Dawn Rapoport of Waddell & Associates shares why COOs and their companies are a "unique bunch"
Note: This is the ninth entry in our new weekly blog, "Beyond the Bio," where we ask MBQ Power Players to write a post of their choosing about their industry. Last week, we had the fifth entry from our January/February Power Players category, Chief Operations Officers in which Chuck Woeppel, COO of UT Medical Group, addressed the future of health care. Previously, Mary Sharp, COO of CB Richard Ellis, discussed why business plans are so crucial to have to fall back on in a time of crises. Lee Rone, COO of Youth Villages, shared why youth are so important to the family unity and the community. Richard McDuffie, COO of Dunavant Logistics, discussed the impact of technology on business. Check this space weekly for future installments of "Beyond the Bio."
If you put a group of Chief Operating Officers in a room and ask them to describe their responsibilities, chances are that no two answers will be alike. As the co-pilot to the firm’s leader, a COO’s value can take many forms. From managing day-to-day operations, setting strategy, and implementing systems, the COO must find ways to establish the foundation from which a company can thrive.
At Waddell & Associates, there is a high priority placed on strategy and systems, but we place a high value on maintaining our culture in line with our process. What I love about my role is that I can contribute to this culture and strive to enhance it. My goal is to help align the systems and resources of our firm so that we can be effective in helping clients.
But, experience tells me that our success will come from integrating change without sacrificing what already makes us strong. This is the most rewarding element of my role, and sometimes the most challenging. I want employees to feel they can do their best work, and clients to know they receive our best work. Change must be embraced because it makes sense, not resisted because there is no perceived value.
I worked with Waddell & Associates for nine years before taking on my current role, so I knew the company had a unique culture that was appealing to both employees and clients.
As the New Year starts, we have a great deal of momentum at our firm, and I believe it’s directly attributed to this culture and the systems that support it. Communications are strong, expectations are clear, opinions are valued, and everyone contributes. At the same time, we are investing back into the firm and implementing new services, all while maintaining clients’ goals as the priority. The reward for these efforts is seeing success for those we serve.
The role of each COO can be infinitely satisfying, allowing for meaningful contributions to meeting the objectives of your clients and your organization. But, it is even more rewarding when the unique elements of your firm are accepted and celebrated in the process.
Power Player Bio: Dawn Rapoport
Chief Operating Officer, Waddell & Associates. Received B.A. in Economics from Tulane University, and holds the Certified Financial Planner designation. Responsible for managing strategy, execution, and business operations for Waddell & Associates, a leading wealth management firm for individuals and institutions. Has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including advisory roles at Raymond James and Ernst & Young. Held several roles at Charles Schwab in San Francisco and Atlanta, most recently spending eight years managing its top institutional relationships with independent advisory firms across the Southeast. Former board member for the National Capital Chapter of the Financial Planning Association and for the Young Benefactors of the Smithsonian.