Steve Sebag: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today’s Notable Young Professional is Pavilion Investment House’s Steve Sebag, whose primary goal is to assist families achieve their financial and lifestyle objectives. What was the inspiration for this career route? Find out in today’s profile…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I assist the families that entrust me with the handling of their wealth achieve their financial and lifestyle objectives. Not sure a mob reference is the flavour of the day but a good analogy would be to try to position myself as the “consigliere” of the family a la Robert Duvall.

Why did you start working at your company?
The founders of our old firm, Assante, sold the business and, after a couple of years when they started Pavilion Investment House, they asked us to join and open the Montreal office, et voila.

What was the inspiration for this career route?
Reconciling my urge to be an entrepreneur with the discipline I adore.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?
Corny, cliché, whatever you want to call it, but helping people. Financial literacy is important and helping my clients makes sense of the craziness of the financial markets in an age of instantaneous and so often superfluous information is most gratifying.

Most challenging?
Helping families make sense of their emotions. Greed and fear are the biggest obstacles to achieving one’s goals.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Five, 10, 20 or 30 years. I see myself doing the same thing. Being close to my clients and helping them, quarter by quarter, to meet and surpass their aspirations. Hopefully the law of compounding holds true and I get to do it with even more families! 

What does success look like to you?
I am the last person that will define success solely as a level of wealth or status. To me, the ability to affect change, inspire others and stay true to your value system defines one’s success. As much as we hate to admit it, the biggest outlier in the financial success of an individual is luck. Often times, we are not smarter, better looking or more charismatic than the next person, but just luckier. To me, this realization is truly humbling.

From a business standpoint, I think one has achieved success if his clients become his biggest ambassadors and feel confident they can introduce him to their inner circle.  

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Stepping outside the comfort zone of being a well-regarded and paid employee to more of an ‘eat what you kill’ type of setup a few years ago. 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Be honest with yourself and others. Yourself: Do you like what you are doing? Are you doing it with passion and diligence? Others: Your reputation is the be all and end all. Do not jeopardize it at any cost. Integrity will always be in high demand.  

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I am lucky and proud to be the Chair of the 2013 YAD Campaign of Federation Combined Jewish Appeal, meaning that, in essence, I am responsible for all fundraising and engagement initiatives dealing with the 24-41-year-olds in Montreal’s Jewish Community. This year, this endeavour demands almost exclusivity in terms of involvement but I have been active in numerous charities over the last 10 years ranging from support for the arts to health and medical causes. I do not consider myself to be magnanimous, but rather very lucid about how very fortunate we are. As one of my favorite authors, Michael Lewis, would say, “We owe a debt to the unlucky.”

What to you is notable?
Aside from a group of talented individuals building a solid lifestyle brand? Haha. Notable means leaving your mark in this world. Touching people and making a difference in the lives of those close and not so close to you.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Wow you might not even publish this after reading this answer but I’m a loyal guy so I still “function” with a BlackBerry! I own a tablet and I wrote two emails in two years from it! Nothing beats a Berry keyboard.