In the time since Steve Ryan graduated from Pamplin in 2006 with a B.S. in Finance, his career has greatly evolved. After exploring the field of finance and becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with Genworth Financial, Steve found himself at the University of Virginia’s School of Law. He then began his legal career as an associate with Cooley LLP in their Emerging Companies and Venture Capital group and recently made the switch to become an associate with DLA Piper, LLP in their Emerging Growth and Venture Capital group.
Do you have a favorite part of your job, and what is challenging about it?
My favorite part of my job is definitely working with entrepreneurs and investors to offer solutions to their legal and business issues and ultimately help them be successful. However, the most challenging part of this career path is the demand on time and being “on-call” to service clients effectively.
What are you most excited for with your new job at DLA Piper?
I think the most exciting thing is having the chance to take a moment and really process what I’ve learned in the last three years at Cooley and then be able to apply it to a clean slate. It is a similar feeling to that amazing time in college between semesters. I’m also excited to join a great team at DLA and start contributing.
What drove you to join the RAB?
The idea was introduced to me by Stephen Skripak, a professor I have a lot of respect for and I’ve stayed close with since graduation. I wanted to get involved because I thought there were a lot of things at Pamplin that could be benefited by the experience of recent alumni. To put it more simply, joining the RAB was a chance for me to give back more than just financially. At this point in my career, my experience and relationships are probably more valuable to current Pamplin students than the financial piece I can offer.
Do you have a favorite book?
I read constantly and have many books that I consider to be invaluable. As I’ve evolved and switched paths, I’ve read a lot of the “classic” business books but I think the book that’s had the biggest impact for me is How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen. It is modeled after the business book format, but it was really written because Christensen saw so many of his intelligent and successful classmates and then students from Harvard Business School fail horribly in their personal lives. There were these people that were tremendously successful professionally, but they were going through divorces and their kids didn’t like them—they weren’t happy. I re-read the book to remind myself about the danger of chasing career success to the detriment of what really matters, family.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to spend as much time as I can with my family. My wife Danielle (Pamplin ’04), also has a demanding career as a general dentist and practice co-owner in Fairfax, Virginia, so it is truly a team effort at home.. We have two young children—an almost three-year-old daughter and a 9 month old son. When we are not working, we are with them. It goes back to how you measure your life—I make a conscious effort to try to find balance.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Enjoy your time in Blacksburg. It’s a special place and a special time in your life. Four years feels like so much time but it’s amazing how quickly it goes by. Get the most out of it by showing up, especially when you don’t feel like it.