Advisor Profile: John Parry – Associate Financial Advisor and NFL Super Bowl Referee
When you watched the Super Bowl this year, did you notice number 132 on the field? John Parry, an Ameriprise associate financial advisor, was the head official during the big game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. John balances his passion for refereeing NFL football with his career as a financial advisor, and finds there are some similarities between the two roles. Here’s what he has to say about managing it all.
Q: How did you get started as a referee in the NFL?
I was raised around athletics and officiating has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. My dad officiated major college basketball and football games and then moved into the NFL for 15 years before he became the Big Ten supervisor of officials. I credit my dad’s role in the NFL as one of the main reasons I was bit by the officiating bug. It took me nearly 18 years to work my way up from grade school officiating to the NFL. I worked for five years in the Arena Football League and Big Ten conference before entering the NFL during the 2000 season.
Q: With all of your work as a referee, what made you decide to become a financial professional?
A: I joined the profession after working as a pilot for the majority of my career. I flew corporate jets for 18 years, but I wanted a new challenge and I was very interested in investing. In 2005, I made the move and over the years I’ve actually seen my skills as a referee transfer into the office with clients.
Q: How does your work on the field relate to your work at the office?
A: As you can imagine, there are many differences between my role as referee and my job as a financial advisor. Football is just a game for most people, but planning for financial goals can be part of a life-changing transition.
But there are also similarities between the two roles. I work with my clients in a similar way to how I work with players, coaches and my team of officials. Motivation is key in both situations. I often need to motivate my clients to take the appropriate actions with their finances, and as their advisor, my goal is to help them move from where they are to where they want to be. In football, I’m also constantly working hard to motivate my crew.
Q: How do you motivate your crew and your clients?
A: As a referee, I spend hours with my team in pregame meetings obsessing over details. Aside from watching film and going over the strategy for the day, I also create motivational and inspirational videos for my crew and get us focused on dominating the details of the game. Team meetings, dinners and the game-day events really bring us all together.
It’s all about the details in my work as an associate financial advisor too. I help clients work toward their goals and if they really spend time taking care of all of the details, they should increase their potential to be successful. Just as every game and every team are different, every client and their needs are different, so I am flexible and adaptable on the field and off.
Q: You make a lot of calls – whether it’s in front of 111 million people during a Super Bowl or face-to-face with a client. How do you maintain your confidence?
A: With an average of 160 plays per NFL football game, making the right calls is definitely a challenge. I always strive to shoot for 160 perfect calls. During the coin toss in Super Bowl XLVI, I was nervous that something might go wrong with that many people watching and listening, but preparation prevailed with a successful outcome.
Just as I work to make the right calls on the field, I work to help my clients make good decisions for their financial future. Meeting with clients and helping them adjust their investment strategy and update their financial plan as their life changes is how I help my clients feel more confident.
Q: Your time must be pretty limited. How do you balance everything?
A: I take great pride in balancing my family, football and my role as an advisor. I get to the office very early, head home to help get the kids off to school and then go back to the office. I balance after-school activities, dinner with my family and our night time routine with our two children. Just as we encourage financial planning with our clients, having a plan for my life is what keeps it all together at home, on the field and in the office.
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