I grew up in a Baltimore suburb. I was expected to earn my own spending money, so I cut lawns and worked in my grandfather's pharmacy behind the counter and delivered prescriptions. My first taste of the "real world" was working as a busboy at a high-end restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland, the summer I graduated from high school. Several other busboys were in their thirties, with families to support. It scared me that I might end up like them. That served as an incentive for me to do well in college. I received a B.S. in accounting from Drexel University in 1982. But after working three stints with accounting firms in Drexel's co-op program, I realized I wasn't passionate about the field. I'd always been fascinated with investing and the capital markets.

After getting an M.B.A in finance from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, I got a job at Legg Mason in Baltimore as an equity analyst following savings and loans, eventually adding banks and diversified financial companies. I also became a certified financial analyst and worked with a few clients on the retail side. Everything I had studied in business school led to the analytical side. I loved the intellectual exercise, but I wanted to get into sales and marketing. In 1992, I went to Jim Brinkley, the company's president at the time, and asked him if he thought that made sense. He supported my idea and I moved to the product side. By the time Smith Barney bought Legg Mason Wood Walker, the broker-dealer arm, in 2005, I was responsible for virtually all of the firm's products. I became head of Smith Barney's traditional investments and commuted to New York from Baltimore until 2007 when Legg Mason recruited me back.

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