John Spence: Why I Joined the Wentworth Team
Note from Wentworth Financial Communications CEO Scott Wentworth: In January 2022, our team became exponentially stronger when we added three new team members, including John Spence. From my first conversation with John during the interviewing process, I knew that he was the kind of writer and content strategist we wanted to add to our team. His passion for and knowledge of various nooks and crannies of the asset management industry jumped off the page for me. I know our clients are going to benefit, not just from his writing skill, but from the ideas he generates for how to engage with end investors and financial advisors in relevant, compelling ways.
Like many of us, the pandemic made me take a hard look at my priorities, how I spend my time, and specifically my career. It’s one of the silver linings of the uncertainty of the past couple years, and this soul-searching led to some unexpected insights.
It’s not that my previous roles as a senior investment writer at respected asset-management firms were unfulfilling. I love writing about the markets and working with portfolio managers and other experts to break down complex investment topics into actionable, straightforward ideas for investors and financial professionals.
Something was missing, though. I felt a need to push myself harder, take on more responsibilities, and embrace some risk and adventure. I’m sure it’s something many people can relate to these days.
That’s why I’m thrilled to join Wentworth Financial Communications as Director, Marketing and Content Strategy. This role will give me the chance to help elevate the thought leadership and content marketing for many of the world’s best-known asset managers, as well as premier global investment banks, private equity firms, and accounting firms.
Aside from my desire for a more entrepreneurial opportunity and contributing to business development, this exciting new role gives me the freedom to turn theory into practice in terms of my academic coursework in behavioral finance and digital marketing—two disciplines that are very close to my heart. Finally, as my colleague Connor Martin wrote two years ago, I have great belief in the vision that our CEO, Scott Wentworth, has for the company and the incredibly strong foundation the team has built over the past seven years.
Looking beyond the ‘Great Resignation’
Before sharing more on what drove my own career change, I should emphasize that I’m very fortunate it was a conscious decision. During the pandemic, countless people lost their jobs or were forced into job changes due to health issues, the need to care for a sick family member, or entire industries being upended by COVID-19.
I know that I’m lucky. I also know that I’m not alone in making a career pivot because the number of Americans quitting their jobs has jumped to record levels. What’s going on here?
The pace of workers quitting their jobs has surged during the pandemic
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quits: Total Nonfarm [JTSQUL], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/JTSQUL, January 25, 2022. Shaded areas indicate U.S. recessions.
This massive turnover in the labor market is being dubbed the Great Resignation. There are undoubtedly many complex factors at work, but on a fundamental level, the pandemic has compelled many people to question the value and meaning of their work, and whether it makes them truly happy and helps others. I’m definitely in this camp.
The data also shows that workers are leaving big companies to pursue their dream to start their own business, or join smaller, more nimble firms. You can also count me among this trend.
Fred Wilson, the noted venture capitalist and blogger, is onto something when he writes that maybe what we are witnessing is not the Great Resignation, but rather the Great Formation. In trying to make sense of conflicting employment data, Wilson believes more people are going to work for themselves and/or going into small businesses. That’s certainly true in my case.
I’ve had great career experiences at both huge multinational corporations and tiny start-ups. Needless to say, there are pros and cons associated with both. Deep reflection during the pandemic helped me understand, however, that I want to be part of an exciting, smaller firm with strong momentum and help take it to the next level. So, here I am.
For me personally, this quote from Karin Kimbrough, LinkedIn’s chief economist, to 60 Minutes really captures my recent thinking:
People have been living to work for a very long time. And I think the pandemic brought that moment of reflection for everyone. “What do I wanna do? What makes my heart sing?” And people are thinking, “If not now, then when?”
Pursuing twin passions: behavioral finance and digital marketing
Another silver lining of the pandemic is it’s motivated many of us to pursue educational and career-development opportunities on the side. Half of my joint major in college was in psychology, and I’ve always had a passion for markets and investing, so my interest in behavioral economics and finance is no surprise.
I’m fascinated by the research of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow is a great introduction to the ground-breaking concepts that underpin behavioral finance.
After devouring several books on the subject, I recently completed a course on behavioral finance from Duke University that both challenged and inspired me to pursue more advanced coursework on this discipline in the near future.
One of the most interesting yet bedeviling things about behavioral finance is that no one is immune to bias. Our brains are hardwired by countless years of evolution to survive, adapt, and quickly respond to stimuli in our world. Unfortunately, those mental shortcuts we cleverly employ to get through every day also tend to make us really bad at investing. I’m certainly no exception.
So, behavioral finance has helped me understand and correct my investing mistakes to a degree, but it’s a lifelong journey. Likewise, I believe that the financial services industry has a long way to go in terms of educating people on the importance of psychology in investing. I’m excited to contribute.
Financial services firms also need to catch up on customer digital experience. Today, customers simply expect the same ease of use as Amazon or their favorite smartphone app. That’s why so many of us are excited by the possibilities of Fintech once you get past the hype. At Wentworth, I look forward to leveraging my “Mini-MBA” in digital marketing from Rutgers Business School to help clients improve their customer education and experience.
Joining a winning team
I’m still new to the Wentworth team, but I’ve quickly learned how much our clients appreciate and value the work we do. There is a strong demand for content of all forms that can convey complex investing and financial concepts in a compelling way to customers. The variety of work is also attractive, whether it’s crafting an insightful blog post, video, social media post, white paper, infographic, or client update. I look forward to using my skills and experience from financial journalism and creating engaging thought leadership for global asset managers.
Last but not least, I’ve joined a lean but growing team that has built a strong operational foundation and impressive list of clients across financial services. Now, it’s time to get to work!
Do you have questions for John Spence or about how Wentworth Financial Communications can help you? Reach out to John at email@example.com.
About the Author John Spence is Director, Marketing and Content Strategy, at Wentworth Financial Communications. He collaborates with a team of writers and editors at Wentworth to help professionals across the financial services industry build their brands by creating investment-grade white papers, bylined articles, newsletters, blogs, social media posts, and other forms of content marketing.