Financial Planner/Partner at The Smith Richards Group
Business Adminstration major 2006
Each year, Travis Mann ’06 goes on a retreat with four other business administration graduates from Seattle Pacific University: MiiR founder and CEO Bryan Papè ’07; celebrity and portrait photographer John Keatley ’03; and Revant founder and CEO Jason Bolt ’05. “We have four wildly different businesses, and we wouldn’t have known each other if it weren’t for SPU,” says Mann. “We come back inspired, and with a lot of new ideas.”
A Minnesota native, Mann puts that inspiration to good use as a financial planner and partner at The Smith Richards Group on Mercer Island, Washington. The boutique investment firm, he explains, works with clients who want to do more than simply plump their portfolios. They may want to begin a new career, fund charitable trusts, or provide for a dying loved one — “all things much more meaningful than the largest possible investment portfolio,” says Mann.
Married to Chelsea Poole Mann ’05 and the father of three, Mann also stays connected with his alma mater. He considers Chief Investment Officer Gordon Nygard of the Seattle Pacific Foundation a mentor and friend. “Gordie jumped in as an adjunct professor my senior year and taught a class on asset valuation,” he recalls. “We helped value actual investments he was considering for the foundation.”
Every year, he also speaks to at least one of Professor of Finance Dan Hess’ classes. “Through that,” he adds, “Dan has introduced us to students who’ve become some of our best employees.”
How does your time at SPU connect to the work you’re doing today?
SPU’s message across the board — but especially within the School of Business was to rethink the status quo to make a positive impact. Since nearly all our clients are on track to never run out of money it gives us a unique opportunity to rethink the status quo by helping clients consider how they can SPEND their money (or give it away) to best make an impact in their own lives and the lives of those around them.
Who made a difference in your SPU education?
Gordie Nygard jumped in as an adjunct professor my senior year and taught a class on asset valuation. Since Gordie’s full-time job is the chief investment officer at SPU’s Foundation, we helped value actual investments he was considering for the foundation — super cool to feel so involved in a real-life situation!
What advice do you have for students about life after graduation?
Go get great internships, get in front of every business leader possible, apply for great jobs. You are better qualified than you may think!