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Thursday, June 20, 2024

David Sebastian – An Exclusive Interview – EU Alumni Perspective

Date:

  • Name: David Sebastian
  • Graduation Year: 2009
  • Major: Accounting
  • Current Position: CFO at a family office
  • City and State: Dallas

Tell us about your career and what you do now.

I began as a staff accountant after earning my master’s degree and CPA. Started in Sun Valley, Idaho, and later moved to Deloitte in San Francisco. Transitioned to a multi-family office due to burnout in public accounting, where I help families maximize their wealth. Act as a central point for families with various advisors. Manage payroll, investments, and more for about $50m in annual spending. Clients see me as a financial therapist, offering guidance on complex decisions. I value the trust and relationships built with clients, aiming to help achieve financial goals and leave a legacy.

What is your favorite memory from Evangel?

Looking back at my time at Evangel, it was truly transformative. The community stood out the most – from dorms to the football team. Relationships and lasting connections were key. Evangel’s focus on spiritual growth was unique. Professors challenged us academically and spiritually, chapel united us to grow in faith.

Evangelism was pivotal in shaping my calling. It helped me understand my identity as a child of Christ. Strengthening my relationship with Christ clarified my sense of self, guiding my path. It was a formative experience that shaped me significantly.

How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?

After graduating, I moved to the Bay Area – an environment filled with constant motion, a fast-paced lifestyle, and tempting distractions. San Francisco posed challenges, but by resisting the current, I grew stronger. Wrestling with greed, status climbing, and intense environments, I made tough decisions that shaped my faith and work. With God’s help, I thrived amidst the city’s turnover, staying true to my identity. Despite challenges, God remained faithful, guiding me through 8 years of struggle to a place I never imagined.

What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?

Diving deep into your identity is crucial. When working with high-net-worth families, we ask, “Who am I within the family? Who am I outside of it? What role do I play?” This self-awareness is vital for career prep, too. Knowing your strengths and identity and how God designed you allows your true self to shine. Personal growth leads you to where you’re meant to be.

For a successful career foundation, imagine a three-legged stool. Aligning all three legs—location, industry, and job function—stabilizes your career. Starting with one leg is fine; gradually align all for stability. With hard work and intention, you can shift between job types. It takes effort, but aligning these aspects is key to a fulfilling career.

What are you working on now?

I just finished writing a book called The Money Mind for Kids: 7 Secrets the Wealthy Teach Their Children. I’d be happy to share a free copy with all of you. As a CFO, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about finance and financial literacy. I’ve had the privilege of passing this wisdom on to families and their heirs, helping them manage their money and plan for the future. Money management can get tricky, but I believe there are key topics everyone should understand, no matter where they are on their financial journey.

What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?

In today’s world, where tech and info overload is a thing, it’s key to stay humble and keep learning. Finding folks willing to hustle, no matter how small the task, can be tough. Yet, if you can amp up your productivity by doing your job twice as fast, you’ll become a real asset to your team. As believers, let’s focus on how we treat our work relationships, whether they’re above, at, or below us. Show respect, love, and kindness to all, no matter their position. Prioritizing these connections means we’re doing our part as Christ’s followers, spreading His love at work.

Aiman Aamir
Aiman Aamir
Aiman Aamir has written for a variety of publications, including some of the known magazines. Her work has been praised for its engaging and informative content, as well as its unique perspective on the world of fashion, lifestyle, marketing and innovation. Whether she is writing about the latest runway shows, models, travel destinations or latest digital trends, Aiman always delivers insightful and well-researched articles that resonate with her audience.

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