As a 2009 Pamplin graduate, Christina Todd entered the finance industry at a vulnerable time – but in the seven years since she left Blacksburg, she has consistently continued to work her way to the top.
Todd majored in Finance, but spent a lot of her free time at Virginia Tech enjoying activities both within and outside of Pamplin. She was the Female Member at Large for her class, participated in SEED as well as the Student Alumni Associates Organization, and even went on a study abroad trip to Australia to study sustaining human life in the natural environment.
Now, Todd is a partner at Graystone Consulting, which is a wealth management firm through Morgan Stanley, located in Richmond, Va. We sat down with Todd to hear more about her journey both here at Virginia Tech, and post-graduation.
Could you tell me a little bit about your current position?
Our team’s objective [at Greystone] really is to assist our clients to grow, preserve, and protect their wealth. To me, the relationships that I manage are much more than money. We take our clients through a planning based process and whether it includes access to banking and loaning, insurance, estate planning, business services, and tax planning; we take a very holistic approach to helping folks achieve economic stability and financial success.
How did your journey from graduation until now play out?
The summer between my junior and senior year I interned with Goldman Sachs in NYC, and I loved it – it was an amazing experience, but I also learned that I couldn’t do that life. After that, I was sort of at a loss of what to do because I had built my entire career on obtaining that specific internship and wanting to do that full time – so I really had to start from ground zero about what I would like to do…I was very fortunate to obtain a job with BB&T as part of their Leadership Development
Program…I realized that while I loved what I did and I excelled quickly, it wasn’t really what I wanted to do forever. That’s when I started looking at firms like Morgan Stanley to start building my business.
Were any of those transitions particularly influential?
I developed a mentorship with a woman at BB&T. She gave me the best advice: fail early and fail often. Take the time in your first years in college to do a lot of things and hone your skill set and not be afraid that you’re going to get into a situation or not like something. That’s perfectly normal.
In your mind, what is the best part of your job?
I really love the people aspect of my job, I love the analytics, and I love the navigating the difficult waters in this market; but, I have also always wanted to own my own business. This is a culmination of a lot of different things and it took me the better part of a decade to figure it all out. My favorite part is getting to take care of people and their families and their businesses; what we do is so important and we can never lose sight of the client.
Aside from work, Todd is active in the non-profit volunteering space in Richmond, and finds time to spend hiking with her family and friends. Additionally, she now serves on the Initiatives Committee for the Recent Alumni Board.
“I really think [the RAB] is going to be able to hone in on learning what students in Pamplin are in need of. I also think we can establish relationships with folks that are interested in giving back to the university and don’t know how to get involved,” she said.
In terms of giving back to the college, Todd had some initial words of advice for students:
“Remember that the two things that people cannot take away from you are you’re integrity and your education,” Todd explained. “You need to be authentic with everyone, transparent with most, and have really solid healthy intimate relationships with some. Never stop learning and don’t forget the phenomenal skill set you have, which really sets most Virginia Tech students apart.”