Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hometown success story: Theodore Parrish, CFA

The next time you are browsing through the stations on your TV searching for something good to watch, scroll down the dial to CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, PBS, or Fox Business Channel and you might see a familiar face talking stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and all things related to the world of Wall St. with the big boys.  You can also see his face when you log on to, as well as his weekly appearance as a financial expert on Fox 5’s Good Day Atlanta.  You can hear his voice as the co-host of “Money Talks” every Sunday morning from 10 to 11 am on Talk 920 WGKA Atlanta, GA.

That familiar face and voice is Folkston native Theodore Parrish.

Parrish has become a major player in the financial world and has been interviewed extensively by some of the most respected publications on the market.  His name can be seen in Black Enterprise Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, Bloomberg Markets, Standard & Poor’s, and many other mainstream publications and websites. 

He’s employed by the Henssler Financial Group and currently serves as the Principal and Director of Investments, as well as the Co-Portfolio Manager of the Henssler Equity Fund.  Henssler, located in Kennesaw, GA is one of the largest independent financial planning and wealth management firms in Atlanta with assets under advisement of more than $1.25 billion.

In 2009 Parrish was recognized on the FIVE STAR Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Managers list in Atlanta Magazine and named to Georgia Trend’s “40 Under 40.”  This list represents 40 high-achieving Georgians under the age of 40 who are influencing the state’s future in business, government, education, the arts, and charitable organizations. 

His Alma Mater of Kennesaw State University recently named Parrish to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, where he serves on the Real Estate and Audit committees.  Prior to this, Parrish has also served as head of the Projected Costs subcommittee for the Kennesaw State University Football Exploratory Committee and is a major fundraiser for athletic programs at the school.

"I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve with such a professional and entrepreneurial board.  I look forward to helping develop the Foundation's vision that will move Kennesaw forward in their continued tradition of enhancing higher education for students, faculty and staff" said Parrish.

His financial knowledge is in high demand as he’s sought out on a regular basis to conduct investment seminars for the firm and serves as a guest speaker for both investment and student groups.  At least twice a semester Parrish speaks to both undergraduate and graduate level students in the business college about applying theoretical financial models to actual financial markets.

So what makes Parrish different from any other kid that grew up in Folkston?  How did he go from small town kid to being one of the hottest names in the financial world?  Did he grow up with more advantages than any other kid in the neighborhood?  Where did his drive for success come from?

Those questions are rhetorical in nature and are presented to suggest that no matter how good or bad a person has it growing up, or where they are from, success can be achieved through hard work and dedication.  Some people use a variety of excuses to validate their position in life.  Whether it’s the condition of the neighborhood they grew up in, the absence of one or both parents at home, or believing that the system is set up against them.  There are obvious flaws in the legal justice system that can’t be denied or debated.  We can fight the injustices in the system with a change in behavior; a change in mindset; a change in habits; and a change in the way we choose to conduct business.

Families and communities all over the country need young Black men to contribute to society more than we can imagine.  Think about how big of a financial mess the prison industry would be in if young Black men didn’t give them their business.  Private prisons in specific thrive off of rural towns like Folkston, with the promise of bringing jobs and tax revenue to the community, but at the expense of young Black men.  Please young people, do everything you can to stop putting money into the pockets of the prison executives.  Prison doesn’t give anybody street credibility, or make you tougher than the next person.  As a matter of fact, prison takes away far more than it could ever give and robs a man of something he will never be able to get back; TIME.

The societal crutches and cultural conditioning that exists in our communities has to be broken at some point. If we doesn’t like the path our parents or siblings took, we can choose a different path that will take us down the road to success.  We don’t have to settle for selling drugs, living in poverty, living in single parent homes, or relying on the government to help the community.  There is no doubt that the next generation can be better than the generation before us.  The elders have paved the way with blood, sweat and tears and it’s our job to continue paving the road for the generations that will follow us.  We can do better for ourselves, no doubt about it.

If Ted Parrish, a 1991 graduate of Charlton County High School can step out of the vicious circle that can be found in rural towns and metropolitan cities, so can any young man or woman.  Keep making us proud Ted.  Thanks for representing your family, friends, and hometown in the positive manner that you have up to this point and in the future. I salute you my brother!

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