February 2020

The Too Often Overlooked Real Center Of Our Universe

Insight-generating, client-swaying, wisdom-sharing and revenue-generating MDs and Senior Vice Presidents are fuel that power Jefferies.  The pressures are great, the responsibilities enormous and the rewards ample.  These leaders are respected seasoned veterans and we are lucky to have them at Jefferies.

Analysts and associates work long hours and make huge sacrifices while they do their best to learn and contribute in our frenetic world — the first 10,000 hours can be the great base on which a person's career is built.  We talk about them a lot, worry about their mental and physical well-being often, and try our best to teach them and thoroughly enjoy their earnestness, optimism, excitement and passion.  They spend a lot of time with each other at crazy hours and have their own way of life, forms of communication and ways of supporting each other.

But what about the center of Jefferies — the Vice Presidents amongst us in all areas of the firm?  These are the men and women who have worked incredibly hard for more than 10,000 hours and have paid enormous dues to Jefferies and our clients.   Because we are such a lean and flat organization, they hopefully each have responsibilities that push them constantly to a point beyond their comfort zones.

Our Vice Presidents are responsible for managing our most important deals/pitches/trades/research/projects and overseeing all the juniors working with them.  For our analysts and associates, our Vice Presidents are their motivators, mentors, therapists, strategists and technicians.  It’s quite a lot to juggle.

Our Vice Presidents also are required to manage our SVPs and MDs. Rarely do our most senior people have the time to calmly and meticulously lay out the full scope and magnitude of what truly needs to be done to get our clients or internal leaders the right “final product.”  Our most senior people are traveling around the globe, are continually bombarded by real-time client interaction and, quite frankly, have conveniently forgotten how hard it really is to constantly produce an A+ final product.  This is partially because our teams have spoiled our most senior folks because they do a great job every day and make it look so easy.  Regardless, our Vice Presidents must also manage their “Seniors” by being mind readers and creative, original and broad thinkers. It really takes a very unique person with remarkable skills, common sense, poise and perspective to excel as a Vice President.

Let’s not forget one of the most important things about being a Vice President.  Nobody comes to Jefferies with the sole career aspiration to be a Vice President.  In the outside world it sounds like a lofty title, but in the world we live in,  we all know we want ever increasing responsibility,  constant learning, wealth creation and the ability to always make a difference. Because we hold them in such high regard, we are designating this February as Vice President Appreciation Month.  We are asking every junior and senior to make the effort to appropriately thank the Vice Presidents that are so important to them.  The juniors should be thanking them for being their mentors and coaches, and caring about their lives and careers.  The seniors should be thanking them for always making them look so good and smart. They should also go out of their way to ask them how they can better help mentor, teach, and groom the Vice Presidents to be the best they can be, so they too can advance their career.  If we do this from above and below, the center of our firm will bring us all to the next level together.

Happy Vice Presidents’ Month!

Rich and Brian


CEO, Jefferies Financial Group

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@handlerrich Twitter | Instagram
President, Jefferies Financial Group

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