Park M. Drescher, BMO Private Bank
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Park M. Drescher, vice president, director — Trust and Estate Services, BMO Private Bank.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
Helping multiple generations of families identify and convey their values to each other through conversations around wealth is one of the most rewarding aspects of my position. It is an honor to assist families spanning from the greatest generation through millennials in opening up to each other and discussing what matters most to them. Working with my team at BMO Private Bank to serve as a conduit for families to come together and realize their financial goals is the part of my role that I treasure most.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have many mentors and sources of leadership inspiration in business. My father, who was a merger and acquisitions attorney in St. Louis, worked primarily in the banking industry for over 50 years has been a guiding light. His strong vision, caring, persistence, excellent ethics, attention to detail, clear communication, and focus inspire me. The ability to balance business success and family is an inspiration for me to this day. Like many in his era, he was also a World War II veteran. His experience in the U.S. Army — serving in the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive campaign on the Western front — helped him discover his own resiliency and develop a clear definition of what he valued most — family and community. These values help guide me in my day-to-day activities.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
There have been several high points during my career. Completing my law degree and earning my Certified Trust Financial Advisor designation are worthy accomplishments; however, facilitating communication of value between generations while reaching financial goals stands out as a bright spot. In many instances, I find myself working closely with families to fulfill goals of giving back to the community. Whether that community connection comes through volunteering time and talent, direct philanthropy, or angel investors in startups, it is an honor to work with clients as they give back with gratitude to their communities, ensuring they remain a vital place to live for generations to come. One instance that comes to mind, which had a huge life-altering impact on the participants, was a professor retiring from a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin. She had established a charitable foundation to make certain the assistance she gave while actively teaching to talented, financially needy students would continue after she was gone.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
I was brought up writing handwritten notes to my grandparents. My own children, who are 24 and 22 years old, grew up teaching their grandfather to text. I would give my 21-year-old self the same advice I give my own sons. Discover what brings you meaning and purpose and pursue it. Do what you love and the rest will fall into place. I also encourage them to harness and embrace the powerful changes in technology and communication that are developing, as it will be a part of the future. Additionally, when making important decisions, take time to reflect on your motivations and analyze your intentions. If your decision-making process is not motivated out of positive principles, take some additional time before you act.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
Dane County is a great place to live and work. The small-town charm of the surrounding communities balances the vibrancy of Madison. My family and I enjoy the nature, lakes, parks, world-class University of Wisconsin with its cultural and sports offerings, great restaurants, and unique shopping. A Saturday morning walk on the Picnic Point Path with our family dog or a bike ride along the Lakeshore Path are two easy ways to access the nature that I appreciate in Dane County. While there are so many opportunities to explore around every corner, what really makes a great community is the people. The supportive, innovative sense of community here in Dane County is one of the best things about living and working here.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprises to discover?
I have played tennis ever since I was 5 years old, and I competed in the Davis Cup as a high school student. I continue to enjoy tennis with family and friends.
What are your guilty pleasures?
I enjoy reading, Shakespeare, theater, and travel. I also enjoy 1940s British movies from Ealing Studios and work by directors such as David Lean. Our Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Hazel, also provides us with lots of fun.
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