Blaze a Trail

by Aaron Jack, Chief Development Officer

There is a large reservoir near my home that has hills of varied size. Perfect for sledding in the rare instance of snow in Oklahoma City, the hills also represent a great workout opportunity.

There are several options, but historically I’ve settled on one that balances distance and the challenge of a steep slope. An admitted creature of habit, I always return to the same starting point.

Soon after incorporating the hill into my workouts, I noticed a path was beginning to appear from my steps. Whether the grass is overgrown from the summer rain or brown from a recent freeze, I can always find my path.

I take pride in the fact that my hard work has blazed a trail.

Twenty years ago, a group of people in Oklahoma City decided to carve out a new path. Concerned about the consolidation of the banking industry, the Payne family and a group of professionals from Liberty Bank started Heritage Trust out of the trunk of a car in 1998.

Fast-forward 20 years, and today, we are the largest trust-based wealth management firm in the South. I’m honored to have had the chance to play a small part
in this success story. Our team at Heritage has blazed quite a trail.

Walking home from a recent workout, I reflected on the Heritage Trust journey. While the story is far from finished, our 20th anniversary represents a time to
reflect on lessons learned, celebrate success and look to the future. Here are three quick leadership/legacy thoughts that come to mind:

WIN THE DAY. There is no shortcut. Success comes one step at a time. I personally grow tired of trite corporate sayings. However, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” is one that stands the test of time. The trail on the hill began with a single step, followed by thousands more. Our success at Heritage came by serving our clients for a single day, followed by over 7,300 more. The best chance each of us has to influence the future is the opportunity of today. Take the first step.

TREAT PEOPLE WELL. This sounds simple, but sometimes it’s the most difficult principle of all. One of my favorite sayings is this: “People remember 7 percent of what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel.” It’s a concept our founders never let us forget. So many in our field focus on pushing product sand forget why they’re in business in the first place — the people. Our fiduciary duty sits at the core of our decision making, but I’m always most impressed with how our professionals strive to truly know our clients, their situations and why they are sitting across the table from us. We take great pride in the relationship part of our business. 

HUMBLE CONFIDENCE. In a recent blog, Argent CEO, Kyle McDonald, wrote the following: “Being a fiduciary means you are in the service business, and to serve someone you must place your needs behind the needs of the other — i.e., be humble — but you also must have confidence in your abilities, or your service will be of little value.” For 20 years, we’ve aimed to keep the client at the center of everything we do. Our responsibility as a fiduciary is not to sell a product, but to learn what is in the client’s best interest and do all we can to see that those interests are met. Since 1998, we’ve taken this approach to serve Oklahoma families and institutions. I’m excited about many more anniversaries to come. 2017 Heritage Grand Opening at The Heritage