Houston’s drive, compassion help him thrive


Editor’s Note: This October, we will celebrate our 30th class of 40 Under Forty honorees. Each week in 2022, The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia will highlight one of our 2021 40 Under Forty honorees leading up to the announcement of our milestone class this fall.

Bryan Houston has never been shot out of a cannon, but he certainly has an idea of what that might feel like.

Houston likened starting his career as a financial advisor to flying down a highway at 100 miles-per-hour on a solo journey with very high stakes. After his first two years in the business, Houston said he was fortunate to find the right fit at Klem, Houston & Associates.

“It’s just finding that fit of what works for you, and having a mentor is huge in this business,” Houston said. “You think you might know a lot when you come out, but you quickly find out you might not know everything.”

As Houston completes his 10th year in the business, he credits the drive instilled in him by his parents and the team-based approach his mentor Calvin Klem modeled for him as big factors in helping him get over the “five-year hump” that is a very real hurdle for young professionals in his field. He also credits having a young family at home and being a business owner as extrinsic drivers that keep him moving forward.

“It was very important in my next step to find a business that was about fit,” he said. “People might burn out when they could have easily made it elsewhere.”

Klem was big on helping Houston build relationships with the firm’s clients during his first year or two on the job. Instead of assigning clients to Houston off the bat, Houston sat in on meetings to get to know the clients better and also to learn the way the older advisors operated.

“It’s a relationship business, so learning under them for a year or two before I was thrust into the main position was huge,” Houston said.

Helping others succeed is a major motivation for most financial advisors, and Houston is no different. That passion extends out into the community, where he serves others through his work with the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Ameriprise National Day of Service.

Houston is also heavily involved with the CareerQuest … It’s All About Business event, a program run by the First Tennessee Development District. Houston’s message to the young people in our region is there is plenty of opportunity right in their own backyard, so there is no reason to grow up dreaming of leaving the area to go to a big city.

Early in his career, Houston’s first employer sent him to St. Louis for seven months, which was plenty long enough for him to realize how much he missed the mountains.

“The big city is great, but it drove me back here,” he said.

While most young professionals can give you a five-year plan, Houston’s roots are planted deep enough that he’s looking 10 to 15 years ahead as he charts the future of his firm.

“I’m here for the long run,” he said. “It’s exciting to know the roots are here, they’re going to be here, so I can grow my family here.”

Next week we will profile Steven Hunt of the AirEvac Life Team. If you would like to nominate someone for inclusion in the 2022 class of 40 Under Forty, visit 40under.com and follow the instructions.

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