Mason Beuhring, Communications & Program Services Director at Marietta Community Foundation, sits down with Ryan Elliott, member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, to get to know this prominent community member.
Mason Beuhring: How did you get started in your current profession as a Wealth Management Advisor for Northwestern Mutual?
Ryan Elliott: I attended The Ohio State University, majoring in Chemical Engineering. After completing an internship at a plant, I determined that wasn’t the best fit for me and switched to Industrial Systems Engineering. I ended up taking an Accounting course and really liked it. Again, I realized Engineering wasn’t for me and made a final switch to a degree in Accounting.
I worked a busy season with a public accounting firm and was offered a job, but I was hesitant. That’s when someone suggested that I become a Financial Advisor. I came back to Marietta and interviewed with a [Northwestern Mutual] guy in Charleston that a few of my friends had connections with. Now I‘ve been doing this for 19 years.
MB: You mentioned that you came back to Marietta, are you originally from here?
RE: Yes, I’m originally from Marietta, graduating from Marietta High School in 1995. After I graduated college, I decided that Columbus was nice, but I like the smaller town feel.
I thought about the connections I had back home and figured it might be easier to establish my career here… and it has been.
MB: What are some hobbies that you enjoy when you aren’t in the office?
RE: I have four daughters, three of whom have played soccer at some point, and one that plays basketball. When I’m not coaching my daughters’ teams, I like to go out on our boat or enjoy a round of golf. That’s about the extent of any hobbies that I have time for right now.
MB: You mentioned you coach soccer and basketball for your daughters, did you grow up playing sports?
RE: I played soccer through 6th grade, but focused more on football. In high school I suffered several concussions and made the switch to golf. But, I feel like I can coach any sport, because I enjoy coaching.
MB: I’m going to change directions because I want to know how you got involved with the Foundation?
RE: John and Carol Wharff are friends with my parents and once, while they were visting, Carol suggested I get involved with some type of fund.
At the time I was single, with no kids, not a lot of money, but I had a few life insurance policies. She told me about the 1788 Legacy Society, and I happily joined. “If I died, I still want to help someone,” so I thought joining the Legacy Society was a good way to fulfill that goal.
*The 1788 Legacy Society is for charitable individuals who have named the Foundation in their estate plans.
About four years ago I was asked to join the Foundation’s Finance Committee, and this past year I joined the full Board of Directors.
I believe in what we do here at the Foundation and I love our town, so I’m thrilled to be in this position.
MB: You started your term on the board at the same time I was hired on, which was back in December. What has been your overall impression since starting in your new role?
RE: I didn’t realize how many nonprofit organizations the Foundation has helped fund and how much the Foundation currently accomplishes in Washington County. This has given me even more assurance that our organization is meeting its mission.
We exercise thorough due diligence when we give out grants, ensuring that the resources will be applied appropriately by sustainable organizations. I feel confident telling my clients who want to give charitably, that the Foundation is a place where it will be used wisely. Here at the Foundation, you can leverage what you’re giving and multiply it.
I was a bit naive at first, thinking that everyone establishes funds and that’s all there is, but there really is so much more.
MB: What is one aspect of the Foundation that you specifically enjoy?
RE: Learning about how the grant process works has been the most exciting. I’m a big believer of trying to find more resources for the unrestricted funds. I think it is great to have restricted funds, but because of how well we manage money for the grant process, it gave me more confidence in how we operate.
MB: Ryan, thank you for taking a moment to speak with me.
RE: No problem at all.