Lady Guinevere

October 3, 2008

The ability to find new wealthy clients and then ensure their happiness and loyalty is an essential component of a successful wealth management practice. Guinevere-one of the most impressive and unique wealth management professionals I've encountered in my career-is not an authority in any financial or legal discipline, but has extraordinary relationship development skills that she uses to source new business and work more expansively with her current clients. The result of her efforts is a track record of profitability and productivity that is possibly unmatched within the industry.

Central to Guinevere's approach is a once-debilitating condition that she has learned to manage and then to use to great effect in a professional capacity. She suffers from synesthesia, a neurological disorder in which senses are joined against the sufferer's will. A synesthete, for instance, might taste chocolate when they see the Sydney skyline or think of the aria "Nessun dorma" as pale pink. Any combination of senses is possible, and a synesthete's perceptions are individual to him or her. Women are three times more likely than men to be synesthetes, and in Guinevere's homeland of the United Kingdom, women are eight times more likely to have the condition.

A synesthete's perceptions are not a substitute for normal sensory experiences, but are additive. Guinevere has learned to use her heightened level of awareness to read people, emotions and situations with great precision. She sees unvarnished truth as celadon, while deception is always a shade of red ranging from puce to burgundy. This ability allows her to be amazingly empathetic with clients, and many of them respond by sharing their deep-seated fears and desires or personal anecdotes. Guinevere has found that such insights help her spot new business opportunities and can propel her relationships to a higher level of intimacy and familiarity. Her clients find her "understanding" and "attentive" and almost always follow her recommendations for new and different products or services, trusting her to coordinate the efforts and experts on their behalf.

Guinevere has clearly determined how to benefit professionally from her synesthesia, and recently revealed to me that she uses it to enhance her personal life as well. She perceives sexual arousal in shades of blue-men are cerulean, women are indigo and her partner nearing sexual satisfaction is ultramarine. By treating her innate tendencies as a talent rather than a limitation, Guinevere has won the near obsessive allegiance of her clients, colleagues and lovers.