Johnny W. Dawson

Financial Advisor

Edward Jones, Hilliard, Ohio

Years in Securities Industry:  2

On the day of my high school graduation, I got on a flight to Parris Island. That was the start of my four years of service with the U.S. Marine Corps. Eventually, I went through the school of infantry at Camp Pendleton in California before doing multiple combat tours in Iraq.

After the Marine Corps, I studied federal law enforcement at the Ohio State University. I landed an internship with the U.S. Secret Service in Columbus. I started the hiring process with the FBI to be a special agent. My aspirations were to eventually get on the hostage rescue team since it aligned a great deal with my military background.

But then, my second son was born. 

One night, I was rocking him to sleep after my last interview with the FBI. I had just received a job offer. I remember looking at him and thinking: "In 30 years from now, after my kids are all grown up, what kind of father will I be?" I decided I didn't want to allow my job to dictate when I spent time with my family. That's when I started looking at other avenues, which led me to Edward Jones.

In the military, I learned important values that have informed my new career. When I started in the Marine Corps, I found myself in a leadership role very quickly. At 19, I was one of the youngest team leaders of an infantry platoon. It forced me to grow up fast because I had other Marines looking up to me. It taught me how important leadership is. I use leadership today when running my practice -- it's a great quality to have, not only when running my business, but also when leading my clients towards their financial goals.

My training and combat also taught me the importance of discipline. You must always be ready to resort back to your training in particular situations. In running my business, at the end of the day I want to make sure it is legal, ethical, and profitable. I want to have the discipline to do my daily activities and ensure that what I'm doing is right for my clients.

Obviously confidence and perseverance are key components of being a successful financial advisor. We have to be confident in the plan we give our clients on a daily basis. When you're growing your business, you're going to face a lot of rejection. You can either allow that rejection to eat away at you and fail to accomplish your goals, or you can go on with your day and persevere. That's how you make quality contacts and reach potential clients.

One of the core values of the Marine Corps is integrity. You absolutely have to hold that true to heart. Being a financial advisor requires telling the client your honest opinion at all times. It's about giving them the best advice that you would see fit for their long term goals.

As told to Maddy Perkins.

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