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Finance and Fun in Baltimore with Danny Leonard

Danny_Head_shot_2015

Danny Leonard is the Sales Manager at AspireWealth Planners in Hunt Valley, Maryland.  He oversees a team of 12 advisors, who help families, individuals, and businesses grow and preserve their wealth through all life’s stages.  He trains his advisors to take a holistic approach to ensure that each client’s unique needs and goals are identified before helping to guide them down a path to success. He is also an alumni of Stevenson University.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BALTIMORE?

I love the people. There are a lot of tight knit communities in “Smalltimore,” everyone knows each other and I really like that.

WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY ABOUT YOUR WORK?

If I can help people; individuals, families, businesses, plan for current needs and future goals, I know that I am doing my job.  I also want to help make sure my advisors reach their greatest potential. When my advisors are successful, I’m successful.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS AND HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP TO YOUR OWN DEFINITION?

My definition of success is to live each day with a positive outlook, have a feeling of contentment with my circumstances, have balance in all the important areas of my life, and have the time and resources to pursue what I am passionate about.  I would have to say that in my short career I have had many successes and just as many if not more failures, which are the most valuable lessons to learn from.

TO WHAT OR TO WHOM TO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS?

My parents; Both of my parents worked in sales, and I learned at a young age that getting into sales allows you the opportunity to have flexibly, but you must also be good at managing your time. My parents instilled in me that if you want something you have to go out and get it and work hard for it. They were also very involved in my life, never missing any of mine or my brothers sporting events. My parents shaped me to be who I am today. I thank God for them every day for the values and characteristics they instilled in me.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?

This is my only post college job. It’s the only job I know!

HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE OTHERS?

I motivate my advisors by learning what motivates them. I really take the time to get to know my advisors, and learn what’s important to them, learn their goals, and then tailor my leadership towards that. Seeing the look on someone’s face when they’ve succeeded at something they never thought was possible is so rewarding. This motivates me as well because I want to see other people succeed.

WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT OF TOWN GUESTS TO GIVE THEM A FEEL FOR WHAT BALTIMORE IS ABOUT?

I would have to start at Camden Yards.  I have season tickets so there is nothing better than a summer night out at the yard.  You can get a real feel for the community and culture of Baltimore as soon as you walk into the stadium.  I live in Canton, so when people come to visit I like to take them to the square and check out all the local shops in the area.  A nice stroll on the Promenade from Canton to Fells also provides great scenery for out of town guests.

DO YOU EVER SEE YOURSELF MOVING OUT OF BALTIMORE?

No, not any time in the near future.  I am surrounded by a great network of friends, colleagues, and co-workers in the area which always gives me something to do. I’m originally from Cambridge, which is a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  I also have a great network of friends and family over there and could see myself settling down over there later in life.  I guess right now I enjoy having the best of both worlds.

WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR LIFE AND WHY?

My parents; I got to see first-hand their work ethic, passion, and sacrifice. They worked hard to provide a good life for my brother and I, and I would be happy if I’m half as successful as they are. My professional admiration would have to be Cal Ripken. He got up every day, went to work, did his job, and was successful. That’s what I strive to do each day.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER GOTTEN?

I saw a sports psychologist by the name of Kevin Elko at a seminar once.  He had many pearls of wisdom that day, but one really stuck with me.  “Be where your feet are” is what he said.  Concentrate on the task at hand and control the things that you can control.  Also, as cliché as it sounds my mom gave me the best piece of career advice that I’ve ever received. “Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” If you are not putting yourself in uncomfortable situations on a regular basis you will not grow.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR COMPANY?

I love the culture of my company.  Having a winning culture starts from the top all the way down to the bottom.  When you have a clearly defined vision for where you want to go, it creates a culture of excitement and the willingness to do anything for the greater good of the team. In our organization culture is huge. Everyone is important; everyone’s voice matters. With that we also need to have fun, and that is also something that is very important to the people we have at our firm.  Whether it’s a team outing playing paintball or catching an O’s game, it’s important to know the people you work with both in and out of work.  We need to create a culture that works together, not separately, and we will be successful. That’s what my company is all about.

WHAT WORDS OF WISDOM DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS CONSIDERING OPENING THEIR OWN BUSINESS OR JUST STARTING THEIR CAREER?

Create a vision for yourself that breaks down everything that you want to accomplish, whether it’s professional, personally, financially, physically, etc.  Set daily goals in order to accomplish the big goal you have set for yourself.  Wake up each day with a purpose and sense of urgency to accomplish something positive.  Build on each day week, month, and year.  Also, find a mentor or a coach who can help monitor your goals and give you feedback along the way.

Photo Credit: Nick Hood Photography