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Cammy Smith

Alumni Story

Cammy Smith is the CEO of Integrated Equity Management and Founder of Revive Consulting+. Leading wealth management firms, clients, and business, she strives for value beyond profitability. She has special expertise in the business of financial advisory, exit & succession planning, and business for impact. Cammy is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor, she holds an International MBA from IE Business School, Class of 2015, and a BA from University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business.
POSITION

CEO & President, Integrated Equity Management (IEM)

Nationality

American

Program studied

IMBA, 2015

Current Location

Minneapolis, USA

Q&A WITH CAMMY:

Define your experience in the IMBA in one word.
Life-Changing

What were some of the main challenges that you encountered on your way? How did your master program and IE help you through these challenges?
Something that has been a challenge for me was how do I bridge my passions, my family, my work, and make that all work! I know I want to go out there and help more people and make an impact and set myself up to live in a global world while continuing to work with different people.

What IE taught me was a way to process information and think. Sometimes you make these different connections that are so fascinating when looking back. As I reflect, the idea of life and career is not linear, it’s more like a jungle gym. There are times when you sometimes think “can I really do that?” or “this is too much,” but then you realize all that IE has taught you and that changes your outlook to say “yes I can do x and flip this on its head!”

You recently became the CEO & President of IEM, tell us about your day-to-day at work.
In a nutshell my day-to-day can be summarized into three categories:

  • Clients
    • B2C Service Business
    • Meet with clients to continue building relationships
    • Client Experience
  • Culture
    • Mentoring & Coaching
    • Establishing Culture
    • Long-Term Strategic Planning
  • Community
    • Build relationships and partnerships
    • Develop philanthropy
    • Think about an execute the role that our business plays in our community and society

However, there is so much more. The passion coming out of IE was what I found that really inspired me to grow businesses. One thing that you should know about me is that I really believe in conscious capitalism and the idea that for-profit businesses and free enterprise is a way to a sustainable economy and our objective is to create and add value, and more so towards society and environment.

I like to think about how I can help grow companies to do more of this. The financial services industry in the US has changed so much from the 90s being a product-based business to more of an advice-based business. This trend has changed compliance structures and has increased the use of technology to do a lot of the backend functions, day-to-day middle office functions, and mission critical functions, and advisors haven’t fully adapted to this yet. What has been power source for me is that because I am younger and a digital nomad, I have more body of knowledge around this, which is a unique skillset compared with my peers who might be 50 or 60 years old. And additionally, I was a financial advisor for 7 years, which helps me to critically understand and know what the needs are. IE has provided a lot of tools that I have brought to the firm, for example, design thinking. It’s the idea of creating an end-to-end process for the client from the client’s perspective, mapping out their customer journey, which has been unique for the team and has been helping the team to understand the experience of the client. So, I am able to reengage these advisors and help them do the B2C services for their clients.

This is the first time in 40 years a new CEO has been appointed and you are under 40 years old, how do you feel being an inspiration to young women in finance?
It feels invigorating in one hand and I feel responsible on the other (that’s the part that caught me off guard a little). Because I am now responsible for our team members and their families and 600 households. I am so proud to be in this position because I have worked hard and because it’s not always such a clear path for women. Being a woman in this position, it’s different. I think about the responsibility I have towards the less seen people. As you know, the financial services industry in the US is predominantly white male. For me, I am an ally and advocate for other women to inspire female leadership at this level. We struggle a bit with informal culture and being able to navigate that and use this opportunity as a platform for other people makes me really proud. It’s having the ability to take the business and what we do to the next level.

I feel invigorated because there are so many cool things that we can do. I am getting really inspired with the idea of impact compounding impact and the deeper role we can play in our clients lives and communities. I think that COVID-19 has shaped this because I am realizing that more and more of our clients are coming to us and talking to us about wanting to make more impact in their lives and communities. I am thinking about how we can help facilitate some of that because we have this incredible network of amazing people who happen to be our clients. Financial planning and wealth management is good, but what motivates me is that if you are doing it right it can be a social enterprise. It’s much more than old school way of just managing investments, we help people walk through their lives and journeys and if we can help take care of them and remove that burden from their lives and flip it into empowerment, that is an incredible role to be in to help them become leaders of positive change in their communities.

You also founded Revive Consulting+, can you tell us a bit about your experience founding a company?
I developed Revive because I noticed this problem that financial advisory firms and financial advisors have in the US. It motivated me to find a way to help them as they are often forgotten or commoditized. Entrepreneurship can look different and take many forms. This is one of the things I learned at IE. I looked at Revive as a way to (1) help people, (2) try some things, and (3) learn. It has served as a launching pad for developing a methodology, meeting new people, and learning.

