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Guy D. Stratton, BMO Private Bank

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Guy D. Stratton, senior private banker, vice president, BMO Private Bank.

1. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The most rewarding aspect of my role as senior private banker at BMO Private Bank is working side by side with an amazing financial team located right here in Madison to provide timely solutions to our clients. Having a team that understands the common trends and issues associated with wealth allows us to be more efficient with providing answers, thus saving our busy clients’ time and/or money depending on the issue at hand. Receiving a call from a client and being able to turn around prompt answers and solutions is always rewarding and appreciated by our clients.

The most challenging aspects are a result of what I would call the banking revolution. Given the increased regulatory environment over the last few years, it has become more difficult to remain ahead of the changes. However, I am a glass half full kind of “guy” and a positive thinker, so I look at the times changing as the only constant. If I just maintain my goal of doing what is right for the client at all times, everything else will come together. And this is great peace of mind for our clients. They know they are in good hands. 

2. Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I admire so many business professionals in Madison. There are some who I have admired due to their success in starting their own business from nothing; some who are amazing leaders in their field or within their company; and others who have such a strong and selfless passion to contribute their time and money to our community.

3. What has been the high point of your career so far?

The high point of my career is today. I started in 2001 and have progressed ever since. I was a private banker for a number of years up until 2013. I took a more internally focused role, helping our teams in the field understand what BMO Private Bank does for our clients. As rewarding as that was, I missed working with clients and providing solutions. So now I am back in a client-facing role as a senior private banker. I am lucky to say that I love my job and there isn’t much about it that brings me down. Being named one of Madison’s 40 under 40 by In Business was quite the honor for me, as well!

4. Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self? 

At the young age of 21 I had the idea that I was going to become a game warden, so I went to the UW–Stevens Point College of Natural Resources. After I discovered my true passion for business, I realized I was not in a place that was challenging enough for me. I should have told myself to transfer to a school with a much stronger business program, which would have increased my knowledge prior to the start of my career.

5. What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

Having grown up in Madison, I love hearing from others who have transplanted here how amazing it is. I think native Madisonians tend to take this great city for granted. The restaurants, the lakes, the University, the Overture and other venues, State Street, the Children’s Museum, the Capitol, the Arts, the schools, the bicycle paths, Olbrich, Vilas Zoo … and so much more, I suppose. I feel very lucky to have grown up here and get to live in the best city on Earth! 

6. Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I can do the worm. The worm is somewhat of a dance move, I suppose. A video is located somewhere on the In Business website accompanying my 40 Under 40 selection. I do not do it much anymore. I am getting married in October so maybe I will dig in my bag of tricks and pull this one out for my lovely bride and our guests at the reception.

7. What are your guilty pleasures?

My guilty pleasure is one that has gotten me on the fast track to high cholesterol. I can eat pizza anytime! In college, my roommate and I kept the local Toppers Pizza in business. They had what we called the triple order of cheese breadsticks. Ranch, nacho cheese, and garlic butter were my dips of choice. I rarely have the chance to have them now, but my beautiful fiancée was nice enough to get me an order for my birthday this year. Mmmm, I want some Toppers!

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