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St. Louis RCGA

By Christine Imbs

Most sales representatives would agree making cold calls aren’t easy. But according to Jim Weddle, managing partner for Edward Jones, they can also be downright dangerous.

“I had just opened a branch office for Edward Jones in Connersville, Ind., a small farm community,” he says. “And it was a hot August day, and I was in my suit going from farmhouse to farmhouse.”

Weddle says normally he’d speak with the farmer’s wife, but on this one particular occasion, she sent him to talk with her husband. Seeing the farmer in a distant field riding back and forth on his tractor, Weddle set off. The farmer didn’t notice him at first, but his bull sure did.

“I looked up and saw this bull walking toward me,” he says. “Of course, I started getting a little nervous, so I started walking faster. But the faster I walked, the faster the bull walked. I said to myself, ‘This is not good.’”

Fortunately, Weddle made it to the farmer with only his pride hurt. The farmer just laughed. “He said to me, ‘Young man, they will chase you if you run. Don’t run.’ All I could say was, ‘Yes sir!’”

As a boy living in Naperville, Ill., it’s doubtful that Weddle ever imagined he would come face-to-face with a bull, at least not like this. Originally his plan was to become a veterinarian. But a month-long internship while attending DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., made him rethink his options.

“I love animals, so I just thought being a veterinarian would be fun,” he explains. “But after a month of late night emergencies, and going to the sale barn to blood-type hogs, and a few other things better left unmentioned, I just knew it wasn’t for me.”

Weddle ended up getting his B.A. at DePauw in psychology, with a minor in business and economics. He went on to Washington University and was working on his MBA when he joined Edward Jones as a part-time researcher. But although he loved the company, as well as the industry, research just didn’t interest him. What he wanted was to be out in the field talking to folks.

“While working in research, I would talk with the field representatives. They were energetic, upbeat, enthusiastic and interacting with the firm’s clients,” he explains. “I thought, ‘I’m on the wrong end of the phone. I’ve got to get out there.’ So I studied for my Series 7, a six-hour licensing exam. And I did this while working 30 hours a week and attending Wash U. I ended up being the 200th investment representative hired.”

Weddle worked as an investment representative for seven years while in Indiana. He later took on the responsibility for the firm’s growth on the East Coast. By 1997, he was responsible for managing the firm's branch offices, which included responsibility for not only the facilities themselves, but also investment representatives’ compensation, recognition and leadership development. He became only the fifth managing partner in Edward Jones’ history in January this year. Still, he admits he misses the client interaction.

“It was fun sitting across the desk from someone, or in their living room, learning about their financial goals, understanding their situations and helping them find solutions,” he says. “And the work we do is very, very important. People need to save. They need to get those dollars working. And we’re helping them to do so.”

But there is one thing he doesn’t miss—that bull. “He was really big,” he says laughing. I thought for certain my career had ended right then and there. It was an interesting day to say the least.”


BORN: Elgin, Ill.
FAMILY: Wife, Stacey and three kids –Lindsey, Christopher and Dusty.
EDUCATION: B.A. from DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.; MBA from Washington University
HOBBIES: Water sports and old cars. Still owns a white 1970 Alfa Romeo Spider that he bought in 1971.
CURRENTLY READING: “The World is Flat” by Thomas L. Friedman
IMPRESSIONS OF ST. LOUIS: A great place to raise your family. Wonderful sports and cultural venues, as well as educational institutions.


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Cover Story with Creg Williams, St. Louis Public Schools
Dr. Don Senti, School District of Clayton
Circus Flora

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Jim Weedle, Edward Jones
Mike Shannon’s Steak and Seafood



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