03 Apr Claire Volke
Growing up in Annapolis, I was always frugal. From my first jobs at Cantler’s crab house and Storm Bros. ice cream shop, I paid close attention to what I earned and spent. After graduating from the University of Maryland in College Park in 2012, I did the “millennial thing” and set off to work and study around the world. I spent two years as an assistant at a mortgage company, then three years in Los Angeles pursuing my childhood acting dream while working at a law firm. Then, I was offered a scholarship to study at Kingston University in London, where I earned a master’s degree in innovation management and entrepreneurship. In 2019, content with my travels and with my first nephew on the way, I decided to move back to Maryland.
I chose a career in financial services for three reasons: I have always been interested in personal finance and long-term planning; I’m really social and I love to help others, so working with clients is a great bonus for me. But most importantly, I wanted to work in a field where I could have a positive impact, not just earn a paycheck. I believe that the Meakem Group and Raymond James have some of the strongest ethics in our industry, and it is important for me to be supportive and proud of my work.
As a client services associate, I work closest with Traci and Morgan, and am quickly learning every facet of this business. Generally, I help prepare for – and follow-up from – client meetings. I also do special projects, like researching client spending patterns to understand the bigger picture, which helps Traci prepare long-term goals and strategies for our clients.
It’s very gratifying to work in a business that helps people from all walks of life strategize about how to reach their financial goals. I’ve always been that annoying friend who talks about student loans, spending and savings – topics many people find “taboo.” As a society, we’re always comparing ourselves to others, so it makes people uncomfortable to talk about their money. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter where you start as long as you have a plan for where you want to go.
I am excited to be part of the Meakem Group. Traci is an amazing advisor and mentor to others, and I knew it would be an incredible experience to work with her. Interestingly, my first day on the job saw the stock market plummet to historic lows due to the coronavirus. By my second week, we were all working from home. Every day is a new adventure, but I’m learning so much and find it all so interesting. My coworkers are also really kind and supportive. I’m grateful to have found this team.
On a Personal Note
Fun facts: I’ve worked on TV shows like American Horror Story, Veep, House of Cards, Black-ish, CSI, Murder in the Family and others. One of my favorite L.A. stories was when I met pop star Justin Bieber at a burger shop. He was dining alone in the booth behind me, paparazzi and fan-free, so I said a quick hello as he ate his lunch. I tried to play it cool, but as he left, Justin tapped me on the shoulder, catching me in mid-burger-bite, and said, “Hey, nice to meet you!” My tabloid-influenced opinions of him dissolved that day and I finally became a “Belieber”!
During grad school, I spent my Christmas break working as a travel nanny for a family at their country home in England and their chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland – the most picturesque place I’ve ever visited. I hope to continue exploring the world in the years ahead, but after traveling abroad, I’m grateful to be back home. Maryland is a great place to live!