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Remembering People First Opens the Door to Opportunities

Remembering People First Opens the Door to Opportunities

Get to know Skyler Bloxham, Chief Operating Officer, Equity Capital Markets

As newly minted COO of a dynamic business unit, Skyler reflects on lessons learned with practical application for anyone striving to succeed.


1. How would you describe your job/role to someone outside of our industry?

I focus on implementing efficiency gains in the business. My goal is to provide the tools and resources to my colleagues that enable them to perform at a high level. A good day is when I feel like I made someone’s life easier, added productivity to our team as a whole or improved our vendor relationships. Put another way, I’m like a point guard: Rather than focusing on just scoring points, I set up the rest of the team for success.

2. After working earlier in Investment Banking with D.A. Davidson, you moved to another firm and now have returned to us. What brought you back?

D.A. Davidson is a strong firm with strong fundamentals, but culture was and continues to be the strongest draw for me. One of the core tenets of my business philosophy is that you don’t follow the work — you follow the people. The relationships I developed at D.A. Davidson years ago with mentors, colleagues and clients continued through my other business endeavors and ultimately brought me back.

3. How does a younger manager navigate the complexities of supervising professionals from various generations?

It’s important to know what I don’t know. My colleagues are experts in their respective roles and I strive to maintain credibility by demonstrating respect for that individualized expertise. Humility fosters mutual respect and allows me to contribute my views on strategy and execution, even to colleagues who can run circles around me on substance. At the end of the day, D.A. Davidson is one company and one business, so it’s important to maintain a sense of the big picture and contribute to team goals at every level.

4. What advice would you offer to someone considering a career in financial services?

Select finance for the right reasons. This is a client-driven business, and you have to fundamentally enjoy the intellectual aspects and interpersonal dynamics to thrive. Anyone can learn to quantify risk or create financial models in Excel, but finance is about so much more than that. As you advance, judgment matters just as much as technical skill. At a senior level, many providers have the technical skills, but clients choose to hire the individuals whose judgment they trust most.

5. What book is currently on your nightstand?

None! I am an avid Businessweek fan; I read a few articles each night before going to bed. I am slowly making my way through “The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis, but that’s my weekend read.

6. Which living person do you most admire?

Both of my parents. My mother owned and operated a small outdoor clothing and sporting goods store for 40 years. Her work ethic and determination are so inspirational to me. She always showed tremendous kindness — to her employees, vendors and customers — while being fiercely loyal to her beliefs and ambition. My father taught me to strive to stay calm even in the face of crisis. I think about these life lessons and practice them as part of my role at D.A. Davidson.

7. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To me, perfect happiness would be lasting happiness, which requires an element of balance. I’m getting married next August to an amazing woman — this is a good first step! Beyond my partnership with Laura, I need to continually develop professionally. I get bored if I sit still for too long, so engaging work is important to me. Working with the executive team here provides access to great role models and challenges to tackle. Of course I try to balance this with time outside of the office…perfect happiness definitely includes a lot of golf, soccer and dinners with friends!

Information contained herein is from sources we consider reliable, but is not guaranteed, and we are not soliciting any action based upon it. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, based on interpretation of data available at the time of original publication of this article. These opinions are subject to change at any time without notice. Investors should consult their financial and/or tax advisor before implementing any investment plan.