Gregory Davis Principal, Fixed Income Group Vanguard Who is/was your most influential leadership mentor and why? If you believe in the truism, “To whom...

Gregory Davis

Principal, Fixed Income Group
Vanguard

Who is/was your most influential leadership mentor and why?
If you believe in the truism, “To whom much is given, much is required,” then I would definitely say that my boss, Ken Volpert, is my most influential leadership mentor. Over the last 10 years, Ken has displayed his strong work ethic, his commitment to putting his staff first, and his always finding time to give back to the community and help those in need. As a trusted counselor, he consistently demonstrates his mantra of always keeping his employees’ best interests in mind. His advocacy for me over the years has provided advancement opportunities that would have never unfolded without him. My success at Vanguard is greatly attributable to his highly effective leadership skills. And he is much more than a boss; he is a mentor, a role model, and a friend.

Who in your family had the most impact on your success?
I am extremely fortunate to be blessed with a great family; they have been a primary driver of my success. In addition to having provided continual support and encouragement throughout school, my parents instilled unwavering morals and values that continue to guide me. My older brother taught me what it means to dream, to put plans in place and to ultimately become successful in corporate America. My wife remains steadfast by my side and provides me with encouragement, guidance, and support along the way. And let me not dismiss the contributions of my children, who inspire me to be a better man every day. Without this team of support, I would not be where I am today.

What is your most rewarding career accomplishment?
Two years ago I was presented with a phenomenal growth opportunity to lead Vanguard’s bond indexing efforts with the team I was originally hired into as a trader. I went from managing several individual portfolios to managing a team of six portfolio managers and six traders who manage 28 bond index portfolios with over $130 billion in assets. This new role allows me to utilize many of the leadership skills I learned from my mentor.

What’s the worst fault a leader can have?
In my opinion, there are two big faults a leader can have. First, there is the shortcoming of being unethical/untrustworthy. Leaders who engage in this behavior compromise their employees, their organizations, and ultimately themselves. Employees who lack faith in their leaders are less likely to perform to their greatest potential, which exhausts morale and the overall performance of the firm. And then there is the weakness of being self-serving. Leaders who are selfish and always put their own needs above their employees often find themselves derailed. Without a highly motivated and engaged team it is difficult for a leader to be successful.

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