Next Generation leadership winner

Eric Robbins, a financial adviser with Edward Jones, is the August winner in a new leadership program sponsored by the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and the Columbus Young Professionals group. One young professional from the Columbus community is chosen each month of 2016 in the areas of life, community and work as someone who exemplifies leadership skills. Robbins was nominated in the “community” category. The Republic is introducing the winners each month through this column.

Name: Eric Robbins

Age: 28

City of residence: Columbus

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Family: Parents, Mike and Diane Robbins; siblings, Drew Robbins and Laura Robbins.

Education: Columbus North 2006; Indiana University, Bloomington, Kelley School of Business: Finance degree in 2010; Certified Financial Planner

Describe your job.

I am a financial adviser with Edward Jones. I learn about your retirement dreams and put an investment plan in place to make them a reality.

How many years have you lived in Columbus?

23 years

What are your activities and interests in Columbus?

I enjoy golfing at Otter Creek and Harrison Lake, boating with friends and family, playing many different sports and going downtown with friends.

The Columbus Young Professionals say you were nominated in the community category. Give us some examples of ways you lead in the Columbus community through your work and activities.

At Edward Jones, I serve as a regional mentor to new advisers getting started in our business. When I first began, I greatly appreciated the knowledge shared with me by veterans in our field and I enjoy the opportunity to give the same assistance to others. My parents instilled in me at a young age that it is important to take an active role in the community you call home whether it be through hours spent volunteering or providing financial support to community organizations. I hope by getting involved at my age, I can be an example to others to do the same. There are many ways to give and every one of them makes our community stronger.

One of the reasons you were nominated is making a positive impact across many organizations in Columbus, from United Way to kidscommons. Why is that role important to you?

Volunteering and giving back to our community makes Columbus a better place. This city has given so much to me and I am proud to call Columbus home. One of my biggest fears is that my generation of Columbus residents will not live up to the philanthropy and foresight of the generations before us. I volunteer and try to make an impact because I want Columbus to continue to be a place that people take pride in residing in. I want to help grow Columbus in a way that makes all of our unique art, free community programs/concerts and architecture a sustainable part of our future.

What types of volunteer activities are you involved in? Why were you attracted to those volunteer opportunities?

I am currently serving on the Community Impact Review Team at United Way; as a board member of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic; and on the First Tee of Columbus board. I am also a member of the noon Rotary club; a volunteer at kidscommons; a member of the Centra Foundation Development Committee; and a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Design Committee. I also serve as President of the Coles Cove Association in Tipton Lakes.

What’s most challenging about your job and what do you enjoy the most?

I am one of the few people I know who knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. After just a few of my first business classes at Columbus North I knew I wanted to be a financial adviser. I have been a financial advisor now for six years and absolutely love every aspect of the job. The most challenging part of my work is guiding clients through turbulent markets. Human emotions generally make people want to do the exact opposite of what they should actually do. There are so many things I enjoy about being a financial adviser with Edward Jones. I really enjoy helping clients build a plan to achieve their dream retirement and then seeing them to that goal. Partaking in that journey with my clients has led to great business relationships but even more rewarding to me, lifelong friendships.

If you could change Columbus in any way, what would that change be?

For us to market all the positive aspects of this community to those who commute to Columbus for work. The situation is improving thanks to many new apartment complexes and subdivisions, but I would like to see them live here and invest in our community outside their work week hours. Columbus has been blessed with so many unbelievable community leaders throughout the years, I worry that potential future leaders are living in Greenwood and Indianapolis instead of here. What a shame it would be if we never have an opportunity for them to lead beside us.

What do you think shouldn’t change about Columbus and why?

Columbus is a city with a history of people who dream big and do bigger. That cannot change and it is why I think we all need to encourage the next generation of leaders to step up and get involved. If they do not, we could end up being just another exit on someone’s journey down I-65.

When you talk about Columbus to those who don’t live here, how do you describe it?

I always describe Columbus as a very unique small town and encourage people to come see Columbus for themselves. Many of the attributes I enjoyed as a kid growing up here after moving from another state still remain today. There are opportunities for families to enjoy free programs offered by the Columbus Area Arts Council, free concerts from the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, free visits to kidscommons children’s museum, an award winning parks department and People Trail system and a top notch golf course in Otter Creek. I make it pretty obvious when I end a conversation how proud I am of my town.

If someone asked you what they could do to help the community of Columbus, what would you advise them to do?

Reach out! Columbus has so many amazing organizations (like Columbus Young Professionals) and individuals that dedicate so much time to this community. Everyone is eager to help you get involved, as there is always an organization that could use your expertise. I began my journey by volunteering at United Way. The great part about United Way is that they help so many organizations in town. Working with them allowed me to find the organizations that I was a good fit for and had a passion for serving.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.