While most people think of sunshine when it comes to Arizona, Dillan Micus likes to associate it with opportunity. It was a career opportunity — a promotion with AXA Advisors, a long-time leader in financial services — that brought him to Scottsdale back in 2005.
Opportunity for Success
As the Executive Vice President of the Southwest for AXA Advisors, Dillan hadn’t been living here long when the economic tsunami came crashing down. And while it’s natural to view the Great Recession in a negative light, he also acknowledges the opportunities it created for his firm, which recovered quickly and began posting exceptional growth while other wealth management companies struggled.
The parallel that Dillan draws between the success of his firm and Arizona is that both have done well by charting their respective course. Unlike competitors who competed for older, experienced advisors, AXA Advisors wisely positioned itself by hiring young fresh faces. It was challenging during the economic downturn, but after the recession wiped out the do-it-yourself investor market and demand surged for financial services, his young team members began to shine. And as other companies struggle to replace the older advisors they’re losing to retirement, AXA Advisors has fully staffed its team with strong talent. Dillan also believes his younger advisors give him an edge because they have a rapport with the new breed of successful millennial entrepreneurs who need help growing their wealth. In his opinion, things have never looked better.
Likewise, Arizona goes against expectations. When people from back east think of Arizona, they tend to associate it with sunshine and desert, but they don’t necessarily think of wealth and opportunity. But it’s home to both. As Dillan points out, when people have made their wealth elsewhere, they frequently move to Arizona to buy property, invest, and possibly start a new venture.
Many Reasons to Stay
Moreover, Dillan says his adopted state is a land of opportunity for those who are hungry enough to go get it. He notes that the transient nature of its population is an advantage because Arizona does not have the rigid power structures of older cities like New York City where the barrier for entry is a lot higher for newcomers. In Arizona, it’s far easier for new arrivals to immerse themselves into the business community at a higher level and rise quickly.
But the appeal of Arizona is more than just opportunity. Dillan understands why people stay once they come here. He loves the lifestyle, and though he’s been here for thirteen years, he still feels like he’s on vacation. The area is vibrant with new restaurants and venues. And as an avid golfer, he finds the sunny weather and abundance of top-rated golf courses a serious bonus. And if he wants to get away for a quick ski trip to the Rockies or an excursion to California or Mexico, they are a short hour-long flight away.
“I’ve had opportunities to go to other cities, but the lifestyle I have is so much better than some of my peers in other cities who make more money or have bigger titles.”
If he could add a sixth C, his would be creativity. The Greater Phoenix metro area is the fifth largest in the country, but unlike other cities that have a concentrated area where business takes place, the sprawling geography and differing characteristics of each town mean it takes creativity to build a sales book.
But it’s a challenge that Dillan and his team are always ready to answer, and he sees long-term success for them — and for Arizona — for years to come.
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