For over a decade, Isaiah Edison (’09) has been living out his calling.
“When I was 16 years old, I decided I wanted to help people make good decisions with their money.”
For more than a decade, Edison has been doing just that, first at New York Life and now at his own company, Edison Wealth Strategies. Earlier this year, Edison was named the Top Financial Security Professional in Oklahoma by Forbes, an honor that goes beyond just dollars and cents.
Forbes, partnered with SHOOK Research, releases these rankings yearly, basing their scores on one notion – “Would we recommend these professionals to a family member or friend?”
By that metric, Edison was named the best in the state of Oklahoma – a confirmation of a calling that goes back to his teenage years.
Leap of Faith
That calling led him to Oklahoma Wesleyan University, where he was planning to pursue a finance degree. There was only one problem.
“Before I went to OKWU, they didn’t have a finance degree,” Edison said. “I talked to Dr. Andrews, and he said ‘I promise you we’ll get one.’”
Edison enrolled in OKWU’s management program, noting it was a leap of faith in Dr. Andrews and others. But, true to their word, the next year, Edison was able to change his major to financial economics. After taking a couple of accounting courses over the summer, Edison was on track to graduate on time with the degree he wanted.
There is a certain irony in the fact that Edison received a degree in financial economics. In high school, he took some AP economics courses because of his interest in that field.
“I hated it,” he said flatly. It wasn’t until he was at OKWU, in class with Dr. Brian Jackson, that he began to appreciate and even love the study of economics. When Edison graduated, he was a straight-A student.
“I think having a good professor makes a big difference.”
Another professor who poured into his life was Dr. Brett Andrews, who was the Dean of Business while Edison was a student. He took an early interest in Edison and hired him as a work-study for the department.
“I wanted a job where I could do my homework, so I was a computer lab monitor.” Edison recalls. “But one day the secretary of the department comes in and tells me that Dr. Andrews wants to talk to me.”
Andrews hired him to work for the department. That position bore fruit down the line, when Edison received two internships through connections with the School of Business. He interned at Walmart and at Arvest Bank during his college years.
Time to Grow
Relationships are a key theme when Edison thinks about his OKWU experience. He says with a laugh that he spent his time hanging out with the nerds on campus, making friendships that have lasted to this day. Several of them – Brett Peterson, Kirk Israel, Steven Wears, Kirk Taylor, and Jared Mackey – lived in a house together, where they proudly had a designated study room. They remain friends today, and each of them has gone on to success in their chosen fields.
After college, Edison continued his education, earning his CFP, ChFC, and CLU designations from The American College of Financial Services, which took over three years. These designations give Edison more tools with which to help his clients achieve their financial goals.
Edison founded Edison Wealth Strategies in 2020, a tricky time for so many industries, but he says it was the best year of his career. After more than a decade of being in the industry, he realized it was time to start his own practice – he opened an office in South Tulsa, his hometown, and brought many of his clients over with him. That decision has been rewarding, personally and professionally, and has earned him some impressive accolades.
All of it comes back to the calling he felt when he was a teenager – a calling to help others make sound financial decisions. It’s a perfect example of what OKWU is all about: sending students out into the world with a love for people at the core of what they choose to do.
For more information on the Forbes’ methodology, click here.