When asked to participate in writing for the Boston Trust Walden culture blog, I realized what writer’s block is… What could I possibly write about? What is going on in my life that any colleague—let alone clients and the general public—might find interesting?
But, as I think of 2021, I realize perhaps my 30-year anniversary at Boston Trust Walden Company (also known to me as Boston Trust & Investment Management Company (BTIM) and United States Trust Company (UST) before that) in June might offer some food for thought—even if just, “My, how time flies!”
I joined a very esteemed group of colleagues back in 1991, many of whom are still here and sadly, for a variety of reasons, many of whom are not. I have valued so many relationships over the course of thirty years. There are many that resonate with me and it would definitely be too much to mention each and every one. But I would be remiss if I didn’t name two in particular.
Domenic, our chairman and former CEO, sought me out to offer me a position at UST when he became aware that the startup commercial bank I had dedicated much sweat equity to for several years was ceasing operation. It was not only a professional decision but a very emotional one for me to commit to anything new, or even very familiar, at that point in my life. He convinced me it was the right choice to “move on” and come back to UST where my career in financial services had begun. And it was.
I value the professional relationship Domenic and I developed and our accomplishments with each and every client we have served over time. Not everything has been perfect but I believe we each have done our best and were better together as a result. We have also teamed up with so many other wonderful professionals over the years that have made our company’s success possible. I am thankful for every one of them every day.
The other relationship most important to me is my personal and professional relationship with my dear friend and colleague, Trish, who passed away in September 2019. Our years together as friends first, and as Boston Trust Walden colleagues second, are some of the fondest memories of my life. Thank you, Trish!
Trish and Ellen in Boston Harbor in 2007
If you had asked me when I joined UST back in 1991 if I would be writing something like this now, I would probably have been very skeptical or just laughed… 30 years? No way! That skepticism would not have been for any business reason, per se, but more about how life can take you in so many directions and that milestone would have seemed quite impossible at the time. While indeed I did end up here for thirty years, I could not have been prepared for how this company would allow for (and often embrace) all the changes in my life over that time. For this, I am also very thankful.
I strongly believe that life is about choices and things happen for a reason as a result. My husband Scott of 32+ years and my children, Dan (age 28) and Ethan (age 25), will tell you (since I state this often) that my life at Boston Trust Walden is a testament to just that.
I work hard, take great pride in what I do well, and try to admit when “I don’t know what I don’t know.” These qualities are not unique to me but are common amongst most, if not all, of our employees. We all share a regard for high professional standards and I believe this allows us to represent the company in the strongest possible light. I’ve found most clients appreciate this dedication, which distinguishes us from many other organizations. Our personal approach to client service serves to keep all of us humble in the fast-paced, ever-changing industry in which we operate.
When I interview potential hires for Boston Trust Walden, I often get the question: “What has kept you here for so long?” I am honest when I say, “While this organization is not a perfect fit for everyone, it has been for me.” The reason for this is that my career at Boston Trust Walden has been about honesty and “give and take” flexibility. Flexibility isn’t always easy, however, and never perfect, but it can work, especially if you are committed to making the best of every circumstance.
I hope to continue my commitment here for more years to come—maybe not another thirty but then again, maybe you’ll see something like this from me again in 2051, you never know! Time will tell and time does fly, doesn’t it?