Jeremy Smith '97

Major   Communications
Jeremy with his wife, Patricia, whom
he met at Bryan
Favorite Course   20th Century America
Favorite Professor   Dr. Gary Phillips


For most college students there is that awkward post-college quandary of wondering what their next step is. Jeremy Smith, a 1997 communications graduate, avoided this dilemma by interviewing and landing a job before May even rolled around. He started working in Knoxville for Aerotek, a leading employment agency and recruiting firm.

Jeremy with his son who recently accompanied him on a
mission trip to San Diego

The following spring, Jeremy accepted a job as a pharmaceutical representative in Kingsport for Pfizer, the “world's largest research-based biomedical and pharmaceutical company.” He researched information on the various drug products, visited doctors and nurses, and shared with them what really makes different products better. “It was a great job,” Jeremy said. “I enjoyed pitching different ideas, and I learned a lot about medicine and doctors.”

In September 1998, Jeremy married his Bryan sweetheart, Patricia Keith, a 1998 graduate. Jeremy had first noticed her one day when they were in the computer lab and eventually got brave enough to ask her out. Together they have two children, an 8-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter.

Jeremy resigned from Pfizer in August 2004; and with the encouragement of his wife, decided to begin a finance career in Nashville. “For several years, I had been telling my personal financial advisor ‘I want to do what you do!’” Jeremy said.

In October 2004, he joined Shoemaker Financial as a financial planner and within a year he made partner. “It’s more than a 9 to 5 job,” Jeremy explained. “I work long hours and have to be available to meet at any time, especially because many of my clients are resident students which means they have busy schedules too. But it also gives me the flexibility to have lunch with my kids some days.”

Jeremy hanging out with his daughter
Although Jeremy had to go through a lot of on-the-job training to bulk up his financial expertise, he became accomplished very quickly and was made a member of the Presidents Club, MDRT, Excellence in Performance, and Foundation Club. His degree in communications proved to be incredibly helpful in relating with clients and making the financial jargon understandable.

“Without a doubt, interacting with my clients is the highlight of my job,” Jeremy said. “I love to meet people and I love to see the look on their faces when what I’m explaining to them finally clicks.” Jeremy wants his communication to be crystal clear so that each client can pass the “pillow test” and be able to fall asleep without financial stress and worry.

“I love what I do,” Jeremy said. “The firm is biblically based. I work for a phenomenal Christian man who has been with the firm for 30 years. I love making a difference in someone’s life. With today’s market climate, it is more important than ever to be working with a comprehensive advisor. I work with a lot of resident students, and it is fun to see them get excited about what we will be working on and doing together in the future.

Jeremy also works on the other extreme with clients who are preparing to retire and trying to get their estates in order. “It is fun to build an estate plan and work with a client on how they can give money to charities and places that they had not thought about,” Jeremy explained. “My only regret is that I did not do this right out of college!”

Jeremy on a recent mission trip to Africa
Despite his full schedule, Jeremy makes it a priority to go on annual mission trips. He has traveled to Africa three times, and most recently took his son with him on a trip to San Diego. He also teaches an adult Sunday school class, plays in an adult soccer league, and coaches his children’s Upward soccer teams.

“Everything I did at Bryan shaped me into the person I have become,” Jeremy said. “I’m very glad I chose the major I did because communications is the one thing you have to do no matter what career you choose.” Jeremy added that is important to not miss the education while you are at Bryan. “There are four classes I wish I could redo: Fine Arts, Worldview, Christian Theology, and 21st Century America. You don’t realize until later how important they are,” Jeremy explained.

Jeremy continues to live life to its fullest following his personal motto: “You should never have to say ‘I wish I would have.’”