Leslie Dixon Featured in Milwaukee Business Journal for Lifetime Achievement HR Award

Leslie Dixon

As Dixon prepares to retire as Baird’s Chief Human Resources Officer at the end of 2021, she ranks as one of the top officers in a financial services company that’s grown to about 4,500 employees with 230 locations worldwide. Dixon is credited with helping develop a corporate culture that led Baird to 18 consecutive years as one of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For.

“People say, ‘why did you stay so long?’” Dixon said of her 34 years at Baird. “It’s really been so much fun, frankly, and there are so many good people at Baird and the leadership at Baird has kept me there. They’re amazing. It’s gone really fast.”

To read more about Dixon’s journey, check out her feature in the Milwaukee Business Journal.

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Image: Kenny Yoo

 

 

“I’ve found that the more authentic I’ve been, the more success I’ve had.”

Rodney Jones-Tyson
Chief Human Resources Officer

A team member for more than 22 years, Rodney Jones-Tyson is the first gay person as well as the first African American to serve on Baird’s executive committee. He has played an integral role in our inclusion and diversity initiatives since 2005. Rodney acknowledges that while inclusion and diversity are prominently supported at Baird, last summer’s murder of George Floyd and the ensuing demonstrations have introduced a whole new world and fostered a significant change in our dialogue.

“We are having more intentional conversations at the executive level about what it means to be a Black American, what it means to be privileged, what a commitment to increase the recruitment and retention of minorities to our firm requires, what support we want to provide to communities of color in our key markets, and, maybe most important, what it takes to really have an inclusive environment for all.”

At the helm of the firm’s COVID-19 response, Rodney led the team that orchestrated a four-day worldwide transition of 4,400 employees from the firm’s more than 200 offices to their homes.

“Leaders must know how to coach, mentor, and develop their team, remotely and in person.”

A proud and distinguished graduate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Rodney was recently featured in its alumni publication, Chicago Booth Magazine. Read “A Year Like No Other,” in which he shares his perspectives on innovation, career growth and giving back.

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Client Specialist Testimonial

“I chose financial services because I wanted to make a connection with people. After I graduated college, I defined success for myself. And success was bringing value to other people’s lives. And I felt financial services best fit that need. I get to connect with a big, vast group of different people and it brings joy to my day to day life.

As I work with a number of associates who have been in the industry some time, I bring fresh concepts to the table. And I’m able to relate to a lot of our next generation clients, in a way that our financial advisors aren’t able to. My opinion matters. No thoughts, no idea is below anyone. Everyone at the company from the CEO to my direct associates is willing to hear what I have to say.”

Michael,
Client Specialist

Baird at 100: Celebrating Our First Century of Success

As Baird celebrates a century of successful financial partnerships, we know it’s not the number of years that matters. It’s the tradition of excellence that started in 1919 with Robert W. Baird and his guiding principle: Clients come first. It’s the understanding that everything we’ve accomplished since then has been because of those clients. It’s the belief that the best is yet to come, and it’s the certainty that the value of our experiences and achievements will always be measured in terms of what we do for our clients.

Learn more in the Storied History section of our 100th anniversary website here.

Baird marked its first 100 years in style, with a three-day gathering that drew more than 7,000 associates, retirees and guests from locations throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia to our Milwaukee headquarters from June 12-14. They were first treated to our 100th Anniversary Welcome Celebration, which showcased the firm’s history with interactive stations, entertainment and a volunteer activity benefitting the United Way. In addition to informative sessions and symposiums, the festivities featured the Baird Annual Meeting for associates and their guests and the 100th Anniversary Finale Fest at the Henry Maier Festival Park, including multiple private concerts with nationally known music artists. President and CEO, Steve Booth, closed the Annual Meeting with a toast to the future of the firm and message to associates: “Thank you for everything you do and will continue to do as we embark on the second hundred years of our firm’s remarkable journey.”

We all look forward to what’s to come. We invite you to consider starting your journey at Baird.

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We have a unique rule that some wouldn’t expect

Great work environments require great people

As the Baird culture statements detail, we seek individuals who value honesty, teamwork, quality work and integrity. This strategy is often referenced by Paul Purcell, our late Baird Chairman, when he met with job applicants. Paul used a very down-to-earth way of making his point when he said: “We have a ‘no asshole rule’ here.” It clearly makes an impression and leaves no doubt that everyone is expected to respect others. New associates often comment on “the rule” and the fact that it’s fully supported by the way they are treated long after the interview process.

