February 19, 2013

Cover Story

Forty under 40

Talented, ambitious and innovative—these are just a few of the trait...Read More

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Forty under 40

By Utah Business editors | Photography by Eric Delphenich

February 19, 2013

Though she admits she’s still learning about leadership, she aspires to be a leader who brings out the best in others. “A good leader brings out the leadership and ownership in others,” says Sloan. “They first teach, then empower. My goal is to have my employees behave like owners.”

Ryan O. Smith | 35 - President & Co-Founder, Diversified Financial Planning, Inc.

Ryan Smith co-founded Diversified Financial Planning, Inc. in 2004 and has since grown into a team of 20 advisors and staff members.

“Ryan put together a methodical business plan designed to allow us to grow the company without having to take on any debt, yet be profitable quickly and efficiently,” says co-founder Daniel Luke.

Diversified Financial Planning manages more than $100 million of investment assets. Between the company’s investment and insurance divisions, it has worked with more than 5,000 individuals and families in Utah.

“I love analyzing numbers and trying to make sense of thousands of investment alternatives. I enjoy learning about new investment opportunities, and watching the vision and creativity of successful individuals unfold,” says Smith.         

He notes that in his profession, people hand over their money and their trust. “I don’t believe there are two more important responsibilities that one could give another, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

Ryan Smith | 33 - Co-founder & CEO, Qualtrics

Under Ryan Smith’s direction, Qualtrics has grown from a basement startup to one of the nation’s most promising tech ventures. The Provo-based company, which develops research and data analysis software, serves 1,300 universities worldwide and more than 5,000 enterprises.

Success hasn’t come without its share of challenges. But Smith says making mistakes is vital to the growth process. “We’re open to making mistakes. If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not running fast enough. Companies need to embrace mistakes. That doesn’t mean we need to make them over and over again, but we need to make them and learn from them.”

Smith believes leadership is a trait that all should exemplify. “We have something in our company that’s called player-coach—everyone has to be a player-coach. It’s one of the strongest attributes to the success we’ve had. Whether you’re a programmer or whatever, you jump in and coach.”

To the budding entrepreneur, Smith says, “If you think your idea is so great, then prove it. Ideas are fragile—you don’t know where they’re going to end up. If you have an idea, just get started and innovate.”

James C. Waddoups | 38 - Shareholder & Board Director, Fabian, Attorneys at Law

As lead counsel in mergers and acquisitions, entity formations, complex entity structures and other commercial transactions, James C. Waddoups enjoys the challenge of learning every aspect of a client’s business and their problems, and then working together to find a win-win solution.

Waddoups’ standing business philosophy is to be a business partner for clients, not just their attorney. “As a business partner, you must work to understand every aspect of a client’s business, their business objectives and vision, including who their competitors are and what they are up to so you can anticipate the client’s needs and help them achieve goals and build their business. You want to be proactive and not reactive. You work hard to meet client expectations—their problems are your problems.”

According to Waddoups, the business world is exciting and continually changing, and he likes to be one step ahead. “I like to anticipate what might come up next for my clients and develop creative and new solutions to problems.”

Jason F. Watson | 36 - Director of Business Development, Wells Fargo

Jason Watson says key to being successful in any role is surrounding yourself with great people. Building meaningful, long-term relationships is what keeps Watson motivated day after day.

“I love meeting new people and learning about their companies, passions and goals in business and then helping them succeed,” Watson says. “Anytime you are trying to meet someone new with the intent of earning their respect or business is a challenge. The reward comes when the deal is finally sealed and relationships are forged.”

Watson’s career in the banking industry extends nearly 15 years; he has spent the past eight years at Wells Fargo. He also serves as the current chairman of MountainWest Capital Network, and has previously worked with both business and nonprofit organizations such as the Utah Manufacturer’s Association, The Road Home and Volunteers of America.

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