My name is Brian Jacoby and I am 28 years old and live in the area. Upon completion of my business degree with concentrations in finance and accounting at the University of Michigan Business School in 2000, I started a career in corporate finance at the investment bank at Salomon Smith Barney. After developing a strong desire to work on the principal side of investing, and completing my two year analyst program, I joined the Corporate Development team at Triarc Companies , in 2002. Triarc is mandated with evaluating and executing strategic transactions, monitoring performance across multi-sector portfolio companies, and identifying opportunistic control and non-control investments. In November of 2005, I helped launch Trian Partners, an operational activist investment fund which is where I spend most of my time today.
Music has been a life-long hobby and passion of mine. I come from a long line of trumpet players and have played classical and jazz trumpet since I was seven years old. I also enjoy nothing more than sitting down at a Yankees game with a hot dog and debating with my Dad whether or not there will ever be another Mickey Mantle on the NY Yankees. He tells me that I should be grateful that I got to see, firsthand, a dynasty (in the late 1990′s) led by the talent and blue-collar work ethic of players like Derek Jeter and Paul O’Neil.
While I spend most of my time throughout the day scouring the global markets for attractive investment opportunities, I am never bored of discussing investments in my free time. Identifying long-term value is an art. As every person has their own unique framework and set of experiences, they will naturally approach situations and opportunities with a unique perspective. I am never bored of discussing the merits of a certain business model or taking the time to understand the root cause of an industry’s set of headwinds. I feel truly blessed to be able to spend my work days doing something that I actually enjoy. I never understood why some people say that they leave their job at the office, life is too short.
I have been fortunate enough to spend time volunteering over the years with organizations like New York Cares, the Salvation Army and now VABC. I strongly believe that giving back to those who are less fortunate is essential. Finding even the smallest amount of time (easier said than done as most New Yorkers have so little) to support important causes can and does have a meaningful impact.
While I was aware that Eric and Adam were spearheading the Foundation a few years ago under a different name, Steve Horwitz, one of VABC’s directors, gave me a call in the Fall and gave me a more fulsome update as to what was happening at the Foundation and all of the momentum it had generated to date.
After recently becoming involved with VABC in late 2005, I joined the team on the Event Committee that was charged with planning the first annual fundraising event, Sounding Off For A Cure. The team worked closely with the talented group at Powered by Professionals, a consulting firm in New York whose mission is to make the world a better place by connecting individuals, families and companies to volunteer opportunities that have meaning to them or by assisting them in creating and managing their own charitable organization. Together, we carefully devised every step along the way in planning, organizing, promoting and executing this monumental event.
I cannot think of a better cause than the mission of VABC. As you may already know, VABC was founded by the Lichtenstein family and friends in the loving memory of Gary Lichtenstein who lost his valiant battle with brain cancer in late 2003. Gary and I were college roommates for two years at the University of Michigan, during our freshman and sophomore years.
Gary was more than just a great friend to me, he was a mentor and a confidant. He and I shared some of the most difficult times together, including deciding on what career path we should take (navigating through the challenging application process to the business school at U of M), selecting the appropriate social circles (as do all new college students) and how to lead a decent life (being 18 years old and having no parental guidance for the first time in our lives). Being involved in a great cause is important, but being involved in a great cause in Gary’s memory is paramount to me.
My best memory to date, working with VABC, was seeing Eric and Adam on the podium toward the end of the fundraising event raising their clenched fists with a doctor from Columbia University. At that moment, the goose-bumps hit me for a reason. I had just witnessed greatness — the hard work of the family, Foundation and Powered by Professionals came to fruition with a massive impact. The fact is, this new Foundation which was just started from scratch was able to fill up the Hammerstein Ballroom, raise nearly $300,000 and already identify a terrific research and treatment program at Columbia to begin making a real difference. I felt that the event was flawless and it was clear at that moment to me that VABC is ready and able to make a serious difference.
I plan to continue supporting the mission of VABC by planning and executing future events and, to the extent I can be helpful, in increasing the positive impact of the Foundation (whether it is by continuing to promote the message or leveraging my network, resources, etc.). As I previously stated, I cannot think of a better cause out there and one in the memory of a better guy.