Baird’s “no asshole rule” is something Paul and Steve Booth, our President & CEO, are very passionate about because it is so important to ensuring we hire the right people and is a crucial part of creating a great work environment. Paul has also been quoted in national and regional publications about the rule. Paul and Leslie Dixon, Chief Human Resources Officer, were featured in a WorksSpan magazine article titled: “No Assholes Allowed.” Paul shared why the rule is important at Baird.

“When you’re happy, you’re more productive,” Purcell said. “When you don’t feel good, you don’t get as much done. It all goes to human psyche to being respected, trusted and valued.”

Paul and Leslie were also quoted about the importance of the rule in the hiring process.

“When we interview, we really put people through the wringer,” Purcell said. “And the more senior the position, the deeper the checking. We have people who ask us, ‘how do I get through all of this?’ But they do. Do we make mistakes? Of course. But when we make them, we fix them.”

Dixon added that “if you’re interviewing someone and they’re using language like ‘I this’ and ‘I that’ instead of ‘we,’ that’s a sign of a difference in values. You can get signs of where there might be an issue. And we really do have a lot of our interview questions and performance competencies around our values.”

Associates have occasionally questioned Paul’s use of the term “asshole,” and Paul has apologized if the language itself has offended anyone. He emphasizes, however, that the rule very clearly shows how important respectful behavior is at Baird. As he told one associate: “The No. 1 reason people join us is culture, and the ‘no asshole rule’ is part of it and highly differentiable.”

Following are a few comments from associates about the “no asshole rule” from the open-ended question from Baird’s Great Place to Work® Trust Index© survey:

“A distinguishing characteristic about Baird is its emphasis/insistence on teamwork. The‘no assholes rule’ is a clear warning to all associates not to engage in selfish, self-centered conduct. The civility among colleagues stands out versus other financial services/investment banking firms.”

“Our ‘no asshole rule!’ It is the truth. Kindness and respect will get you much further at Baird than anything else. Jerks do not last long around here.”

“Baird has a very unique and strong culture, which embraces their employees and clients. Their ‘no-a…-hole rule’ on hiring is a serious commitment to keep the culture of good people working together as a team.”

“I really like Baird’s ‘no asshole rule.’ It helps to develop a culture of kindness and respect in the workplace. We feel that we were each carefully chosen, not only based on our education and occupational skills, but also on our personalities and how we get along with one another.”

Our Formal Inclusion & Diversity Statement

Baird is committed to diversity for our clients, for Baird associates and for the communities in which we live and work. This commitment is in keeping with our culture of integrity, our genuine concern for clients and fellow associates and our respect for the individual.

Our commitment to diversity includes providing opportunities for every individual to advance professionally and personally regardless of gender, race, color, age, religious affiliation, nationality, sexual orientation, physical ability or gender identity, which are just some of the differences that make each of us unique.

Responsibility for creating a diverse organization begins with our executive management team and continues throughout our entire organization. Baird recognizes that a diverse team allows us to better understand our clients’ and associates’ needs and enhances our ability to develop creative solutions for how those needs can best be met. We have created an environment where differences are understood, respected and valued and where diversity unites, rather than divides, us.

Baird has long been active in helping individuals of all backgrounds achieve their personal best. For our associates, this includes initiatives in work/life balance, leadership training, recruitment, scholarships, internships, mentoring and networking. Baird and our associates also support a wide variety of community initiatives aimed at promoting diversity. Our community involvement allows us to play an active role in shaping the communities in which we live and work today and want to serve in the future.

Baird’s culture, our ability to attract, retain and develop the best talent, and our passion for achieving superior results for our clients and associates are all crucial to our success. These are among the many reasons why we are committed to the continued pursuit of a culture of diversity that focuses on our clients, our associates and the communities we serve.

What’s the best thing about your job here at Baird?

“I think it’s the challenge. I do research on a number of different companies and sectors. And every day, you’re learning something. I’m so blessed to work amongst a group of individuals where you’re challenged every day to ask more questions, to think deeper and to dig deeper. And it’s the Baird family. You also come to work because you enjoy who you work with—people that are kind and generous, who want to see you grow because when you grow, you’re better. And when you’re better, the whole team is better. So it’s really this cohesive, collaborative environment in which your growth stirs the growth of the whole team.”

Jaclyn
Baird Advisors Analyst

IT Intern Stories

“You aren’t treated like an intern as much as another valuable team member with something important to contribute.”
Brian, Software Developer Intern

“The projects I’ve been able to work on gave me the opportunity to learn about leadership and the importance of attitude.”
Amanda, Business Analyst Intern

“Interns get to solve real problems alongside full-time employees with years of experience in the industry.”
Hunter, IT Operations Intern

“They continuously provide videos, books, live presentations and countless other resources to educate me. My career is being rocketed forward with the help of Baird.”
Miguel, Software Developer Intern