The Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation

Annual Program Book 2018-2019

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15 living is so much lower than Silicon Valley. Chicago is such a great city to do business in—the best in the country. From its central location and transportation hub, you can get anywhere in the country or in the world for that matter in a day. The talent pool is fantastic too. Chicago has more students coming out of college than any other place around, next to Boston. Chicago is an incubator right now. The challenges really relate to the uncertainty on the political side and the crime issues here that scare people away. Frequent yet isolated, those issues will have to be overcome. For employers everywhere, it's all labor now. It's hard to find people to do the work due to the low unemployment rate nationally. That being said, the labor market is comparatively good in Chicago and that's what's been the catalyst for the development that is taking place here. All else being equal, it's very possible that development will continue at similar levels over the foreseeable future. Q: As "Chicago's Bank" Wintrust has developed a reputation for its major philanthropic endeavors. What of the many contributions that Wintrust has made to neighborhoods in the City of Chicago stand out to you? A: I can't call one out because they are all important, from the littlest one to the biggest. We look at the contributions very simply. If we can make the neighborhood better, we do better. We've been able to grow over 27 years by being locally invested in whatever we do. Could be a rotary club in Hinsdale or a long term, seven figure commitment to educate low to moderate income kids throughout the greater Chicago area. They're all important to us. We do it because it is good business and it makes sense to serve the individual communities that make up this quilt of Chicago. If you start thinking about your ROI on a charitable endeavor, you lose the whole basis of what you're trying to accomplish. If you make the community better, everything gets better. Q: Why is it important to you, personally, to give back to your local community? A: You have to walk the walk. You can't just say you are going to do it. I'm a CPA by trade and quit my job aat a medium sized, local bank in 1991 to start Wintrust. Chicago was one of the last states to change their banking laws. When they did, the big banks bought all of the community banks. I saw an opportunity — consumers want to do business locally, they want the high touch that was always there in the community banks. Marry personal service with the latest and greatest technology and you quite possibly have a winning formula. So I showed up at a bombed out, 1,100 square foot storefront with a briefcase and a phone the size of the boot on a mission to start a bank. I started from nothing and I built, and along the way, I gained a responsibility to build the community. If you are going to be a community bank you have to get involved. What makes me feel good is that we have been able to maintain that giving back and grow it as we grow too. Q: Who were some of your mentors when you started your career? A: George Beck, who just passed away. I was studying public accounting in college having a good time. Playing rugby, studying a bit. My father asked, "What are you going to do?" I said, "Business," not knowing what type. So I went and studied accounting and became a CPA. A head banking partner in Chicago (George Beck) took me under his wing when all of the bank mergers started happening — when banking laws began to change. Nobody knew how to do it. He picked me and said figure out how to do it. I was a 28-year-old in meetings with executives around the country. There's no better way to learn than to just do it. He gave me an opportunity and helped me build my confidence. He was a wonderful mentor for me because he gave me that opportunity and trusted me to move ahead. More recently, he would call me and watch what we're doing at Wintrust and say, "Eddy, you're still doing it." You go back further to the education I had access to. A number of my educators were very helpful in those formative years, teaching me critical thinking to do the right thing, no matter the consequences. Jesuit education is built on doing for others. This mentality built a foundation for my style of leadership. If you start worrying about what it means for you, you won't be a good leader. Q: Any specific pieces of advice that you take with you today? A: My mom and dad taught me to never quit. I believe in failing forward — you are going to screw up. Make sure you learn when you do. We're at a point where we have to create the next group of people who are going to keep this place going. We have a responsibility to bring this next level of executives along. As my mentor told me, anybody can sell not everybody can build. We're on a mission to continue to be Chicago's bank. If you want your mission to be carried through, you need the people. It's all about the folks here. Special Feature There are four pillars in our culture at Wintrust: Take the blame Be accountable for what you are doing. Share the fame If something goes well you push accolades down as far as you can. Avoid shame Don't do anything stupid. What would your mentor think. What would the media think. What would your mother think and what would your maker think. If you can pass all four of those, you're in a good place. Don't take the shortcuts, don't try to gain on it. Do the right thing all of the time. Enjoy the game Life is too short. It's family first around here. Quality of life is everything around here. We support good balance here.

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