Finding a company – It’s hard! A lot of switching gears – all the time!! But, it can be very rewarding also. I now am enjoying the flexibility. Going to IE and having the classes like entrepreneurial acquisition has given me the ability to think differently about entrepreneurship, which leads to thinking about different ways to do business.

How did your experience at IE prepare you for your professional career? In what ways do you think program has changed your life professionally and personally?
When I think about IE, I literally talk about my life in 2 segments. It’s life before IE and life after IE. It’s incredible and profound that I can think and talk about my life and experience in 2 different segments. I feel totally different as my self during and since IE and it has been all positive. I felt like I found myself and I was able to cultivate facets of myself that were there but weren’t showing. IE gave me a lot. I found my tribe and there are times when that we reminisce about IE as if it was yesterday, I gained confidence to be curious and explore, and when I feel a little different, it’s okay. I tap into my IE side.

Professionally, IE was a launching pad and taught me a way to think. I got access and exposure. The exposure to things, to concepts, to ideas, to people, to ways of thinking, which was incredible. Additionally, I have access to a global community, access to deep culture, and to smart people (smart in a way that these individuals promote forward thinking and have deeper sense of commitment to the world).

Do you have any advice for IE students and alumni who are looking to pursue a career in your field? What skills do you consider are needed to succeed in your field?
Finance has been quite traditional, typically, so it’s a great opportunity for IE alumni to shape the future! We are a little stuck in the ‘way we have always done it.’ But the reality is that other industries are affecting consumer behavior changes. So, this creates an opportunity for forward-thinking people to add value. There are many skills needed across the industry to help modernize it, for example:

  • Understanding of the world
  • How to work with others and influence
  • Translation/communication of technology and the role it can play – how to leverage it

What skills would you recommend job seekers develop to make them more competitive in today’s workforce?

  • Critical thinking
  • Self-management for a sustainable career
  • Adaptability
  • Cultural Competency
  • Honing your own intuition
  • Spotting patterns

Tell us about the IE alumni community and the impact they have had in your life and/or career. Why do you think it’s important to engage with the IE alumni community? What was networking like in the program?
In my experience, it was less networking and more about genuine friendships. My IE friends are now my best friends in my life. After IE, the alumni community has served as a way to move to a new city and plug right in. Most of our friends in Miami are either IE Alumni or friends that we have met through IE friends. It’s incredible! I was also the IE Alumni Club Miami President for 2 years and part of the board for 4 years, which allowed me to meet so many more wonderful people. This spirit, community, and connection that I have, I have not found elsewhere.

Networking with alumni as a student was also so easy and helpful. It allowed me to learn and explore so many new concepts, career paths, and information – access to so many smart, humble, fun people.

What’s the best career advice you have ever been given?
“Enjoy the meal…”

I was thinking about this question and usually the career advice you get is kind of boring or typical cliché. As I was thinking more about this, I remembered my best friend from IE, she gave me the best advice, which is to enjoy the meal. I have a tendency to want to go to the next thing, very driven, and I think at some point along the path, I am doing so much and moving so fast, which is not a bad thing, it’s also inspiring because I feel like an entrepreneur. But then you lose site of the day-to-day. The minutes add up to hours, to days, to weeks, to years, and all of sudden everything has flown by and so I think it’s important to slow down and enjoy the meal and relish it and living in Spain, you really learn how to slow down and truly savor the moment. Spain gave me the opportunity to slow down and really take in every part of the “meal.”

If someone was considering going to IE, what would you tell them?
DO IT!!!

Why did you choose to study this program at IE?
I wanted something different. I wanted to get a broad perspective on life and business from outside of the US. We are a global society now and I think it’s important to have this deeper understanding of others. And look what COVID has done – we have now been living in this virtual world and it’s opening all sorts of avenues across the globe!

What is one thing you wished you knew, when you were a student? What advice would you give to students who are about to begin the program?

  • Revel in the experience. Enjoy it.
  • Don’t take grades or life too seriously.
  • Trust yourself.
  • Life is not an accomplishment. It’s meant for enjoying.

What was your favorite memory from your time at IE?
It’s so hard to choose just one memory. It was the whole experience. I do have this one memory from the Global Village, and that it was just phenomenal. It was in the courtyard of MM31 and there were so many different clubs and countries representing their cultures, traditions through food stands, music, and dancing. Everyone was showcasing their home countries it was incredible and the food was just so delicious. Many were dressed in their traditional clothing and it was the coolest experience.

If you could display a billboard to the entire world, what would your billboard say?
Be kind

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