Employee Stories: Zack Brewer
October 07, 2022
Zack's Perspective – Self-Development and Building Relationships
Zack’s story with Heartland Bank started in 2013 when he began his career as a Banker. A short time later, Zack had the opportunity to transition into Wealth Management as a Wealth Management Assistant. Now a Financial Planning Advisor, Zack has had an incredible journey in building his career within Heartland Bank's Wealth Management Division. Zack’s ability to connect with those around him and build meaningful relationships is what makes him a standout employee at Heartland Bank.
Those that have the opportunity to work with Zack know that he has a genuine soul and truly cares about the well-being of both his clients and his co-workers. Whether it’s asking how your vacation was or checking in on a family member, Zack truly listens to you and cares. Clients often comment on how they love working with Zack due to his compassionate demeanor and his ability to put them at ease.
Outside of work, Zack spends his time with his wife, Jenna, and their three-year-old son, Bennett. With a toddler in tow, there is no shortage of adventure for his family! They enjoy exploring parks and are involved with their church. Zack also enjoys reading, listening to music, and watching all things sports.
After graduating from DePaul University in Chicago with a degree in Business Administration in 2013, I was ready for a job that would allow me to work a set schedule with time off on nights, weekends, and holidays. I was living in Chicago at the time, and I wanted to move closer to my then-girlfriend (now-wife) who was living in Bloomington. Her parents recommended that I apply to Heartland Bank. The type of work, location, and benefits seemed favorable. So, I applied and got the job! I started as a Banker and stayed in that role for a short time before the opportunity to move into Wealth Management presented itself in April 2014.
Finding Your Career Path
I feel that my career path has been unique. I didn’t start my career at Heartland Bank thinking, “I’m going to be a Financial Planning Advisor someday.” I had no prior experience in Wealth Management before applying for the Wealth Management Assistant position in 2014. It was recommended that I apply for the position by my Retail Manager at the time, Midge Roth. After listening to her recommendation, I agreed that it sounded like an interesting department in which to work, so I applied. What I discovered was that my job eventually became my career. After working in the department for a couple years and learning more about the wealth management industry, I decided to pursue the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification starting in 2016. I obtained the CFP® certification in 2019, which led to me stepping into my current position, Financial Planning Advisor.
My career path within Wealth Management is unique in that each position that I’ve held has been a newly created role. My first position in Wealth Management was called Wealth Management Assistant where I assisted the Wealth Management Director and the Senior Wealth Advisor, helping them with meeting preparation, account maintenance, and client servicing. Being in this role was a great opportunity to learn more about the department. I was able to sit in on client meetings and ask questions of advisors that had years of experience in the industry. In September 2017, I was promoted to Wealth Management Specialist. I held onto many of my previous support responsibilities but also became the administrator for a small book of clients and began creating financial plans for our clients. In March 2021, I was promoted to Financial Planning Advisor. When I became the Financial Planning Advisor, I shed my support responsibilities. Now I spend most of my time creating and updating financial plans for our clients while still serving as the advisor on a book of my own accounts.
Support from Managers
The influence of my managers and co-workers during my time at Heartland Bank cannot be overestimated! At each step of the way, I have received support and encouragement from them, whether it was in Retail or Wealth Management. They have given me patience as I’ve gained experience and affirmation as I’ve achieved milestones along the way.
Heartland Bank's Culture
The Heartland Bank team is one that, if you are willing to work hard and be teachable, will offer support as you pursue your career goals. We are here to help one another as we provide a positive, valuable, and memorable customer service experience for our clients. This is an accomplishment that no single employee can achieve on their own – it truly takes the team to arrive at that goal. When we each know our role and aim to be excellent in that role, that is when we achieve the best results. I have also appreciated how the Bank encourages taking time off from work with vacation time or paid time off. I read articles about experiences others have had at different companies that do not have the same perspective on time away from the office, and it makes me thankful to work at a place that is supportive of taking time off regularly.
Advice from Zack
To those looking for advancement opportunities, I have three tips. First, I would encourage you to be faithful with what has been entrusted to you, however unimportant it may seem at the time. I’ve found that when you are a good steward with the tasks and responsibilities delegated to you, you won’t have to go looking for advancement opportunities…they will find you! Second, being friendly and kind to others goes a long way. I’ve been in banking long enough to realize that the banking world is a very small world. Whether it is someone you worked with in a previous department here at Heartland Bank or an acquaintance who worked at a different financial institution entirely, treat them well. It is more likely than you think that you will end up working closely with them in the future! Lastly, I recommend looking for ways you can serve others around you (co-workers, customers, etc.) C.S. Lewis said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.” Often, one of the results of displaying this type of "others-focused" humility is an advancement opportunity, even though it may not be your underlying motivation for serving others.