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Voice of Experience: Angie Sabel, Managing Director at Abbot Downing New York

Being curious will get you far on your professional journey, finds Angie Sabel. “It drives your understanding of the ‘why’ and the people and the process.”

Angie SabelAnd that’s an approach that helps Sabel always anticipate how she can best serve her clients. “I am always anticipating and prepared with solutions no matter what the discussion might be with clients and colleagues.”

Helping Families Drives a Successful and Fulfilling Career

Sabel started her career in public accounting with a goal of advancing to a position where she would work hands-on with family offices or family enterprise. She gravitated toward this work because of the desire to be an inclusive contributing partner across all touch points of a client’s financial vision. “Helping future generations offers a connectivity and longevity that has been very rewarding,” she says. She finds that the best part of her position is meeting the entire family and understanding each individual’s role and how they want to use their wealth to positively impact their families and communities.

Sabel finds fulfillment in knowing that her team of thought leaders provides the most knowledgeable resources to help her clients. “Wealth clients are unique in their needs and clients realizes we have a depth of resources available, including connecting with other clients, that provide options to assist with decision making,” she says. “I’m proud to work with people who have spent their whole career developing their craft. Because each one is unique in its own way, we can share our knowledge, research and experience to help them achieve their goals.”

For Sabel, building these long-standing relationships has been one of the professional achievements she’s most proud of. “In school you’re always encouraged to earn the best scores in order to show you’re prepared and capable, but I have realized that even more important is really understanding the person with whom you’re working—whether it’s a client or manager. By focusing more on them and less on yourself, you’ll find ways to connect and that is how you are going to create the relationships that will lead to a rewarding career.”

Embracing the Benefits of Being a Mentor and Mentee

As Sabel nurtures the next generation of wealth advisors, she assures rising talent that no one needs to feel as though they have to strive for perfection. “It’s more engaging when we come as our real selves,” she says, adding that she wishes she had known this earlier in her career, as she would have been more prone to making decisions faster and being more confident knowing that she didn’t have to come with all the answers.

To that end, she encourages rising talent to explore avenues to build their self confidence. The good news, she says, is that this trait isn’t relative—it’s about what makes you personally confident. And for that reason, there’s no single prescribed path to success, but everyone needs to think about what they want to do and why they are seeking a particular position. “Be honest with yourself and trust your instincts to make good, informed decisions,” she advises.

Sabel always looks for opportunities to build her professional skills, and knows that learning can come at any time, and from any direction. She finds her direct manager to be an important resource and frequently learns from the mentees she has met through her work as a mentor with Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell, noting that their energy and questions inspire her.

Professional development is important, and she particularly appreciates participating in roundtables, as she finds them to be a very practical model for sharing what you’re dealing with in real time, and obtaining advice and best practices from others who have been in applicable situations. “Because roundtables are less formal and structured, they encourage people to come together and share ideas in a more free-form manner, without having to rely on a prepared agenda. It’s a forum where people feel comfortable to share their vulnerabilities, and learn from each other.”

Sabel enjoys exploring new restaurants in New York with her husband, and sharing her experiences with friends, family and colleagues. She considers her husband to be one of her most influential advocates. “It’s important to have someone outside of work who can serve as a mentor in another way—someone who offers a different perspective, but always encourages you.”