Scott V. Fainor ’94 is the Inaugural Executive at the Fainor Center for Financial Services Executive Forum
Move in the direction your heart takes you.
That was the advice that Scott V. Fainor ’94, founder of Fainor Holdings, gave to a student-filled audience of about 150 in the Gambet Center on October 19, at the Inaugural Fainor Center for Financial Services Executive Forum.
The advice came in response to a question from a student who asked the former banker if he would have done anything differently in his career. Fainor replied, other than starting his college career earlier, he would not change his career path, in which he did follow his heart.
When Fainor did start college in the late 1980s, it was the late Fr. Daniel Gambet, OSFS, president emeritus, who convinced him that DeSales was the place for him. While he was excited about the business and finance courses he was going to take, Fainor initially resisted the required theology classes. But he immediately changed his mind.
“The theology classes taught me values and principles, which became my business ethics. I became grounded in those principles.”
Father James Greenfield, OSFS ’84, president of DeSales, served as moderator of the Executive Forum and posed questions to Fainor, including what are the top three character traits that an executive must have to be successful.
Fainor replied that true leaders need transparency in their activities to build trust, the ability to confront conflict quickly using good communication skills, and the desire to engage “the front line” or meet with workers at all levels, including, in his case, workers at the branches of the banks he led.
Fr. Greenfield then discussed strategic planning, remarking that DeSales was beginning the process of a new strategic plan and how important it is. Fainor began by emphasizing a personal strategic plan, including his own.
“You need to do your own personal SWOT analysis by evaluating your own strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “And then your strategic plan should adjust as your career progresses.”
For company strategic plans, Fainor again emphasized transparency. “You need to share your strategic planning document with every single employee, so everyone works together for the same goals.”
The Fainor Center for Financial Services Executive Forum was the close of Fainor’s daylong visit to the business division of DeSales. He served as a guest lecturer in a finance class taught by Tahereh Alavi Hojjat, Ph.D., professor and chair of the economics major, who Fainor cited as a faculty mentor when he was a student.
Other activities that day included a lunch and learn with business faculty and students, as well as one-on-one meetings with individual students.
Chris Cocozza, J.D., professor of business and head of the business division, introduced Fainor at the Executive Forum commenting on how valuable Fainor’s expertise and experience would be to all of our students.