This month the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce is shining the Member Spotlight on Bob Podraza AAMS® Financial Advisor with Edward Jones. Bob Podraza is a good listener.
Podraza, 53, an Edward Jones investment financial advisor based in the Quakertown Borough, has had a lot of practice. Working well with clients means listening to their goals, aspirations, challenges and dreams, as well as helping them direct a plan for business success. It also means recognizing business success is a “fluid, evolving process. I think you have to be there a while to reap the benefits,” Podraza says of chamber membership.
And listening is at least half the equation for successful business relationships, regardless of the type of industry. Before he got settled into the Edward Jones office based in Quakertown four years ago, Podraza was a major account executive for Verizon Communications for 20 years. “At Verizon I learned how to deal with a lot of different people,” Podraza explained. Learning how to best deal with people face-to-face, means taking the time to make connections, and listen to them. “At Edward Jones, we believe you need to make those face-to-face connections,” Podraza emphasized.
“From Main Street blue collar workers who make a living using their hands to white collar professionals such as doctors and lawyers, everybody’s style is different. One size does not fit all,” Podraza said. Whether during his Verizon days advising a plumber/business owner with a fleet of trucks and a staff of 50; or a Center City Philadelphia lawyer or physician in a high-rise downtown office suite, the bottom line remains the same: Listen first. Creating rapport with business associates is always about face time. “At Edward Jones we do business on the phone or in the office, face-to-face,” Podraza said. Podraza makes it a point to meet and work with clients across the table, and connect with colleagues and chamber members throughout the community the same way, face-to-face. “When you call our office you never get a voice tree or music, you always either get my executive assistant, Sarah Koffley, or you get me,” Podraza said of his communication philosophy.
A chamber member since 2012, Podraza is the chairman of the new membership committee, and serves as a regional SCORE mentor to help small businesses build and shape success. “SCORE has been a great experience. I can participate in SCORE to help other business owners, and it’s a very low impact commitment,” Podraza said of his involvement with the national organization. According to their website, SCORE is a non-profit organization made up of business professionals, who donate their time to provide free advice, support, mentoring and encouragement to help small business owners meet challenges, and achieve their goals. SCORE is sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Deluxe Corp. Foundation.
According to Podraza, those who take advantage of chamber services, mixers, workshops and opportunities to network with other members, ultimately get the most out of membership. “Get involved,” Podraza said. “I call it ‘playing in traffic.’ Sometimes you get run over, but you still need to get out there,” Podraza said.
Podraza, a Bedminster Township resident, is married to wife Laurel for 19 years. Their two children, Claire, 15, and Alexander, 12, attend school at the Pennridge School District. Podraza’s eldest daughter, Morgan, 23, is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at the University of Chicago. “I am very proud of my children,” Podraza said.
Who: Bob Podraza, AAMS® finanicial advisor with Edward Jones
Chamber member: Since 2012
What he does: Financial advising services to Sellersville, Perkasie and Quakertown area
Where he’s located: 520 West Broad Street, Quakertown, PA 18951