Alumni Profile: Seminole State a turning point for entrepreneurial alumnus
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Written by: Laura D. Schumacher
Photo: Sara Beth Turner Photography
Seminole State alumnus Brian Gonzales remembers his time at Seminole State College as a big turning point in his development as a student and as a person.
Gonzales is the co-founder of WealthQuotient, a company that helps organizations more effectively engage the ultra-affluent through training and consulting services. The company works with the sales or fundraising teams in a variety of industries including financial service firms, luxury, education, and non-profits to help them efficiently engage with ultra-high net worth prospects, those individuals with a net worth of over $30 million.
Now known as a leading expert in the field of connecting with the ultra-affluent, Gonzales didn’t always have a clear idea of what he wanted to do. After graduating from Lake Brantley High School, he attended Carson-Newman College in Tennessee and played running back for the football team. But after receiving poor grades his first semester, he made the decision that it was not the right path for him.
He transferred to the University of Central Florida (UCF) with the intent of playing football there but during that semester he had a once in a lifetime opportunity to go to Europe. While in Romania, he volunteered with an orphanage working with children. Gonzales says it changed his life and he experienced “a spiritual revolution”.
When he returned to Orlando, ready to start his educational journey, he considered returning to UCF. Instead, he knew in his heart that he would get more out of a small institution that could provide the individualized attention that would help him succeed. He enrolled at Seminole State and says his time at the College is what taught him how to be a good student.
After some research, he found Wheaton College in Illinois and connected with the football coach there. The coach advised him that he would have to get a 4.0 at Seminole State to bring up his 1.9 GPA. Gonzales says Seminole State was his academic turning point and credits two of his classes to helping him turn around as a student.
The first was his Introduction to Oral Communication also known as Speech class. Gonzales said it was this class that helped him gain the confidence that he now has. Public speaking is a big part of his day to day and he mentioned that he still remembers the lessons in that class when he presents to companies around the world. But it was Ann Laskowski, his English Literature Professor, who he says really made a lasting impact.
“There was one time when she wasn’t happy with the classes effort when passing back grades for an assignment,” said Gonzales. “I remember her telling the class, 'This effort is why you’re here and not at a bigger university' Later, when I was at Wheaten, my professor was passing out grades from an assignment and happily said, 'This is why you’re here. You’re the best and brightest’ I thought about the other end of the spectrum, but if it wasn’t for Seminole State, I wouldn’t be here at Wheaton.”
He appreciated that Laskowski never held back, was always encouraging, and truly taught him that he could be a good student. It wasn’t until after he spent a year at Seminole State that he was able to move forward and succeed in the university setting.
Through determination and the lessons learned, he was able to maintain a 4.0 and went on to play football and graduate from Wheaton College.
He started his career in the non-profit industry, counseling and mentoring inner city kids in New York City. After that, he moved to Atlanta and did consulting globally, traveling out of the country 60 percent of the time. He then opened a wealth management firm called Endurance Advisory Group and joked that it seemed like the most logical next step.
During his time at Endurance his clients included wealthy individuals as well as professional athletes and it was during this time he met David Friedman, who owned an intelligence firm called Wealth-X. In 2016 they founded WeathQuotient together and now work with some of the most iconic global brands in luxury, financial services nonprofits and academia helping them engage the ultra-wealthy more efficiently.
Gonzales splits his time between New York City and Florida but always has a home here at Seminole State.
Seminole State College Alumni Association: The Seminole State College Alumni Association provides benefits and services for alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida, providing opportunities for them to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College. To learn more, visit the Alumni Association website.