In our Employee Spotlight series, we take you behind the scenes at Oakleaf for a closer look at the people who drive our success. This time, we’re delighted to introduce Managing Director of Business Development, Ed Draves. Our conversation sheds light on his role, his journey at Oakleaf, and offers a peek into his life outside of work.
Q: Can you describe your role and what a typical day looks like for you at Oakleaf?
A: As the Managing Director of Business Development, I am responsible for driving company growth through successful engagements. My day involves connecting client talent gaps with Oakleaf Professionals. A lot of my time is spent listening to the needs of the people I support, and then creating strategies around delivery, specifically within the financial world ecosystem.
Q: What do you like most about working at Oakleaf?
A: What I appreciate about Oakleaf is its clarity of purpose and our shared understanding of what we do well. All of us at Oakleaf are given the autonomy to do what we do best, and that creates a dynamic momentum for the benefit of our client base.
Q: What are you most proud of at Oakleaf?
A: I am proud to be a part of the current transition plan that we committed to in December 2022. Seeing our growth and client satisfaction surveys affirm that our strategic plan is working has been extremely fulfilling.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering a career at Oakleaf?
A: Don’t be afraid to make the right kind of mistakes.
Q: Can you share your motto or personal mantra?
A: I’m committed to Servant Leadership.
Q: Let’s switch gears a bit. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
A: Anywhere my family wants to go. Most of our extended family lives in South Florida. We’re always ready for a visit that takes us between the lower Keys and Fort Lauderdale. A normal getaway would be an Amusement or Water Park.
Q: And what’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
A: A good book.
Q: Speaking of books, what was the last book you read?
A: On the business front, I read ‘Never Split the Difference’ by Chris Voss and, for personal reading, I picked up ‘The Templars’ by Dan Jones. I just finished ‘The Gift of Failure’ by Jessica Lahey. Let’s call it Self-Help.
Q: What was your first concert?
A: It was a roots Reggae concert by Steel Pulse.
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: Yes, I have 3 dogs – Potter, Finn, and Jamo.
Q: If you weren’t in this career, what would you be doing?
A: I’d likely be coaching.
Q: What’s the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
A: Before joining Oakleaf, I worked for the Orlando Magic during my years at the University of Central Florida. It was great to be part of the operations that helped an NBA game happen.
Q: How has Oakleaf helped you in your career development?
A: Oakleaf continues to challenge me in my professional journey, using all of my skills and talents on a daily basis. That’s what makes working here so appealing.
Q: How would you describe Oakleaf in three words?
A: Dynamic, Focused, and Committed.
Q: What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
A: I take great joy in helping others.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I love spending time with my kids and engaging in whatever they’re into. If I find some extra “me” time, you’ll find me outdoors.
Q: What music are you currently listening to?
A: Yonder Mountain String Band and Gov’t Mule.
Q: Where is your hometown?
A: Technically, I’m from Bad Axe, Michigan, but I usually tell people I’m from Orlando, Florida, since that’s where I spent my college years and a significant part of my career.
Q: What drew you to Oakleaf originally, and how has it changed since you joined?
A: I was drawn to Oakleaf by our CEO, Chris Milner. I’ve known him since I moved to the area in 2009, and our paths finally crossed in 2022. The biggest change at Oakleaf since then has been focus. We have a clear understanding of our strengths and dedicate our energy to those areas.
Q: What type of clients do you typically work with?
A: I primarily work with clients in the financial sector.
Q: What types of people thrive at Oakleaf?
A: Those who are comfortable asking for help and understand the value of teamwork.
Q: How do you stay motivated at work?
A: Knowing that I can play a role in my coworkers’ achievements keeps me motivated.
Q: Lastly, how have you grown professionally while working here?
A: My understanding of the Financial Vertical has grown exponentially, especially in regards to the governance and compliance aspects of financial models. I now have a better understanding of the decision tree that makes the mortgage world run.
Our Employee Spotlight series is designed to help you get to know the people who make Oakleaf a dynamic, focused, and committed company. Stay tuned for more spotlights and get ready to meet the team who is passionately working behind the scenes to deliver world-class service.
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