When a job opportunity in Lincoln, Nebraska, presented David Lockwood ’02 the chance to come back to his home state, the Kimball native jumped at the chance. Now the chief investment officer at Assurity Life Insurance Company, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration graduate embraces the challenges and connections that come with a successful career.
“I’ve always tried to work hard and add value to the organization, even if it meant speaking up for an unpopular thought. I think if you try to do the right thing all the time, good opportunities happen, especially if you’re open to them,” said Lockwood, who earned his bachelor’s degree in finance at UNL. “A large percentage of your overall work happiness is who you’re working with. Therefore, when I’ve had an opportunity to pick a team or manager, I always pick the people I can learn from and enjoy working with the most.”
Learning is key to Lockwood, who earned his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation after college to gain further credibility and additional quantitative learning post bachelor’s degree. He took on challenging courses during his education at CBA, which provided a strong springboard for his career and earning his CFA.
“Since the CFA designation is global, it provides a good yardstick for future colleagues and employers. As a hiring manager, it’s hard to compare programs from various universities, but a CFA charterholder has a certain knowledge set that is understood whether the person is in Nebraska, New York or Dubai,” he explained.
The connections Lockwood made throughout his career have played a role in every job he has held since attending UNL.
For instance, he made the first step towards his professional career while working as a skybox suite host as an undergraduatestudent, where he met a board member of Commercial Federal Bank. The introduction led to an interview that secured his first job at the bank in Omaha. After holding many different roles, a former co-worker asked him to interview for a position at the Federal Home Loan Bank in Indianapolis.
“I’ve never been a real intentional networker. What I have intentionally done is to try to stay in touch with people I respect because I’m always open to good advice. I’ve also tried to strategically put myself in situations where there is a high probability of working with someone who will help further my knowledge,” Lockwood said.
He learned about the opportunity at Assurity Life through Dr. Kathy Farrell, State Farm Professor of Finance, chair of the Department of Finance and Assurity Life board member. After their conversation, she suggested the president of the companyspeak to Lockwood about their chief investment officer position.
“Always be willing to ask for advice. It’s unlikely you’re the first person to come across a certain problem. Along the same vein, even if there appears to be no problem, ask yourself ‘is there a better way?’ Nothing impresses bosses more than solutions to problems they didn’t know they had,” Lockwood said. “Surround yourself with the smartest people you know, no matter their major. They will be your future coworkers, bosses, new business partners, doctors, lawyers and senators and their thoughts, opinions and advice will push you to achieve more than you thought possible.”