We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Severson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason, what do you want your legacy to be?
I have actually been giving this some thought lately. As I think about Primary Funding as a company and our team that makes things happen every day, I realize that the legacy I leave is important to me. It is important because a legacy, in my mind, is formed by how you handled yourself and what you did for other people. Most importantly I want our team to feel that the company we built together is providing fulfillment both personally and professionally. That means that it provides work/life balance. It means that everyone on our team feels like they make a difference, have influence and are appreciated. As it relates to the community and our clients, I want Primary Funding to be known for being more than just money. We want to give back to the community that we live in. This may be as simple financial donations to non-profits, but more importantly it shows up in how we handle ourselves. It shows up in doing the right thing. Sometimes this requires us to tell a prospect that there is a better option for them than Primary Funding. Sometimes this takes extra time for us to give advice to clients or prospects or make introductions to others that may benefit them. Ultimately this all shows up in being selfless and thinking about other people. If people feel that I cared about them, that is a legacy that I would be proud of.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I owe a lot to my mother-in-law, Patricia Burns. I met Pat in a business networking group when I was a commercial banker. Eventually she introduced me to her daughter, who became my amazing wife. So clearly I really do owe my current life to Pat. She is an inspiration. As a single mom, Pat put herself through school while learning the alternative finance business. After working for others, she became an entrepreneur and formed Primary Funding in 1995. Pat built the company over the next 17 years with hard work and dedication. She was known throughout San Diego and everyone that I came across loved Pat! Unfortunately in 2012 Pat suffered a massive stroke and hasn’t been able to work since. I ended up leaving the bank I was with and I took over running Primary Funding. Pat’s stroke left her unable to really speak for several months. She was the lifeblood and leader of Primary Funding. I had to learn things quickly and experienced quite a few bumps and bruises along the way. Trial by fire, you could say. I learned a lot over those early years. While it was stressful, I had a great support system in my wife as well as Pat, even though she couldn’t communicate very well. In the years since, we have been fortunate to put together an amazing team of people. We have fun, work hard and care about the mission of helping companies. Pat left a lasting legacy where 9+ years later, we still hear wonderful things about her in the community. We are carrying on Pat’s legacy and they are big shoes to fill.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Given that I am a golfer, I would want to take them to The Farms Golf Club, which I think is the best course in the county. And of course Torrey Pines South is a must do for golfers. Aside from golf, we have so many great things to do in San Diego. Petco Park is such a cool ballpark…and hopefully will be home to a World Series team soon! Depending on the time of year, the Del Mar Races are always a good time. I also love any restaurant overlooking the ocean. One of my favorite restaurants in Il Fornaio in Coronado. The views of downtown San Diego at night are incredible!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are many people throughout my life that have been supportive and encouraging and I owe a lot to all them. My parents would be at the top of the list. I am very fortunate to have the family that I have. I ended up following in my dad’s footsteps. He was a commercial banker in San Diego for many years and became CEO of Grossmont Bank. From him I learned the importance of servant leadership. I remember him working on a presentation he made to the bank where he turned the org chart upside down to let everyone know that he works for them. It is critical for the team to feel supported and provide everyone a voice. I heard many stories from bankers about how my dad would sit down with them with a yellow pad of paper and he would talk to them about what they were experiencing. What was broken. What they need help with. And he always got back to them with feedback or solutions. They knew he cared. That approach has always stuck with me and I try to do the same.