4 Questions with Byron Braun in Fort Wayne Business People Magazine
Braun is a Fort Wayne native and Bishop Dwenger alumni who is passionate about giving back to the local community. He shared with us his interests, business practices and what’s coming up next for him.
Q1: What does it mean to you being involved in our community?
Ever since high school I have always been involved in the community, and even then, I always tried to think outside the box. I was also involved in politics during college and as I began to enter the business world. Now, in my current phase of my life, I try to remain focused because being involved in too many things can diminish the impact you’re trying to achieve. I think it’s important to associate with people who are empowered and successful.
Q2: Could you please explain the organizations you have a passion for?
First, I am the co-founder of the Fort Wayne Children’s Foundation, and I am very proud of that. We now have over $825,000 in the corpus—half of all our funds raised go back to the community and the other half goes back into the corpus. Last year we awarded six grants expanding our footprints to other surrounding counties. In past years, our main fundraiser was The Summit City Chef Competition, and this year we plan to host a masquerade ball with the theme “Behind the Mask”… “Unmasking Abuse in Our Communities.”
I am also on the Board of Trustees at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and am also Chairman of the Finance Committee. My wife Linn, being an art major from St. Francis, has helped increase my appreciation and interest in art. I like being involved with such a great organization that helps make the arts a core aspect of our community.
Thirdly, I am passionate about being a charter member of Legatus in Fort Wayne, which Linn and I are honored to be asked to join. Legatus is a national Catholic business ambassador program originally founded by Tom Monahan (Domino’s pizza founder) and inspired while on a trip visiting Pope John Paul II. We meet monthly to learn and discuss various Catholic issues and how we can incorporate those ideas into our lives as business people.
Q3: Do you have a business philosophy, and with that in mind, how do you define success?
In terms of business practices, I had the ability and good fortune to be hired into the financial industry at age 22. I understand my personal limitations and I can’t be everything to everybody. Early in my career I made a list on a legal pad of my positives and negatives, and how to focus on the strong ones. In the 40 years I have been doing this, I feel I have an uncanny ability to understand women better than men in the business world. I also try to keep people’s attention and keep them engaged—a mentor of mine said if you can’t explain something in five minutes, don’t do it. What we do here at Braun Wealth Management Group is very focused, and our list is shorter, simpler, more disciplined and easier to understand. We also have an open-door policy with our clients. Our business model allows us to accomplish in one day what I believe other firms would take much longer to do because we are focused and well educated about our profession. If you have a business model you live daily and tweak, your efficiencies are off the charts. I believe in being politely persistent as well. Success is seeing your children meet their life’s goals and helping clients achieve theirs.
Q4: What is up next for you?
For me and my wife, an amazing partner, we will be taking more meaningful trips, such as a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Linn has been wanting to go for several years, so we might visit this year or next. Another item on our list is our son Cameron’s wedding in August, which is very exciting! Our daughter, Meredith, is on the Nike design team for children’s wear in New York, and our son Carson just moved to Baltimore and works as an analyst for T. Rowe Price, so we will visit them more. I also want to play more tennis, as our entire family has always played. I’ve never been a big golfer, but I would like to improve my game. Maybe ten years from now, I’d like to write a book about my experiences as a financial advisor. I would also like to take our model with the Children’s Foundation (half today, half for tomorrow’s generations) and help it blossom into other community organizations.