Coached to Play Football and Lead Advisors

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Football was a part of Tony Barrett's life from the time he was a child playing the game with his brothers in Toronto. But when he got to high school, a key figure in the game would offer him advice that would lead him to a career in wealth management.

High school football coaches make lasting impressions on their players, as was the case with Barrett. His coach happened to mention he was a financial advisor, and punted the idea to him of becoming and one as well.

"I had, and have, a lot of respect for him," says Barrett. "So, it weighted heavily on my college and career choice."

Barrett was born in Jamaica and moved with his family to Ontario, Canada, at age five on a nursing exchange program his mother participated in. After high school, he moved to the U.S. to play football and study economics at Colgate University. After graduation, Barrett moved to Charlottesville, Va., to work for a year as a mergers and acquisitions analyst for SNL Financial. Barrett then moved to Richmond as a financial advisor trainee with Merrill Lynch.

Barrett credits his time on the football field for providing him with the ability to focus on team success before individual success, manage egos, be goal-oriented and competitive. Along the way, he developed a strong determination for building a business, through the hard work of cold calling.

"I was told: talk to 50 decision makers a day. Do that consistently every day, and you will be able to build a practice," he says.

He landed at Raymond James six years ago. One of his crowning achievements, so far, was helping establish the Black Financial Advisors Network at Raymond James. The inspiration for it began after a colleague inquired whether there was company literature for Black History Month. "I went to marketing and found that there was nothing formal to even acknowledge it," he says. "Eventually, I called up the president and he agreed that we don't focus on this and we should."

These days, when Barrett picks up the phone to cold call, it's in his role as a complex manager, looking for new recruits. He admits, "It's a lot easier calling advisors than it was calling ma and pa Kettle, who had Jeopardy! on in the background."

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