The career trajectory of SBCC alumni Aaron Clark, the 31 year-old CEO of Santa Barbara based Monarch Wealth Strategies, began while he was taking college level classes on the Mesa campus while still attending Santa Barbara High School. “ Those classes gave the hands on experience I needed to determine that enrolling at SBCC for my first two years of General Education classes worked best for me and my family” Aaron said. While at City College, Aaron fondly recalls two Professors, Dr. Manou Eskandari and Joe White, who brought a wealth of information from the outside which made his Santa Barbara City College experience feel more worldly, laying the foundation for a lifelong passion for traveling.
“SBCC helped me feel more seasoned and confident entering a four year college as a junior” he said.
Aaron graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice Administration (his grandfather served in the FBI) and a minor in Sociology from San Diego State University. After college graduation, Aaron returned to Santa Barbara where he was hired by A. G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., which operated as a full-service securities broker-dealer in the US and Europe. With a high aptitude in math, he was recognized as one of the firm’s top financial consultants while working with high-net individuals. By 2008, sensing the opportunity for a more personalized experience for high net worth individuals and their heirs, Aaron went out on his own and opened Monarch Wealth Strategies in downtown Santa Barbara. Coming full circle, when setting up his firm he hired several Santa Barbara City College interns to help with analysis, office work and web design. “ I was very impressed with their credentials and ability to step into the work place and use their skill set.” Understanding the importance of education in the financial planning area was part an important part of his continuing education. Aaron Clark received a Master of Science graduate degree in the Personal Financial Planning, along with becoming certified as a financial planner and earned his designation as an AAMS (Accredited Asset Management Specialist) in 2004. Aaron has made community involvement a priority; not only is he the current Vice-Chair of the Foundation for SBCC’s Campaign for Student Success, he serves as a board member for the Montecito Rotary, supports the work of the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, and volunteers for Explore Ecology, an organization located near Hendry’s Beach which helps educate the children and the community on developing a greater green presence. In his spare time, the former SBHS golfer continues to work on his game, takes piano lessons, and is practicing martial arts.
“SBCC laid the groundwork for a lifelong passion for education and expanding my world beyond our geographical borders” Aaron said. “Charting a path to my future or making an investment in the youth of our community has been essential to me and I hope all people no matter where you are in life, have goals!”
By Judy Foreman