In The Suite Podcast Episode 23: Being All-In and Iterating Towards Excellence with Shannon Spotswood, President of RFG Advisory

Shannon Spotswood, President of RFG Advisory
Shannon Spotswood, President of RFG Advisory
Shannon Spotswood, President of RFG Advisory

We’re thrilled to welcome Shannon Spotswood In The Suite. It’s rare to find someone who discovers their life’s passion so early in life. Shannon has been interested in Wall Street ever since she received a subscription to the Wall Street Journal on her 14th birthday. 

Shannon fiercely fights for excellence in every aspect of her life, from working at one of the first hedge funds in San Francisco, to being mentored by one of the first female portfolio managers, to running a luxury children’s company, to now building RFG Advisory 2.0 with her partners Bobby White and Rick Wedell. She even had three kids in 3.5 years!

You’ll learn in this podcast episode that Shannon is someone who goes all in. She doesn’t flim-flam or hesitate or waver. When she chooses a direction she walks forward valiantly. Shannon believes that committing to being all in is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to yourself. You’re either all in or you’re all out.

After determining her career path at age 14, Shannon spent 20 years in finance serving as a Portfolio Manager and Director of Long-Only Equity Strategies for San Francisco-based hedge fund Symphony Asset Management, and as an Investment Banker with Volpe Brown Whelan & Co. Born in Nashville, raised in Seattle, Shannon says that San Francisco was her first love.

Then Shannon spent a three-year creative break running Busy Bees, a line of high-quality, preppy children’s clothing, with her partner Maryam Barrett. This adventure recharged her battery. She learned about social media, manufacturing clothing, trade shows, concepts she never would have touched on if she had stayed the course of corporate finance in San Francisco.

It’s all about the pivot. “Your next move is your most important move,” says Shannon. I couldn’t agree more. 

She and her husband, and her children made the impromptu move from San Francisco to Birmingham, Alabama, which took their family and friends by surprise. She met Bobby White, Founder and CEO of RFG Advisory. RFG Advisory delivers to advisors a turn-key integrated technology platform to manage their practice and institutional-caliber investment management solutions.

In 2016, Shannon Spotswood was named President of RFG Advisory. Ever since then, RFG Advisory has received stacks of awards. RFG Advisory was named a Top 300 RIA in the U.S. by the Financial Times, a 2020 MMI/Barron’s Award Finalist and a 2020 Industry Awards Finalist.

While it’s important to consider the pivot, the future and what it holds, you have to make time to find a positive mindset on a daily basis. It’s something to work at every single day. “Be where your feet are, be where you are. Be happy, be present, be grateful. Give grace,” says Shannon. Now those are some wise words, especially when you start to get caught up in the minutiae.

This approach to remain present allowed her to take time to get to know and receive feedback from her team at RFG. Shannon’s advice for those managing a team: rather than only utilizing a formalized annual review process, take the time to practice radical candor throughout the year. She was able to delve deeper into the long-term goals of her team to find a meaningful career path for them, guiding the path of the next generation.

Don’t miss Shannon’s tips throughout the episode if you’re searching for your best life. Listen to Shannon’s episode and utilize these three strategic concepts to help you reclaim your mindset, purpose, and drive. 

  1. Be all in. Whether you want to be fully present when you’re with your kids or whether you want to step it up at work, be all in. You can apply this to your professional life and from a personal perspective. Be all in because if anything, it’s a commitment you make to yourself.
  2. Continue applying a positive mindset. Mindset expires every 24 hours. You don’t automatically wake up with it, you have to apply it. 
  3. Discover your purpose. You must find something bigger than yourself to drive you. What do you want in life, from your career? Positive mindset can only take you so far. There are days where you might be able grit through it with sheer motivation and self-talk, but ultimately if you don’t have purpose, it will be difficult to stay motivated. It’s going to be uncomfortable but you have to ask yourself the deep, hard questions.

Show Notes:

Today’s episode of In The Suite with Shannon Spotswood brings me back to the glory days when we first met at the Orion’s Fuse Hackathon in Park City, Utah. Surrounded by teams of resilient coders and developers pulling all-nighters against the backdrop of the majestic mountains of Park City felt like a reality TV show⸺with Shannon and I playing supporting roles as judges, taking power walks to the set of The Fuse House.

Fast forward nearly 5 years later and Shannon’s career is still energized. As President of RFG Advisory, a hybrid RIA, multi custodial, based in Birmingham, Alabama, Shannon was presented with an amazing opportunity to help build RFG 2.0 with her partner Bobby White, Chairman and CEO of RFG Advisory.

It was a chance encounter of what she describes as a quest to “seek the intangible.” But in true reality show format, it started out simply as a filler-meeting with Bobby marked by the proverbial, ideas engraved on a cocktail napkin.

At the time of this interview, RFG has 55 independent advisors in 14 locations across the United States with $2.2 billion and growing. Rick Wedell, RFG’s Chief Investment Officer, also joined the C-suite at RFG as a partner creating the ideal trifecta of Bobby, Shannon, and Rick. “We’re never trying to make it perfect. We just want to keep iterating towards excellence,” says Shannon.

In this podcast episode, Shannon shares some of her guiding philosophies in her professional life at RFG and at home, being a wife and a mother of 3 children. She also takes me by complete surprise in talking about hitting a wall in her career which led to a major pivot in her personal life. It was a moment I didn’t expect but one we can all relate to, right? “Either you’re all in or you’re not,” Shannon declares. They are unforgettable words-to-live-by Shannon Spotswood, In The Suite.

Join the conversation to hear about:

  • Fond memories of how Shannon and Tina met (5:05)
  • How a crisis can lead to inspiration and innovation (8:45)
  • Meeting her business partner, Bobby White, Chairman & CEO of RFG Advisory (10:00)
  • Building the RIA of the future (11:30)
  • The power of the commitment to be all in (24:40)
  • Finding what lights your fire (32:40)
  • Describing building RFG 2.0 with her partners Bobby White and Rick Wedell (35:20)
  • Building a collaborative workplace and work culture (38:20)
  • Unleash the entrepreneurial spirit at your firm (43:50)
  • Why this is the most exciting time in wealth management (48:00)
  • Careers and getting hired as a women in a male-dominated industry (52:05)
  • What is Shannon’s magical superpower? (58:40)

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