Indiana State University Newsroom

Prominent financial advisor: Hard work, consistency will yield success

April 17, 2013

Like clockwork, Indiana State University graduate Joe Evelo regularly provides monthly updates to the first client he signed up when he embarked on his financial investment career more than 35 years ago.

These updates reflect the consistency that led Evelo through economic booms and busts and billions of dollars in financial transactions to become one of the top financial advisors in the nation.

Evelo returned to his alma mater to speak at the eighth annual Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility Conference. During his presentation, the Terre Haute native tapped into his experiences and insights to provide lessons to Indiana State students and community business leaders on what it takes to be successful in the financial services industry and life in general.

Evelo, the founder and senior investment strategist for the Cincinnati-based Evelo/Singer Group, told audience members that most people they will encounter will fit into one of three categories: those who are smart but do not work hard; those who are smart but inconsistent; and people who consistently work hard and maintain a positive attitude.

"If you are just average, in this above average group [college graduates], and you work hard, and you have integrity and a good attitude, you will do better in your career than five-sixths of all the other people," said Evelo, who earlier this year was named by Barron's magazine as the top financial advisor in Ohio. "You will be in the top quartile of (your field), but that's what it takes."

Evelo cited various examples from his career to illustrate his points, including the lessons of "not selling what's easy, but doing what's right."

"It's easy to be ethical and honest if you tell the truth," Evelo told the audience. "It's easy to use ethics if you simply tell the truth to people and you don't change for the moment or the time."

Evelo, who is considered by Barron's magazine to be in the top 1,000 of the 700,000 financial analysts in the industry, "is always client-focused" and "always does the right thing," said Gregory Achten, managing director of the Indiana complex for Merrill Lynch. Achten introduced Evelo during his presentation.

Ethics are vital in the business world, particularly given how media reports have shown people "getting tripped up ... over things that you can't imagine you would do if you were in that situation," Achten said.

"Ethics, as simple as it seems on paper and as simple as it seems in the classroom, is quite a challenge for some people," Achten added, "especially when performance is at such a premium in this day in age of international competition."

Evelo's presentation was part of an expanding series of programs for Ethics Week at Indiana State, which is organized by students in the Networks Professional Development Program. Holocaust survivor Eva Kor, who founded the CANDLES Holocaust museum in Terre Haute, discussed the ethics of human experimentation during a separate event earlier in the week.

The conference also featured presentations from Paul Fiorelli, co-director of the Cintas Institute for Business Ethics at Xavier University; and Tom Roberts, director of enterprise management systems for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. The conference included breakout session presentations covering a variety of topics, from ethics in the music and entertainment industry to a religious interpretation of economic fairness in the 21st century.

Indiana State senior Latoya Gregory attended one session for class, but decided to attend several more presentations. She has attended the ethics conference each year she's been at Indiana State.

"No matter what major you are, no matter what year you are, everyone needs to go," Gregory said. "Everyone will learn information that they will take with them."

Gregory and fellow Indiana State student Biaunka McGee were among those attending Evelo's speech. They enjoyed his presentation, including how he mentioned his experiences graduating from Indiana State, and how as an average student, he went on to have a very successful career in the financial services industry.

"I love to hear stories like that," said McGee, a senior business administration major from Marion, Ind. "It just gives you so much hope."

Photo: (Submitted photo)Joe Evelo

Photo: Paul Fiorelli, one of the speakers at the eighth annual Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility Conference.

Photo: Indiana State University students work the check-in table during the eighth annual eighth annual Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility Conference. Business students in the Networks Professional Development Program organize and host the programming that's part of Ethics Week at Indiana State. This year, programs included a presentation by Holocaust survivor Eva Kor, who discussed the ethics of human experimentation.

Media contact and writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or