Executive Profile: Finance Expert Plays to a Different Beat

Tim Schultz took an unconventional path to the boardroom.

Growing up in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, he and his siblings played enough instruments to form a small orchestra.

“It went from trumpet, to tuba, to sax, to piano,” he said. “My entire family was musical, and in particular my mother.”

From kindergarten through high school, Schultz took music lessons on the pipe organ, piano and percussion. His teachers were classically trained musicians with the Minnesota Orchestra, so it seemed natural to him that he should follow that path.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in music from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, he moved to Boston to study at the New England Conservatory of Music. But something just didn’t feel right, he said.

“I had reached a point in my life where I took a step back and assessed where I was at, and whether I wanted to do this for the rest of my life,” he said. “There is intense competition and uncertainty associated with a field like that. You are always wondering, ‘Are you going to win the spot? Are you good enough?’”

Schultz put his studies on hold and moved back to the Twin Cities. He took a temporary job with the trust department at Norwest Corp. to pay the bills.

“I don’t think I had any long-term intention of staying in the financial services industry,” he said.

As he settled into the job, Schultz found that he could apply his self-discipline and training in musical theory easily to mathematics and finance.

“There is a definite connection,” he said. “The numbers became very easy for me to see and understand in the business world.”

As he immersed himself in his new role, Schultz found he enjoyed it. He eventually applied for and received a permanent job in Norwest’s institutional trust department, where he carved out a niche working with nonprofit clients. Eventually, he developed clients in the arts and musical world, which satisfied his appetite for staying involved.

Norwest was purchased by Wells Fargo & Co. in the late 1990s, and Schultz continued to climb the ranks to vice president and client services director. He directed expansion efforts for the Southern and Western regions, and he oversaw institutional trust relationships and wealthy clients.

In 2005, Schultz moved to BMO Private Bank, where he now serves as regional director of administration and operations for its Western U.S. division. That role is varied and blends managerial and leadership responsibilities with financial performance. It’s a relatively new position within BMO Private Bank.

“It really uses my creative side,” he said. “What I love about my position is that it is as varied as everything that I’ve done in my life. I love switching gears and doing a ton of different things.”

Schultz said the wealth management industry has changed dramatically since he started in the mid-1980s.

“I tend to be more on the innovative side,” he said. “You need to be really flexible and creative.”

He remains involved with the arts. He serves on the advisory boards of several Phoenix nonprofits, including Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Innovation and the Phoenix Art Museum. He also was elected to the board of the Phoenix Symphony this year.

In addition, Schultz serves on the board of One n Ten, an organization that provides support and a safe environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. He also works to promote diversity at BMO Private Bank.

When Schultz plays an instrument today, it’s primarily for relaxation.

“Probably the fingers don’t move quite as fast as they used to,” he joked. “The percussion I’ve pretty much left behind, and it’s hard to fit a xylophone into the home.”

In his free time, Schultz also loves reading, gardening and spending time with his St. Bernards. It’s not unusual for him to spend eight or nine hours outdoors on a Saturday off. His musical tastes remain diverse, ranging from classical to Top 40 to dance music.

Schultz said mentors helped him get over his fears when he began a new career.

“If you really want something, you should chase it,” he said. “Don’t be afraid of the unknown.”

Close Up

Title: Regional director of administration and operations, Western U.S. division

Company: BMO Private Bank

Education: Bachelor’s degree in music, Augsburg College, Minneapolis

Hometown: Minneapolis-St. Paul

Community involvement: Board member, Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Innovation, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Symphony, and One in ten…

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