Where it all began
The past three months at White Oaks has been one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had. Reflecting on summer at White Oaks, my path to get here was quite unconventional. Unlike previous interns, I did not go through a rigorous recruitment process. I got here through a genuine act of kindness by White Oaks CEO Sharon Bloodworth.
I first spoke with Sharon in April as part of an informational interview. I wanted to get insight from her on how she reached her current level of success. This proved to be incredibly valuable and I received some great advice. Sharon also thought it would be a good idea for me to speak with both Alex Duty, portfolio manager at White Oaks, and Micki Larson, Director of Operations. We agreed these conversations would give me a better understanding of the career paths in finance. Unbeknownst to me, I was actually going through a secret interview process.
A week after my conversations with Alex and Micki, I had a final follow up chat with Sharon. I went into the conversation looking forward to thanking her for setting up such valuable discussions. To my surprise, Sharon offered me a position as an intern with White Oaks for the summer. I was completely caught off guard but I accepted. I knew that this was an opportunity I could not pass up on.
Which leads us to now
So that brings us to today. I am in the final week of my internship and reflecting on summer and my time here. I truly could not have imagined a better way to spend my summer. Since my very first day it was obvious that I have not been the sole beneficiary of Sharon’s kindness. The genuine desire to use her expertise to help others is a fundamental aspect of the White Oaks brand. It can be felt as soon as you walk into the doors each and everyday. This energy radiates from every member of the White Oaks team. It flows from CEO Sharon, all the way down to the client, making him or her the ultimate beneficiary.
At White Oaks I gained a lot of knowledge about the strategies that go into comprising client portfolios. The biggest lesson I learned however was the importance of organizational culture. I never could have imagined this family atmosphere, which is so conducive to the success of a team.
Throughout my time here it has become evident that power structure at White Oaks is horizontal. No individual is most valuable to the team, and no team member has the most say in the decision making process. Every decision made is based on a consensus from meetings and collaborations. I feel as though this has been an excellent way to minimize office politicking. This also maintains the client at the top of the list of priorities.
What the future may bring
As I transition back to being a student, I will continue reflecting on summer at White Oaks. I feel a sense of obligation to thank everyone at White Oaks. From my first day, I was treated as an equal and never felt any different for being an intern. I was simply a member of the White Oaks family. I owe a big thank you to both Alex Duty and Micki Larson, as I have spent most of my time around them. They have both taught me so much and I am very grateful for that. They played a great role in helping my development not only as a professional but also as a person. I truly valued the time I spent around them and the conversations that we had. Finally, I owe the biggest thank you to CEO Sharon Bloodworth. Without her giving me the opportunity to join White Oaks for the summer, I never would have achieved this level of personal growth. Thank you White Oaks!