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Chris Koo - Edward Jones IS Project Management Office

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Location

St. Louis, Mo.

College

University of Michigan

Degree

Master's in Aerospace Engineering

Year Started

1996

Chris Koo

IS Project Management Office


What has the firms growth meant for leadership opportunities?
Through the 18-plus years that I've been at Edward Jones, I've had the opportunity to see the firm continue to grow in healthy and focused ways. Edward Jones consistently communicates the firm vision with all associates, and aligns priorities to allow divisions to focus on improving the ways we invest in our financial advisors and serve our clients deeply. At Edward Jones, every associate applies a model of responsibility-based management, where each associate takes a leadership role in achieving our vision, and in his or her personal growth. By also leveraging just-in-time training available through our training departments, I personally feel fortunate to have been given the opportunities to grow at a rapid pace, while also finding purpose in how I can individually contribute to our firm vision.

How do you see your future at Edward Jones unfolding?
In a word, "collaboration." Although I've worked in the Information Systems (IS) division since I started at Edward Jones, I've had the pleasure of building relationships across divisions as I've worked on key projects for the firm. The strength in the solutions we create for our branches and clients comes from seamless integration of our tools; this integration requires close collaboration and communication. As I continue to serve Edward Jones in key initiatives, I know that my network of advocates will continue to grow.

Describe your role within the firm.
I am responsible for the IS PMO Execution & Engagement department. My daily work focuses around coaching project teams and their leaders in how best to expedite delivery of solutions for our branches and clients. Each project experience is different and precious, as I learn first-hand the best practices and challenges that project teams face and have the opportunity to share these best practices across divisions to benefit the firm in our journey towards our firm vision. I have the fortune of coming into work, knowing that I have the opportunity to make someone's life better, while directly contributing towards our firm's delivery of value to our branches and clients.

Before you came to Edward Jones, what did the name mean to you? And after you came on board?
Before I came to Edward Jones, I thought the firm was like any other brokerage firm. After I was hired into Edward Jones, my perspective drastically changed, as I realized how disciplined the firm has been, and continues to be, in communicating and executing its unique business model in becoming the first choice of serious long-term individual investors. I now associate the words "Edward Jones" to not only mean a deep care and commitment towards our branches and clients, but also a culture of family.

What did you do prior to joining Edward Jones?
I worked for two years as a research assistant for airbag designs for the University of Michigan (our clients included Ford, Chrysler and TWA), where I built air canister models, tested airflow dynamics of various vehicle airbags and measured effects of impact on infants (airbag dummies, of course). Upon moving to St. Louis, I worked as a local computer service technician, servicing schools, farms, and corporations within a 90 mile radius of Kirksville, Missouri. At Kirksville, I took additional computer science courses at Truman State University, which prepared me for programmer/analyst position at Edward Jones.

Are there any memorable experiences you'd like to share that illustrate what it's like to work for Edward Jones?
My most memorable experience was one in which I was leading a key firm project that fell behind schedule. After getting the project back on track and having implemented the project successfully, a senior leader asked me, "Chris, what was the most important thing you learned from this experience?"  I responded, "This may sound cheesy, but I learned how to fail, then succeed." He reaffirmed me by saying, "That's not cheesy at all. That's a great answer and something that all of us should learn from."  That one conversation reinforced to me the firm's belief in investing in our associates' growth. Since then, I've embraced my mistakes and used them as a springboard to higher success in everything I do-not only for Edward Jones, but in my personal life.

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