The “Meet the Envisionaries” series introduces team members from across the business. John Gray, Senior Vice President, “Envision is a place where employees can apply their talents in ways that make a real impact on the success of the company and our clients. Combine that with a family feel, and the result is everyone is working hard to create flexible solutions that meet our clients’ demands of today and challenges of tomorrow. Flexibility has been in the company DNA since its founding.”
Q: What’s your role at Envision?
My primary focus is corporate and product marketing. I also get involved with sales and sales support, fiscal forecasting and analysis, client contract discussions, and strategic partnership management.
I’m also active in helping move our industry forward. I represent Envision as a board member of Nicsa, a trade association connecting all facets of the global asset and wealth management industries. I’m also active in the Institute for Portfolio Alternatives (IPA), on the Technology & Operations Committee.
Q: What has your career path looked like?
I’ve worked at just two firms over my career. Each has provided me the opportunity to expand my experiences and grow professionally. That’s why there have only been two!
I began my career with Federated Investors as a fund accountant then progressed to working with banks that hired Federated to help start proprietary mutual funds. I coordinated legal, distribution, transfer agency, and fund accounting/administration services. I also managed fund acquisitions, mergers, and product development. Still later at Federated, I got involved in software.
Then I jumped into the software-and-services deep end when joining Envision. My initial focus was marketing—as I was intimately familiar with the kinds of firms that need Envision’s products and expertise. Over the years, I’ve expanded my focus to work closely with:
- The sales, client and product teams on distribution strategies and relationship matters;
- The finance team on fiscal forecasting and profitability, general client contracting matters, market research, acquisition due diligence, etc.
My employee number at Envision is 007, and in some respects my responsibilities are 007-ish: it’s my job to help get things done across a wide range of needs.
Q: In your work with Envision’s clients, what are you most proud of?
That some may consider me a friend before thinking of me as an Envision employee.
Q: What’s an interesting question you’re asked in your work?
There are lots of answers to this question, but to me personally, it’s that Envision is a place where employees can apply their talents in ways that make a real impact on the success of the company and our clients.
Combine that with a family feel, and the result is everyone is working hard to create flexible solutions that meet our clients’ demands of today and challenges of tomorrow. Flexibility has been in the company DNA since its founding.
Q: What advice would you give someone starting a career in your specific field?
Be open to the world of possibilities. I don’t recall what I wanted, but I am pretty sure my dream out of college wasn’t to be a fund accountant. However, that one decision to join Federated Investors put me on a path of personal and professional excellence. I have forged relationships and had experiences far beyond what I could have dreamed. And I know there is more to come.
Q: What hobby or pastime do you enjoy away from work?
Count me in on anything relating to water. I have four brothers, and the swimming pool was our mom’s babysitter. Rain or shine, whether we felt like it or not, we were getting our house chores done by 11 a.m. so we could be at the pool by noon. And my life is so much better for it:
- Because I was at the swimming pool every day, I got involved in springboard diving and to this day, I coach high school diving;
- I swim before work;
- I love sitting on the beach reading a book or staring at the ocean;
- Thanks to Tom Wiedecker of Envision and Dick O’Neil of FSSI, I can fall off a surfboard better than anyone I have seen—except perhaps Tim Johnson, who was Envision’s outside counsel;
- And most importantly, I tell people that thanks to my parents, my now wife first saw me in the baby pool wearing a paisley speedo, and she was hooked!
Q: What would you say makes Envision special?
There is genuine camaraderie. Personal and professional trials and tribulations result in heartfelt interactions. All opinions are respected, and when decisions are made, whether you fully agree with them or not, everyone is all in. There are no personal agendas that can derail projects’ success.
Everyone is singularly focused on helping our clients succeed by providing open access to investor data and adapting our investor recordkeeping solutions and deployment models to help them differentiate themselves from their competitors.