Weir Asks Graduates to Choose Whom They Will Serve
North Greenville University held its spring commencement ceremony on a beautiful spring morning in Melvin and Dollie Younts Stadium on Saturday, April 28. Over 4,000 spectators watched approximately 300 undergraduates and graduates receive their diplomas. WCM Global Wealth, LLC, Principal and Managing Member Erik C. Weir was the keynote speaker.
“I’m going to tell you a few stories and things I’ve learned in my life and hopefully it will be a blessing to you,” Weir said.
Weir developed a stuttering condition after his involvement in an automobile accident at the age of five. His parents pushed him to sell lemonade in their neighborhood, which pressed him to talk to people. He worked through the adversity to become a thriving entrepreneur. At age 18, he earned his real estate license and invested his commissions in stocks. As a result, he became involved in the investment arena where he works today.
He says he was, “building a ladder on the wrong wall. My ladder was built on success, and goals, and accomplishing things, and finance; it wasn’t built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.”
Even though he was a Christian, his motivation was about business and success.
He graduated from Georgia Southern University and took a job as a stock broker with Merrill Lynch in Atlanta.
Because of his stuttering condition, it was hard to get started in business. Nonetheless, God blessed him. In a period of five years, he opened 600 relationships at Merrill Lynch. He was in the top two percent of ten thousand people for opening accounts.
He went on to San Francisco and learned investment banking, selling companies, and taking companies public.
"I didn’t know what God was doing. It became apparent later in life. He was preparing me to understand finance and preparing me [to] understand you can’t have happiness in financial success; it doesn’t bring joy,” he said.
Weir gave an analogy of greyhounds chasing a metal rabbit around a track. No matter how fast they run, they can never quite get there. When they let the dogs catch the rabbit, they would try to chew it. They found that the dogs would never run the track again, because what they were chasing didn’t taste good.
“And that’s how chasing wealth is,” he said. “When you chase success for success’ sake, wealth for wealth’s sake; everything else in your life becomes unhinged.”
He shared five things, the "Five F’s", with the graduates that can falter when achieving success.
“Your faith is the underpinning of everything in your life. It is the lens in which you see the world through. And it will be tried,” he said.
Second, family. “I chased success for a season in my life so hard, that it hurt my family. It’s not worth it. Because at the end, it’s like the metal rabbit. It has no taste.”
Third is fitness. “So many people I work with let their health go, because they were pursuing wealth.”
Finances. “When you’re getting started, don’t mortgage your future. Don’t go in vast amounts of debt. Have room to breathe. It makes it a lot easier on other areas of your life.”
Lastly, friends. “Iron sharpens iron. Who you associate with will have a significant impact in your life.”
Not one of the “Five F’s,” but a sixth point he wanted to stress to the graduates was gratitude. He asked the graduates if they are grateful.
Weir says he keeps a prayer journal with him at all times. He writes things in it that he asks God for. “And when you’re up against a wall and when things aren’t going your way, you can look back and see hundreds of prayers that God has answered. Your faith soars, your gratitude soars, and your hope soars,” he said. "Choose today whom you will serve."
Weir has more than 27 years of investment and financial services experience. He received his bachelor of arts (Finance/Real Estate) from Georgia State University in 1989 and became a licensed real estate agent at the age of 18, assembling his first shopping center site while a sophomore in college.
Prior to forming his own company, Weir was a senior vice president of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in San Francisco, CA and assistant vice president of Merrill Lynch in Atlanta, GA. In 2008, he was named one of the Top Five Hedge Fund Managers by Hedgemark Magazine and in 2002, he received the Award from Registered Rep Magazine as one of the Top Five Brokers in the United States.
In 1999, he formed Weir Capital Management, LLC, which was named one of the Top 25 fastest growing companies in South Carolina in both 2009 and 2010. Next, he formed WCM Global Wealth, LLC in 2011 as a diversified financial services firm to provide the best client financial products and services possible. He is a certified financial planner (CFP), has held various securities licenses, and is a licensed insurance professional.
Weir is also a co-manager with the WTA Group, LLC, a leader in the marketing, financing, and production of faith-based films. WTA Group, LLC, has marketed, produced, and developed films with a total of $400 million in sales over the past three years and includes well-known titles such as “Courageous,” “War Room,” “Woodlawn,” “God’s Not Dead,” and the forthcoming “Unbroken: Path to Redemption.”
In addition, he is also involved in the sourcing and development of numerous real estate properties throughout South Carolina and across the U.S., including public storage, retail, commercial, and residential properties. Most recently, WCM Global Wealth has collaborated to redevelop the Greenville News site in downtown Greenville, SC, a development that will transform the downtown landscape. This multi-million dollar re-development, titled Camperdown Square, will encompass an entire city block and will include an upscale hotel, luxury residential condominiums, 225 apartments, two office buildings, retail spaces, and a public plaza.
Helping people think through leadership and stewardship activities as they seek to invest both time and resources is his passion. He holds an earned black belt in the martial art of Tang So Do and has achieved advanced ranks in Kempo and Tae Kwon Do. Erick enjoys aviation and is a licensed private pilot with over 20 years of experience, holding multi-engine license and instrument ratings. He resides in Greenville with his wife Robin and their five sons.
At the conclusion of Weir’s address, President Fant asked the graduates to stand to receive his charge. He first asked the graduates to applaud the family and friends “who are here supporting you, today. We know many of you sitting in this arena have sacrificed and invested, and if you are like my parents, shocked that you finished. That’s alright as well,” he said.
He also asked them to applaud the faculty members for what they have done to invest in them.
Fant told the graduates that out of the seven billion people on this planet, they are now part of the one percent, globally, that have had the opportunity to complete a degree at a university.
“At North Greenville, we talk a lot about helping our students to become graduates who will be transformational leaders for church and society. I adjure each and every one of you to find a local church as you leave, that you can plug into and you can bring your talents, your gifts, and your abilities, and plug into that fellowship. Because they need you, but you need them.”
He also asked them to find a local community organization that they can plug into, as a coach, a mentor, a volunteer, a donor so that they can connect with them. They can again bring their passions, talents, abilities, and callings God has given them to bear in the community that they are going to live.
Top photo: From left: NGU board chairman Bill Tyler, Erik C. Weir, NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr.
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