Employee Spotlight - William Whitaker
You talk to him in the meetings, but do you really know William Whitaker? Does he just live in that 12x12 office doing tax projections all day or what? Where did he come from and where is he going?
William always knew he wanted to do something in the finance field. When a family friend asked what 7-year-old William wanted to be when he grew up, he answered excitedly: “A TAX ATTORNEY!” to which he was later ridiculed by his 5 older siblings.
Fast forward 30 years and William has spent nearly half of that time helping to improve the lives of the people he serves. After graduating from Ohio State, he went on to obtain his Master's Degree in Financial Planning. This provided a deepened skill set for his clients to draw on, allowed him to teach at Franklin University, provide pro-bono advice throughout the Dublin Public School System, and serve various board positions for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.
We hope you enjoy our brief interview with William Whitaker:
- What accomplishment are you most proud of?
It was my first taste of politics as I ran a highly competitive campaign to gain my board seat for the Navin Elementary PTO. With voter turnout low, 1 registered voter, I secured my spot as treasurer by a vote of 1-0!
In all seriousness, I am most proud of my time spent as a father. My daughter Lilly (7) and son Cason (4) are the reason I get out of bed every morning. Giving them opportunities, watching them succeed, just being part of their journey of growth is my greatest accomplishment.
- Why financial planning?
Over the last two years, I have had the opportunity to meet all of our 100 family households at Vawter Financial. My passion for wanting to help them live their best lives is what drives me; seeing business owners transition firms, seeing parents send their kids off to college, and being able to tell someone that their continuing to work is optional. Just being a small part of so many success stories makes life complete.
- Where do you see VF going in the future?
Having 2 years under my belt with the VF team, I can easily say this is one of the best teams I have ever worked with. From the nearly 3 decades of industry experience that Gary brings (even if he does some goofy videos – like "Don't Burn the Salad"), to the fresh new perspective that Katrina brings from recent academia, to the amazing customer service provided by Jackie and Amy.
With our team deciding to transition to flat fees, I believe that we are on the cutting edge of changing the way our industry thinks. We continue to remove any conflicts of interest to make sure that the client is always put first. Can you believe that over 90% of other advisors don’t even have to do what is best for the people they serve? Those are your friends and family! While we continue to focus on growth of the firm to be able to save people from this other 90%, we will only do it in a way that maintains a high service model to our clients.
- What do you order on your pizza?
While I am very adventurous when it comes to things I am willing to do and try (hot air balloon, scuba, train ride in Alaska), when it comes to food I find something I like and stick with it. I will always go for pepperoni pizza, or plain vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
- What was the biggest change that happened in your life last year?
In 2018 my wife, Kristen, started an online-boutique (www.ellaannboutique.com) with a friend. I have been deepening my understanding of the entrepreneur lifestyle (or is that just the normal ups and downs of being married). While it has been successful, they have leaned on me to help with everything from taxes, bookkeeping, entity structure, and debt structure. I have a new-found respect for small business owners. Who said anything about a 70-page partnership return and sales tax filings!?!?
- Coke or Pepsi?
Pepsi in a can, but Coke from a fountain. Odd I know.
- What advice would you give 7-year-old William today?
Spend time with your parents as they age too quickly. Spend time with your kids as they grow too quickly. Spend time with your friends as you can grow apart too quickly. Time is one of your most valuable assets…use it well.
- Where are you going this summer?
We have never been to northern *ichigan and plan to take the kids on a trip up there at some point this year. This August, my beautiful wife and I will be married for 10 years. I remember on our honeymoon she said she wanted to go to Paris for our 10th anniversary. So, I recently booked a room at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Paris... Kentucky. She wasn’t amused…so we are still negotiating. See communication in marriage IS everything!
- Anything you want to say in closing?
I'm living my childhood dream albeit few would "dream" of being drawn to advising people on taxes and financial matters...that is unless they realized how much that can help people to reach their goals. Working as part of VF's team and with our valued clients is a great complement to my circle of family and friends outside of my 12x12 office. I'm a Pepsi, pepperoni pizza, and plain vanilla guy even if I might want to have lunch in a hot air balloon. In the future, if things go really well, I might even seek re-election to my PTO position!