Deborah G. Gandy, Managing Director
At Chevy Chase Trust each relationship begins with a comprehensive review of the client’s financial situation. Deb is responsible for advising clients in the areas of investment management, financial and estate planning, and trust administration. She oversees the delivery of services to clients and coordinates with their legal, accounting and other advisors. We sat down with Deb to learn more about her background and how she began her career.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background.
A: I was born in Washington, DC. but my family moved to Greensboro, North Carolina when I was 8 months old. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in business administration – Go Tarheels! I started my career in banking in 1977.
Q: What was your first job out of college?
A: I started as a teller with North Carolina National Bank (now Bank of America) in Chapel Hill while I was a student. I was hired by Wachovia for their highly regarded retail training program in Raleigh, NC. Once I completed my training, I became a personal banker. I was the one person a customer could go to for all of their banking needs. Whether they needed to open a checking account, savings account, a credit card, or a loan, I handled everything.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your career?
A: Problem-solving with clients. It is like putting puzzles together and coming up with solutions that will benefit the client. To be able to work through an issue and have them feel that I brought some value to the table gives me immense satisfaction.
I also like that there is a different situation every day. That makes this a challenging and rewarding opportunity at the same time. While there are commonalities among families, no two are alike. There are always situations that arise that I’ve never encountered before; to address them, and figure out how to solve them is very rewarding.
Q: What is the best lesson you have learned from a mentor?
A: To listen. It is critically important and a skill set that has to be learned. One must allow others to speak, and then hear and understand what is being said.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.
Q: What would you do if not this?
A: It may come as a surprise to some people, but I would love to be an interior designer. There are many similarities: listening to people, understanding their needs, and finding solutions. Plus I love to shop for furniture and fabric.
Q: What do you like to do outside of the office?
A: This will come as a surprise to no one – I have a deep love of sports and theatre.
Q: What would you advise someone considering a career path like the one you’ve taken?
A: I was asked this recently by a college student. I told him to make sure he does his homework so he can decipher the different offerings that all come under the heading of wealth management. Then you must understand that it is very difficult to start in business development with zero experience. You might begin as a sales associate or as a broker where you learn to cold call and basic business development skills. Allow yourself to be mentored and emulate other successful business development people. It takes time and learning. You never stop learning in this job and you have to continue to educate yourself.