Jul. 2020

Circles of Trust

Covid-19 has allowed a new term to enter our lexicon. For many people it describes others that take similar precautions and therefore can be trusted, perhaps even indoors and without masks.

For me, this is an old expression, and I am fortunate to enjoy many circles of trust. This post in particular will focus on my professional life. I am deeply grateful for these circles.

My first circle is our team. E5A was already a decentralized firm. We operate out of Europe, Canada, California, Texas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Florida, and even the far off corners of Brooklyn and the Upper East and West sides of Manhattan. Only the youngest members of the team are expected in the office most days, and fortunately, they were well enough trained in early March that they transitioned pretty quickly when we began working remotely.

With our team, and with our entire circle, we only Zoom and FaceTime. Seeing each other is good for connection, and seeing facial expressions, even on a small screen, allows for a unique understanding of nuance. I have both a spoken and unspoken gratitude for each of these circles. I still get frustrated, but I also have enough EQ to check in when necessary.

My second circle consists of our freelancers and consultants, many of whom I have worked with for a long time—some since the late 1990s (I know, I am “well seasoned”). The pandemic made us closer, forcing us to listen more carefully than ever before, especially to conversations surrounding general health and mental health.

My next circle is our partner firms: media, data, email, software. The pandemic’s hit to the economy has heightened our awareness of our interdependence. It has brought front and center how and why we use each tool, select each firm, and value each relationship.

The next circle is our clients. We are an important part of their circle of trust, just as they are of ours. Our sense of purpose, as well as many of our senses, has reached new heights, allowing us to thrive and pushing us to do our best work. (The stakes and pressure to succeed feel even higher during a pandemic.) Our 2020 assignments have pushed us to draw upon our life experiences like never before; I have felt more heart, awareness, and focus now than at any other time in my career.

A circle of trust that doesn’t specifically involve humans is our process. Since scaling my first agency, I have understood the power of process. Becoming a portfolio manager and a chief investment officer has made the power processes stable and scalable. Our processes help make our circles of trust possible, and I am grateful for them.

Lastly, I’d like to touch upon the circle of our ecosystem. We work with some of the best and most reliable lawyers, accountants, broker-dealers, fintech firms, and media tech firms. As a group, we refer clients across this network of professional service firms that we know and rely on.  In this circle, there are no referral fees; all we want from each other is the best work for our clients. While we don’t speak daily or go to dinner often, what we have is real and deep. We know each other, understand our strengths, and are aware of how integral we are to accomplishing client goals and moving our collective industries forward.

Whatever comes next—with the virus, the economy, or our industry—we are all leaning into the power of meaningful relationships and resources. By doing so, we recognize, appreciate, and nurture our circles of trust.


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