Jason Shade '95As the creator of an innovative stock recommendation service and host of his own hour-long weekly radio show, Jason Shade '95 (history and political science) has achieved a certain amount of prominence as an investor and financial adviser. But he hasn't done it by the book. "I did it the hard way. I really did, but it worked out," says Shade, whose show, Wall Street Straight Talk, airs on Sunday afternoons on the CBS Radio affiliate in Houston. "Sometimes the road less traveled is the road best traveled."

His unconventional path included a side trip to law school and forays into the newspaper industry and politics before leading to finance. Shade earned some crucial investment experience with Gregory FCA in Ardmore and followed that with a financial sales job at Merrill Lynch. But earning commissions based on how many financial products he could sell didn't really interest him. "I'd rather sell tires than financial advice over the phone," he says.

Instead, Shade decided to start his own hedge fund. It took 18 months of going door to door to round up enough investors, but launching the fund proved to be the pivotal moment in his career. Although he shut the fund down in 2008 due to mounting regulatory pressures caused by the global financial crisis, he was able to adapt his business model to start Texting Trades, which provides subscribers with real-time trading ideas via text, e-mail and instant message.

Shade's success with Texting Trades found support from Barrington Financial Advisors, which recruited him to serve as director of portfolio management — overseeing nearly $100 million under management — and appear as a guest on their weekly radio show. In little more than a year, his segments became so popular that he went from a small recurring segment to hosting his own show where he shares his stock picks with listeners and chats with guests such as Steve Forbes and Harry Dent.

"The key to the whole operation was persistence," Shade says. "You can't give up. You can't quit. You have to continue to work until you find individuals who see what you offer and believe in you.

"Just because one door closes, doesn't mean more won't open. If you stay persistent in life and follow your dreams, I think ultimately you'll be successful."

Patrick S. Broadwater