Spotlight on…John Comberiate

Date: June 23, 2015

What do you love about United Way and Emerging Leaders United?
I love ELU because it’s a group with a soul. I’ve been a part of many organizations and attended many networking events and most are filled with trading business cards and generally a ‘what’s in it for me?’ mentality. ELU events are a gathering of people who work hard at what they do but want to contribute and give back to help those in need.

I’ve worked a lot with people experiencing homelessness through United Way’s Family Stability programs. This is the best approach I’ve seen to taking on the problem and creating a system that will produce a meaningful impact. By preventing homelessness before it happens, you stop an unrelenting downward cycle that can be too overwhelming for recovery.

Where do you work and what is your role?
I work as a financial advisor at Edward Jones. Most people hear the word finance and their brain shuts off but the way I see my job is that I free people from the worry and control that money has on their lives. By doing the proper planning, we figure out where you are starting from and clearly define where you want to go, and then come up with a path to get to those short and long-term goals based on your tolerance of risk and the time frame you have to invest.

Who do you look up to and how have they influenced you to give back to our community?
My personal heroes are Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Not only are they brilliant individuals who have built generational wealth, but they realized that they hit the lottery in the sense of being born at the right time and the right place to be able to maximize their potential. In realizing that, they operate from the understanding that they should use their wealth and influence to help those who were not so lucky and raise the standard of living around the world for the poorest of the poor.

I can’t say I’m at their level but they have inspired me to help those around me in my community from the position I am in and use any wealth and success that I have to make others’ lives better.

What is your favorite quote?
“Intensity is the price of excellence.” -Warren Buffett
Too many people seem to think success means having the right idea or doing something for an afternoon and expecting to be the best in the world at it. We can see lives of celebrities and business leaders glamorized in the media and dream about how nice it would be to have their wealth or their opportunities, but when we are told the price they paid to make it to that level. We want the shortcut, not the work. This quote sums it all up; getting the reward requires the work.

What are some of your hobbies?
I’m a personal improvement/personal development junkie. I give and read speeches, devour books, debate ideas, watch TED videos, and pursue new knowledge and perspectives. I like to unwind too and usually do that through watching some of my favorite TV shows or playing old video game RPGs. I’m currently playing in a basketball league and plan on running some 5Ks for various charities.

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