The payoff for the time Michelle R. Seitz has devoted to her profession rests in a personal file, in which she keeps countless letters from clients and their families, as well as those from colleagues and partners, thanking her for her dedication.
“That personal file defines my career,” says Seitz, head of investment management at William Blair. “We’ve done wonderful things as a team. At the end of the day if you’re not having an impact on the people you serve, then you are not doing much to help anything.”
Along with several colleagues, Seitz helped launch William Blair’s family wealth conference, an annual outreach effort established to provide education for high-net-worth families with complex financial challenges.
“We wanted to make sure the topic of money was not taboo and people were proactively dealing with this throughout generations and with their spouses, which tended to be women,” she says. “The matriarchs of the family were not as interested, or included, in talking about these facets of their lives.”
Prior to her nearly 17 years of executive leadership at the firm, Seitz headed William Blair’s wealth management services and private wealth management unit. Before that she held multiple portfolio management roles with William Blair, Concord Investment Company and NationsBank.
Today Seitz sits on the Kelly School of Business investment management academy advisory board at Indiana University — the same board she sought to impress while an undergrad.
Seitz cherishes such memories, just like the letters in her personal file. “The first big client that I won at William Blair is still a client today,” she says. “He was larger than life and he was the first big win.”
None are more important than the lessons from her father.
“[He told me] you can learn and do anything if you work and study hard enough,” she recalls. “He made learning the automatic reflex to any challenge that I had in life.”