Jeff Wald embraces change. A visionary leader, he believes the firm’s success centers around creating value for customers and being fully immersed within their industries. As a result of focusing intensely in a limited number of industries, K·Coe Isom is unique in its effectiveness at making a difference for others.
Full immersion means being part of an industry, not just standing on the sidelines to serve it, but actually influencing it and facilitating success for those who operate within it. The point is to make the industry, as a whole, better and stronger.
An example of full immersion is the firm’s role in affecting and influencing America’s food-supply chain. With the firm’s early roots primarily as agricultural business advisors, today ag and food production still comprise the majority of K·Coe Isom’s business. Meeting increasingly sophisticated business needs, the firm added an investment banking arm, giving producers and food manufacturers more access to expansion capital. Then acquiring two ag-consulting companies, Vela Environmental and AgKnowledge, allowed K·Coe Isom to directly influence federal food and agriculture policy, improve supply chain sustainability, and provide specialized data for producers as well as their suppliers, processors, distributors, and the lenders who fund them.
This depth of impact happens because Jeff creates an environment that fosters innovation and empowers team members at every level to pursue what they most love to do. He believes in the exponential value derived from a team of people who are each working within their areas of strength and passion, we call this DistinctAbilitySM. He expects every person in the firm to be committed to making a difference in the lives of the people they work with and leave the firm a better place for future generations. He ensures the firm invests in the people, time, tools, and processes to make this happen.
Jeff is one of nine children whose dad owned a cabinet and millwork manufacturing company. He learned early about balancing strong independence with humility, openness, and appreciation for the many lessons that others have to impart. He also knew from a young age that he wanted to own and operate a business like his father.
When he joined Kennedy and Coe in 1995, Jeff observed the firm’s respect and support of people who take smart, entrepreneurial risks. Just two years after joining the firm, he seized opportunities to participate in creating the firm’s Design Center and then led the next gen of that effort, the firm’s Wealth Creation Group, from its inception in 2003. Before becoming CEO in 2013, Jeff created value for businesses through consulting on succession, raising capital, selling, and mergers and acquisitions. Most importantly, Jeff facilitated their access to the firm’s professionals who’d have the biggest impact on their success.
Only somewhat involved in direct client work today as CEO of K·Coe Isom, he now feels most rewarded spending time with his fellow owners and team members discussing and creating the firm’s future direction. He inspires and connects people to continually turn opportunities into realities.