Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hello! For our next #wewrite spotlight, meet University of Iowa graduate Benjamin Lederer, who studied Finance and earned a Writing Certificate. We caught up with Ben for a brief Q&A; see his answers below!

When did you graduate/what was your major and certificates?
I graduated in December 2014 with a BBA in Finance from the Tippie College of Business and a Writing Certificate. Aside from school, I wrote and journaled on my own time, ran along the Iowa River in Lower City Park, and participated in University Choir. One large accomplishment back then was my having an article posted in Little Village Mag(

What are you doing now? Tell us more about the promotional work you’ve been doing for Fisher Investments and the concert reviews you’ve been doing for the Portland Radio Project
So to start, I moved to Vancouver WA (Portland OR suburb) back in January 2015 to work for Fisher Investments and after 18 months, I was hired onto the Content Services Group. I've been in the group for about a month now, and it is fun and difficult. Our group is supposed to be experts in Fisher's stock market outlook and philosophy, and we need to be able to communicate that effectively.

I've updated what we call Bin Pieces -- short, usually visual slides for our advisors to provide clients when they have common questions. I've also written bits of marketing brochures and summaries of our stories for internal clients, and I've spent a lot of time reading Ken Fisher's books. The firm has a surprisingly strong writing culture as our founder, Ken Fisher, has written for Forbes magazine for decades and has written a number of books.

Writing concert reviews is a new, fun hobby. I've just started. I was going to small concerts usually a few times a month and love the alternative music scene in Portland. I googled, "Portland Concert Reviews," found this local, up-and-coming radio station, the Portland Radio Project, with reviews and reached out to them. It's a collection of Portlanders in different stages of life who all love music. My first review is on a local band named Joseph: (

What did you gain the most from the Writing Certificate program?‬
Honestly, I gained passion. I’d always been a good writer. That is, it came easily to me. The Certificate program provided me with teachers who loved and studied what they read, who could pick apart metaphors and imagery with great detail. Their passion for writing is what helped me make the transition to writing for myself rather than for an assignment.

What would you like to tell the world about the Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing?
The Magid Center is a hidden gem in Schaeffer Hall. Without the Magid Center, I don’t know if my writing would have continued past the classroom. It’s an opportunity that students at Iowa likely take for granted: the fact that you get to learn from some of the country's finest, new writers. Not to mention, working with Danny Khalastchi was always a pleasure. I’d enter a meeting with an idea to run by him, and I’d leave with four new ones that I’d get to work on immediately.

Ben Lederer with Daniel Khalastchi