Alumni Programs

Hello Evergreen, Madison Avenue Calling

Brett Redfearn ’87 Shares his Wall Street Experience with Evergreen Students

by R.J. Burt

Brett Redfearn ’87 spoke to students in Advanced Foundations of Successful and Sustainable Businesses last April courtesy of an audiovisual collaboration between Evergreen and Redfearn’s employer, J.P. Morgan Securities. Appearing on screen in a Sem II classroom, Redfearn spoke to and fielded questions from 20 business students about his journey from Evergreen to Wall Street.

Formerly the senior managing director in the global equities division at Bear Stearns Companies, Inc., Redfearn was one of the 20% of staff members retained by J.P. Morgan when that investment house bought Bear Stearns in March 2008. He is currently Global Head of Liquidity. Prior to Bear Stearns, Redfearn worked at the American Stock Exchange (now owned by the NYSE) where he was senior vice president of business strategy and equity order flow.

In making the speaking arrangements, Evergreen alumni relations staffers had some trepidation about the reception students might have for someone from Wall Street – especially in the financial climate rocking the world last spring. Redfearn asserted he was ready for whatever came his way. He did note, however, that “I work in institutional equities and have had nothing to do with mortgages, credit default swaps, CDOs, etc.”

After the class, Redfearn said “I’m not sure I wouldn’t have held myself to task if my Evergreen alter-ego of 20 years ago was sitting in the class!” He found the students “a very thoughtful group” and has volunteered to speak again if the opportunity arises.

Noting that “life is uncertain and the future is near,” Redfearn mused about plans for life after Wall Street. “I’m not sure what it will be,” he said, “but I’d like to do something in music.”

Feedback from both faculty members and students was universally positive. Zoe Van Schyndel, a veteran of State Street Global Advisors, found especially delightful the abrupt end of the video conference. Seated at a conference table, Redfearn was interrupted mid-sentence by his Blackberry. “Yes? Right now? O.K., I’ll be there in two minutes.” With a quick wrap up and apologies, he exited stage right for the next meeting. Students were left with an empty set, the address on Madison Ave., New York, NY at the bottom of the screen.

“Both Glenn (Landram) and I thought this was a great way to access the insights and perspective of an individual who we would otherwise not be able to bring into our classroom,” Van Schyndel said. “The ending of the presentation could not have been better if we had staged it. The telephone call from the boss really gave the students a message from the work place.”