Ronald Kamdem on Meaningful Living, Wellness & Work, and Advice To Live By

Name: Ronald Kamdem
Role: Vice President of Equity Research, Morgan Stanley
Based in: New York
Age: 31

Ronald Kamdem is a Vice President in Equity Research and has been at Morgan Stanley for 9 years and based out of New York City. Prior to this, he completed his studies at Harvard University with a degree in Economics and Statistics.

On his free time, Ronald is a passionate community builder and spends his free time volunteering with STREETSQUASH, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing consistent, long-term, and reliable support to the children, families, and schools in Harlem and Newark, so that the students can realize their academic, athletic, and personal potential, of which he was formerly the Co-Chair for its Young Leadership Committee.

1. In your words, who are you?

I’m a very passionate person full of optimism and big dreams. I grew up believing that education or investing in human capital was the key to happiness and success for oneself and for others, and today that still rings true. But I also believe in leadership and the power of getting things done. I am just like everyone else, a collection of experiences and I’ve been fortunate to have many good ones. Other things to know is that I’m vegetarian by choice, and tennis, squash and volunteering are very close to my heart!

2. Give us a day in your life on a weekday.

Typically I’m up at 6am and at work by 7am. I usually spend two hours reading relevant research and articles as well as catching up on emails. Then I generally have a few hours of meetings and client calls until noon. Then there are a few more meeting and calls in the afternoon, but generally I spend time writing research, building financial models or creating presentations. My day usually ends at around 7pm and I try to catch up on whatever emails and reading I didn’t finish in the morning.  

3. Describe your wellness regimen if you have one. What are actions you take to keep yourself well (mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually)?

I’m very routine about physical exercise– 2 or 3 times a week. Usually Thursday, Saturday and Sunday are filled with squash, tennis, or weight lifting. I find an hour or two of exercise and a shower usually does the trick for me. 

4. Do you feel comfortable talking about your mental health (emotional and mental wellbeing) with friends?

I do feel very comfortable as I think just like physical health, mental heath is something to also be worked on and strengthened. I generally consider my mind to be just like my body, in constant need of some exercise so I’ve gotten comfortable having those conversations. 

5. What is the mental health policy at Morgan Stanley? Are you given mental health days? Is therapy covered by your company’s insurance? 

All the above; it’s a very important part of overall wellness. 

6. What is something you are passionate about outside of work? 

Volunteering and community building. 

7. You were the former co-chair at Streetsquash, a non-profit organization dedicated to youth development in Harlem and Newark and are still actively involved as a volunteer for its various works, whether it be in after school sports programs or in tutoring. What motivated you to work with Streetsquash?

Meeting the students and seeing with my own eyes was a life changing experience for me and I knew right away this is something I wanted to do. Never looked back since really it’s almost as if I was a part of STREETSQUASH even before I knew it existed. 

8. Work and happiness – do you think they come hand in hand?

Definitely. They definitely should. There are certain periods in your career that may be more challenging than others but for the majority of your career they should. 

9. Do you hold any life philosophies currently as it applies to your life, in work or in personal life? 

In my office I have two quotes: « one team one dream! » And « control what you can control ». Think that sums me up nicely. 

10. Letters to My Younger Self: If you had advice to give to your younger self, what would it have been?: 

Ha I love this question. Firstly I would say thank you for steering the ship in the right direction! Then I would say never lose the fire in your eyes. 

Interview by Susan Im

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