In hopes of spreading the word and expanding membership, the Crow River News talked with the STMA Rotary Club’s new president, Derek Larson.
Larson is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in St. Michael, and is tremendously passionate about rotary and giving back to the community.
Q: When did you first get involved with rotary?
A: “I got involved in the fall of 2019, and I was approached by a current rotarian who said, ‘Hey, you would be a great fit for our group.’ I had started my career just over two years before in St. Michael, and I knew that I wanted to be involved in the community outside of my business focus and give back. It was kind of meant to be, since another fellow rotarian reached out to me and I went to a few meetings, and what was really and I was pinned in December of 2019.”
Q: What were you hoping to get out of it?
A: “It was to stretch myself as a person, to meet new people and really kind of follow their lead in learning how to give back to the community. It was my first entry into the community, or in a service role outside of the business aspect, so it was just to get plugged into the community and to give my time when I can.”
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your professional trajectory, and how your involvement with rotary has helped support that?
A: “ I started just over two years ago in the community, and you really have to work hard to get your name out there and market yourself when serving clients and when gaining new clients. I’m involved in the I-94 West Chamber of Commerce, too, but that really is a business focus. But for rotary, it really is 100%, primarily focused on giving and helping out where I can. In respect to my business, I would say it just helps to have people know me as a person first … That’s the biggest thing I want, I want them to know me as a person first, and business secondary.”
Q: So … Why STMA?
A: “When I became an advisor with Edward Jones, my primary focus was that I probably should work right where I live, but there are dynamics happening around and we had a huge influx of new advisors come in from many different other industries. It was a quick restructure of saying, ‘Hey Derek, there’s an opportunity in St. Michael with the current advisor there, he wants to do an asset sharing plan. And I knew it’s a thriving area, and I was super, super excited for the opportunity. The St. Michael-Albertville area definitely needed support in the sense of serving clients, because advisors can only handle so much.
I was very excited that the opportunity routed me to St. Michael, which naturally led me to dive in with both feet and join the community as best I can to become visible and let them know I’m here to help the local community members with whatever needs they have, whether it’s the financial side or in the sense of community service.”
Q: Why should community members get involved with rotary and its members?
A: “I would say two main things. One is, it’s fun ... It actually is fun. And it should be fun. And if you can give your time, you can make a definite impact on people’s lives. Rotary is known as Rotary International, since it’s not just our community focus, which is primary, but we can apply for grants and focus outside the US. It’s fun, you grow as a professional and as a person, and by giving your time, you know how to impact lives.”
Q: Anything new and exciting in the works?
A: “Edward Jones is typically known for having their branch offices, with each branch office having one advisor with one branch office administrator … that’s how it’s been for many, many years. There’s an intimate style of environment that a couple or an individual living in the community can literally walk through the door, and it’s a very one-on-one focus, very personal. But St. Michael has now been approved by our home offices in St. Louis, and we’re going to be adding a multi-FA (financial advisor) multi FA office structure, and we’re the second in the state for a pilot office structure like this. It’s really, really exciting, and the location is yet to be determined. We’re probably a year out, but we’re gonna have multiple advisors with three to four branch office administrators in the location.
I think the expectations of clients are somewhat elevating, and I’m only speaking to this and the general knowledge that when you think of the younger generation coming forward, as they become career people and they start earning money and saving on their 401k, is that for these younger people, the one-on-one advisor, the very quiet and intimate office might be kind of weird, versus that more communal, active type of office setting that millennials like.”