John Reichert, Godfrey & Kahn
IB Wisconsin's Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet the state's professionals. This week features John Reichert, an attorney with Godfrey & Kahn's Milwaukee office.
John Reichert, Godfrey & Kahn
Address: 780 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202-3590
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wis.
Organizations: Community Bankers of Wisconsin; Wisconsin Bankers Association; Wisconsin Bar; Independent Community Bankers of America
Education: Juris Doctor, Marquette University; UW-Milwaukee, BA, 1996
How long have you been Godfrey & Kahn, and how would you describe your role?
I have been an attorney with Godfrey & Kahn for more than six years. My practice primarily involves helping banks and financial service providers with corporate governance and regulatory issues. Most of my clients are in Wisconsin and range in size from some of the smallest community banks to some of the largest banks in the Midwest.
Who would you say has influenced your career the most, and in what way?
No one person stands out. Most people I have worked with over the years, in many different capacities, have had some influence on who I am today.
Who would you most like to be a mentor to, or have the most influence?
The obvious answer is my children. Beyond that, I don't have any one person I want to mentor. Rather, I try to be approachable and offer advice or help where I think it may do some good.
What was a personal high point in your career?
Again with the clichéd responses, but each time a client is appreciative of something I've done or advice I've provided, it's rewarding.
What special career advice do you have for someone who is looking for meaningful work in this economic climate?
Take any job you can get – you never know where it may lead. Establish a track record and make connections.
Do you have any long-range goals that you’d like to achieve before leaving Godfrey & Kahn?
I have no intention of leaving the company or the industry, so I haven't given this much thought. One of the things I like about this job is that my goals change along with those of my clients. I only succeed if they succeed.
What is your assessment of where the Wisconsin economy is headed? (Give us the highlights of your personal “State of Business Union” address.)
While there are still a lot of challenges on the horizon, I feel better about Wisconsin's long-term economic prospects than I have in a long time. In the near term, it seems businesses and consumers have adopted a bunker mentality. Those that survived the last three years are reluctant to take any risks at all, which is understandable.
What do you read to help keep you current in your field or industry?
I read the American Banker and The Wall Street Journal daily, and publications from the Community Bankers of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Bankers Association, the American Bankers Association, and the Independent Community Bankers.
What were your career aspirations when you were in high school?
All I knew in high school is that I wanted to be involved with business. I love that I get to meet and work with a lot of decision makers and entrepreneurs.
What did you do with your first paycheck? Where was it from, and for what job? How much was it?
I don't recall what I did with it – probably spent half foolishly and saved the other half. I was 13 and worked in a temporary kitchen at Summerfest, 11 hours a day for 11 days. I think the check, after taxes, came to about $250.
Did you have any entrepreneurial interests at a young age?
I wouldn't say I've been entrepreneurial. I like taking risks, but I've never started my own enterprise. I've been working in some capacity since I was 10. I was pretty typical in that I mowed lawns, had a paper route, and even worked at the corner drug store.
What do you do outside of the office to relax?
In perhaps my most generic answer yet, I enjoy reading, traveling, photography, and spending time with my family.
What is your favorite place to travel to and why?
Any place I haven't been before. I love the excitement of exploring and experiencing new places and things.
What kinds of books do you read for pleasure? What’s a recent title that might give us the flavor of what you like to read?
Dethroning the King. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at InBev’s 2008 acquisition of Anheuser-Busch.
What character in any sport, book, movie, or play would you most like to be identified with, and why?
There are two, oddly both played by Steve Martin – Gil Buckman (Parenthood) or George Banks (Father of the Bride). Both characters seem to be good fathers. Or John Galt in Atlas Shrugged, but I don't have the mechanical aptitude.
Finally, list three words you think best describe you:
Balanced. Driven. Curious.