When financial professionals use the term "taking a haircut", they're usually referring to the pay reduction they inevitably suffer when starting their careers. But Elijah Souza literally lopped off his locks to launch his career as an Investment Advisor. Most people size up a career based on how much it allows them to make or take. Elijah showed his vocational commitment to how much he was willing to give. He donated his departed thirteen inches of hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that crafts wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy.
It was an auspicious beginning that perfectly represented the dedication, care, and service to others that underlies Elijah's advisory practice.
Elijah is not your grandpa's investment advisor. He hails from the serene shores of Hawaii and his Pilipino and Portuguese family heritage reflects the diversity of Gerber Kawasaki's corps of advisors. While Elijah enjoyed the relaxed pace of island living, he was also a fiercely competitive athlete, he paddled ancient Hawaiian canoes, played center field in baseball and was a defensive back in football.
Elijah saw how hard his parents worked, but never thought they were fairly rewarded for their labors. His dad worked in public transportation and his mom was a secretary for the same insurance company for over thirty years. But there was one experience that profoundly altered his world view. "I remember watching people come to Hawaii from all over the world and buy their dream beach homes in Hawaii. I always wondered how they were able to do that. And I thought, ‘I want to learn how to do this and help others have access to resources that will allow them to achieve their dreams as well.'" However, fulfilling his ambitions meant giving up what was comfortable and familiar. It required moving away from family and friends to pursue a potentially prosperous but potentially risky career path. It took moving to a very different sort of island to fully open his eyes to bigger things ahead.
As part of a foreign study program at Loyola Marymount University, Elijah spent a semester studying and interning in sports marketing at London's Imperial College. That fulfilled both his love of sports and a deep need to connect directly with people.
Not long after, he was recruited to work at Gerber Kawasaki by a close friend. At the time, hiring a guy willing to cut thirteen inches of his hair and donate it to kids with cancer was not exactly standard practice. However, Elijah was a new kind of advisor for changing times. It was 2010 and America had just suffered an economic collapse directly caused by financial professionals' greed and irresponsible behavior. Elijah was a breath of fresh island air.
Over the next ten years, he built a clientele from scratch based mostly (and not surprisingly) in entertainment and sports. Over time, he has honed his skills as an advisor and has become a Certified Financial Planner, a designation only achieved by 20% of all financial advisors.
Elijah's professional achievements beg the question: what kind of advisor do YOU want? The advisor who grumbles about taking a pay cut, or the true professional willing to work tirelessly for clients and give generously to others?
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