Roman Sledziejowski – Vice Chairman of Savant Strategies on Entrepreneurship
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Roman Sledziejowski is currently the Vice Chairman of Savant Strategies, an international management consulting firm.
Roman Sledziejowski, a Polish-born American businessman, began his professional career in New York City at Salomon Smith Barney, Member of Travelers Group at the age of 17 where he worked for the investment bank part-time throughout his final year of high school.
At the age of 18, he became the youngest National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) licensed stockbroker in the United States and began working full time as an Investment Associate at Smith Barney, a Member of Citigroup.
In 2002, Roman Sledziejowski became the Vice President of Investments at Prudential Securities in New York City. Then in 2004, he was promoted to the position of First Vice President of Investments.
At the age of 25, Roman Sledziejowski became the Senior Vice President and Investment Officer of Wachovia Securities. At the time it was the 3rd largest investment firm in the United States with over 10,000 brokers working in 700 office locations and $680 billion in assets under management.
While at Wachovia Securities, Roman Sledziejowski began to make personal investments in multi-family rental properties in New York, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Through various partnerships, Roman Sledziejowski purchased and re-developed nearly 400 residential units between 2004 and 2009.
In 2006, Roman Sledziejowski founded Innovest Holdings, a New York City-based financial holding company. Innovest Holdings operated through four main subsidiaries: TWS Financial, LLC: a full-service broker-dealer based in Washington, DC with over $500 million in annual market transactions, servicing primarily foreign high net worth individual clients and international financial institutions. TradeWallStreet.com: one of the leading online Broker/Dealer platforms at the time, catering to individual investors. TWS Investment Partners, LLC: a real estate investment and finance company with over $100 million in real estate projects, and TWS Capital Partners, LLC: an offshore investment advisor with client assets exceeding $1 billion.
In 2007, Roman Sledziejowski co-founded MyPlace Development, Sp. Z o.o., a Poznan, a Poland-based real estate development company. His co-founder, Sebastian Kulczyk, served as the company’s CEO. Roman Sledziejowski served as the Company’s Chairman of the Board, until early 2010.
In December of 2009, RJS finalized the sale of his interest in MyPlace Development for $7.3 million in cash to Kulczyk Real Estate Holding SARL in Luxembourg.
In 2013, Roman Sledziejowski co-founded Savant Strategies, an international management consulting firm that provides management consulting services to middle-market companies primarily in Latin America, Europe, and South Africa. Then in 2021, Roman Sledziejowski took on the role of Vice Chairman at Savant Strategies.
We sat down with Roman Sledziejowski to discuss his experiences as an entrepreneur and how he cultivates a positive company culture.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have experienced many failures in my life as an entrepreneur. While in retrospect it was not even close to my greatest failure in business, I will always remember my first failed business venture. In 1998, I co-founded a startup dot-com company with my mathematics professor and personal mentor. We spent two years investing our time, energy, and money into the venture.
When we were finally ready to take the business to the next level in early 2000, the stock market collapsed. As a result, our venture capital partner withdrew from their funding commitment and we were forced to shut the company down. I’ll never forget how disappointed and angry I felt at the time.
As time went on and I was able to look at the experience from a distance, I began to appreciate everything that I had learned while working on that project. While it did not work out, I realized that it was not the end of the world and it was important to keep my chin up, move forward, and positively redirect my energy into a new challenge.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact your business and what steps did you take in response?
The pandemic has had a serious impact on virtually every business sector, including management consulting. In our case, we have seen an increased demand for our services as clients had the need to make a series of unplanned adjustments to their business models and required actionable advice on how to get it done ASAP.
How do you see the future of remote working and remote learning affecting your business?
The very nature of our industry always lent itself to remote working, with projects requiring frequent travel and working in the field. Therefore, remote working is nothing new to us.
However, it is very new to many of our clients who had to adapt their business models, procedures, and processes to accommodate remote working.
How has the recent movement toward greater diversity and inclusion for minorities affected your business planning?
This is a very exciting movement and we are very happy to see it gaining traction on a wider scale than before. Our organizational core values and practices were always aligned to encourage diversity, so there is not much change to our business planning.
We are happy to see that more and more of our clients are beginning to seriously acknowledge this movement and incorporate it into their strategic planning decisions.
What qualities and skills do you look for when hiring new talent?
An ability to think independently and take initiative is the utmost quality that we look for when hiring new talent.
What questions do you ask during an interview?
I am a big fan of scenario-based interview questions since they allow the interviewer to observe and evaluate multiple strengths and weaknesses of a candidate all at once.
How do you motivate your team for outstanding results?
I always made sure that my team feels that they are a true part of the company’s success and are rewarded proportionally to the financial success of the company.
It is key to establish and implement adequate incentive programs so everyone knows that their everyday actions contribute not only to the overall success of the organization but also to their success through a very clearly defined schematic.
How do you help create and sustain the culture of your company?
I’m a big believer in leading by example; actions speak much louder than words.
Many thanks to Roman Sledziejowski for sharing his experience and insights with our readers.