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DBT40 Honoree: Michael Durstein

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Age: 28
Financial Adviser, Diamond State Financial Group (Newark)

Why me?  I believe that I exemplify the spirit of DBT40 and the local Delaware business community. Each day, I try to bring innovation and energy to the work that I do with my clients in financial planning. Delaware is very relationship-based and I fully recognize the importance to bring a consistent version of myself every day – personally, professionally, spiritually and philanthropically. I always say that financial planning found me, and not the other way around. It marries my insatiable desire to study and learn the world of finance with the innate desire to help people to achieve their goals. I am just scratching the surface of what I want to do from here to 40, but I am off to a rousing start!

Professional accomplishments:  Our national broker-dealer, Securian Financial, has its own metric that it uses to track adviser production. With that, they award advisers who show exceptional performance in their peer (similar tenured) group each year. They do this by awarding “club qualification” which in turn leads to qualification for various trips and conventions, and I’ve performed at an increasingly high level each year.

Leadership examples: My involvement in charity is a driving force in my life. Work makes up a huge percentage of our time each week, but there have to be causes that motivate you to volunteer your time. With the Delaware HIV Consortium, I currently serve as board treasurer. Additionally, I will be starting my term as the chair of the governance committee with the Muscle Movement Foundation this year. My role as a board member will be the same, but I will take on the duties of board oversight and growth as an additional primary focus. 

In my day-to-day profession as a financial adviser, I have to be a leader and a steward for my clients as they navigate their financial lives. Leading them through a real estate purchase, wedding, divorce or birth of a child creates new and different challenges each day.

Vision for the future:  For my next step to Senior Associate, I will need to continue my revenue- producing growth, maintain good standing with the firm and complete the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) program. My target completion date for the CFP is Summer 2020. 

Community service: I not only serve as a board member on two local nonprofits, I also hold leadership roles with both. Philanthropically, I zeroed in on the causes of the Delaware HIV Consortium and the Muscle Movement Foundation as opportunities for me to really add value. With the Consortium, I am the youngest board member. With that, I feel a responsibility to spread awareness and action around the still-existing HIV/AIDS epidemic in our country and around the world.  My passion for working with MMF comes from personal and life altering interaction with the impact of neuromuscular disease. Having a best friend impacted with such a debilitating condition when we were barely old enough to drive is hard to compartmentalize. Seeing him take that experience and turn it into such a positive in our community has been unbelievable. How could I not want to be at the forefront of an organization like that.

Currently reading: “Everybody Ought to be Rich” by David Farber. The book chronicles the life and times of John Jakob Raskob, an innovative financier and self-made businessman. Raskob had plenty to do with the growth of the DuPont Co., General Motors and the development of the Wilmington area in the early 1900s.

Michael with his dog Kona

Go-to song for karaoke: I’ve been known to partake in the Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way” karaoke when I’m on vacation on Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks.

Biggest missed opportunity? I hosted trivia at a bar in college in Columbia, South Carolina. One night a patron told me that she had connections at NBC 10 Philly and that I had a voice for TV and that she wanted to get me in touch with the folks up there. I took down her name and information, put it in my pocket and promptly put my shorts in the wash when I got home. Never heard from her again! What could have been!

First job: Cooking on the grill at Valle Cucina in Pike Creek – age 15 – Couldn’t even drive to work!

Family and education: My girlfriend, Megan, and I live together in Midtown Brandywine with our dog Kona, a German shepherd mix. Bachelor of science degree from the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

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