Q & A with Michael Kleinschmidt, Vice President

Tell us about your role here at Chevy Chase Trust.

My objective is to provide a top-level customer service experience for our clients; I ensure our clients’ needs are met by coordinating with the various departments in our firm as well as any of our clients’ third-party financial professionals.


What led you to a career in financial services?

Truthfully, I always wanted to be a high school Social Studies teacher. I graduated from college in the middle of the great recession, and jobs were scarce. I wanted a job that would provide security and found a position as a part-time teller at a bank. I quickly became enamored with the financial services industry and realized I wanted to pursue a career in this field.


What’s the most rewarding part of the job?

During my time I have been able to build incredibly strong relationships with my clients and am proud to be their primary resource here at Chevy Chase Trust. I absolutely cherish being their go-to person, finding answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. This is what keeps me coming back to work every day.


Did you have a mentor and what are some lessons learned from him?

My mentor was a former Senior Trust Officer here at Chevy Chase Trust, Amir Shahabi. Amir helped me understand the ins and outs of the Senior Trust Officer role. He taught me that as long as you stay cool, calm and collected you will be able to solve any problem you encounter, which I find to be one of the most valuable lessons I have learned.


What are your interests in the community?

I recently finished the MBA program at the University of Maryland where I was involved in many of the school’s activities and fundraisers.


Do you have a book or podcast to recommend?

I recommend Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. This book discusses leadership and personal accountability. It may fundamentally change how a person views what a leader is and how a leader should act. Additionally, this book discusses how the reader can develop personal accountability and set themselves apart as a leader.


What advice would you give to someone considering a career in investment management or financial services?

I have three key pieces of advice: First, continue to maintain and expand your network. Nothing is more crucial in a career in investment management or financial services than a strong network. This opens doors and opportunities arise that you may never imagine otherwise. Second, be biased towards action. Be proactive, not reactive. Third and most important, be adaptable. In this field you must always be ready for change; laws, markets, personnel and systems are developing all the time. The most adaptable will always succeed, no matter the environment.


Considering all the people you’ve met in your field, what personal attributes are essential for success?

I feel there are three key characteristics: The first and most important is to have is a cool head. No matter how quickly things are moving around you, staying calm and thinking rationally are key to prevailing over whatever challenges you may face. The second is a keen attention to detail. And lastly, a successful person must be a creative thinker. A creative person will be able to focus on the end goal and utilize the tools at their disposal to accomplish the task at hand.


Read Michael Kleinschmidt‘s Bio »

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