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Investing in God: Bob Doll Interview

When Robert Doll was a boy, his grandmother told him about the Salvation Army. She also donated about $25 a year and collected the stamps issued in 1965 by the Bureau of Engraving in celebration of the Army’s 100thbirthday. That’s how he got to know about the Army. Today, Doll is Chief Equity Strategist and Senior Portfolio Manager at Nuveen Asset Management. Bob manages the Large Cap Equity Series, consisting of seven strategies. He frequently appears on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, and Fox Business News where he discusses the economy, based on 39 years of experience in the industry and several degrees in financial management, including an MBA from the Wharton School in Pennsylvania.

Bob and wife Leslie continue the family’s tradition of giving to the Army. On November 22, 2019, the Greater New York Division honored him at its 72ndAnnual Gala Concert & Fundraiser event at the Centennial Memorial Temple in Manhattan.

How did you get involved in the stock market?

Between undergraduate and graduate school, I met the father of a girl I dated. He was an investor. Until then, I had no idea what the stock market was. I got fascinated with the interdisciplinary nature of it, and the excitement about it. I fell in love with how I could help other people through it. Since then, I felt it was God’s calling on my professional life. It’s been a joy and an honor to do that.

What excited me about the market was: no two days are the same, I can read my score in the newspaper every day, there’s a competition that happens nonstop, and then there is a combination of politics and economics and math. It’s part science; it’s part art and psychology. It’s just a broad set of the things I look at in this world that I use to figure out the markets for people.

How has being a person of faith and a believer in this industry affected you in your work?

As I’ve aged, I’ve learned that God has one integrated purpose in my life. In other words, the whole faith and work movement helps me understand that it’s not on Sunday, “I do this,” but on Monday thru Friday “I do that.” No, it’s one integrated life. So, how we live, what’s important to us, and how we interact with people needs to reflect our values.

As a Christian, my worldview is that of the Bible, which dictates and gives me the privilege of trying to represent Christ in everything I do.

What challenges have you encountered in your professional career?

When I grew up, it was pretty popular to be a Christian. It was not only accepted, it was encouraged. However, I woke up one day and I found out that’s not so much anymore. It’s kind of just tolerated. Then I woke up on another day and found out that, as Christians, we’re not welcome in lots of places.

It’s subtle most of the time, but at other times, there are barriers in the way. So, I try to represent Christ in a way that fits into the secular world without compromising who He is and what He means to me.

Are there bumps along the way in terms of people rejecting who you are?

Perhaps. Sometimes we make that up in our heads, I think. But at one point in time—outside the workplace—I lost a job ostensibly for sharing my faith. Videos were found of me doing it. I was told, “We don’t do that here.”

What sort of things in your private life and ministry do you stay true to and remain passionate about?

It starts with understanding who God is and believing who He is through His word. So, I spend time every day in the word to better understand who He is and who I am in Him. That creates the foundation for how I can live. Everything evolves from that ministry involvement. Many of my ministry opportunities come through the workplace.

How do you find yourself and your family giving back to the community?

In small, everyday ways and in large ways. It all starts from an understanding that everything we have is God’s; our very bodies, even our brain power. So, if we’re true to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we’re to pour out our lives in every way, shape or form for other people.

What will you say to the people who gather at the Gala?

Believe in general and through The Salvation Army in particular. I’ve known the Army since I was a little kid. I love the fact that they are true to the word of God. Salvation through faith in Christ by grace alone is the foundation of what they do, but then they turn around and give back by feeding the poor, educating people, addressing trafficking issues, and all of those things. So, I would say to people who give to the Army to keep at it because it’s a great work.

You lead the choir at your church.

I love music; played for our kids. Music is one of those things. There’s no language, there’s no boundaries. It just speaks to the soul. We are made to worship God and music is a high form of worship. Leading the choir, and playing the piano and organ is something I’ve done for years. It’s a joy. It helps strengthen my faith. Many anthems are right from the Bible. It’s also a way to memorize Scripture and point people to Jesus. Most Scripture that I can quote comes from a song.

How has being a Christian helped set you up for success?

The first thing comes to my mind is joy in going to work. I mean, so many people live for the weekend or live for vacation, not that those things are bad, they’re very good and we need them. But on the other hand, I love going to work because I love my job.

I love the people I’m going to interact with. I love the task at hand. I love the satisfaction that comes from getting things done and from having consistency and integrity in what I do.

by Warren L. Maye and Stephen Ditmer

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