeah. You know, all these newborns are coming in and it’s like it’s wonderful.
Derek Gregoire: It is so cool.
Matthew Peck: Yeah. Absolutely.
Michelle Short: They’re like little SHP babies and even we have fur babies. We have all kinds of babies coming into the office. It’s pretty special. You just got a new dog too.
Derek Gregoire: I got a new dog.
Michelle Short: Yeah. It’s like just the growth is just so fun to do it together. Life is so boring if you don’t have each other to do it with, you know? So, it’s cool.
Derek Gregoire: I was asked a question so I’m going to give you time to think about it but I was asked a question on a podcast. I was a guest on a podcast about six months ago and it was like, “If you could go back to your 25-year-old self, anything that you wish you knew then?” For me, it was like I wish I had more business, ideas of running the business and I wish I knew how important culture and team were at that point. So, anything that you think like back that you knew now that you were…
Michelle Short: Yeah. I mean, like I always sweat the small stuff so it’s like I feel like now I don’t sweat the small stuff, right? So, it’s like back in the day you had to micromanage things since I sweat the small stuff. Well, not necessarily here at SHP, my prior life too. It’s like don’t sweat it because it all works out. It all works out. And I think I put a lot of pressure on myself in that sense so I would say that would be a big thing for me.
Derek Gregoire: Yeah. That’s awesome.
Matthew Peck: All right.
Derek Gregoire: All right. Well, Michelle, any final closing thoughts?
Michelle Short: Thank you. No. Let’s go crush our day. Let’s go take a leadership meeting.
Derek Gregoire: Well, thank you, obviously, for everything. We love doing this together. And thank you, everyone, for listening to the SHP Retirement Roadmap. See you soon.
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