Brian Marino: Collegiate Ice Hockey Star to Financial Planner


March 13, 2015

As the drama and tension of the MAC tournament draw to a close, Brian Marino speaks to us about his collegiate career in the ice hockey team at Kent State University and his journey to becoming a successful financial planner at Skylight Financial Group.

Brian, tell us a little bit about your highlights as a college athlete?

Well, my main sport was ice hockey.  It’s a sport I love and started playing from 4 years old and continued to play for 25 years non-stop.  Throughout my collegiate career, I was delighted to hold various leadership positions within the Kent State team – from assistant captain to captain to team VP and helping with coaching.  A particular highlight was being named “Rookie of the Year” in my first year with the team and also being honored as an Academic All American which recognized my commitment to study while playing sport.

What is your fondest memory?

I have so many fond memories!  One of my fondest is in my senior year when our team made our first ever national appearance and I was captain that year.  Also in my senior year, I was selected to play for Team USA which was just amazing.  We traveled to Poland for three weeks and played in the World University Games competing against 26 other countries.

How did you make the move from being a college athlete to working as a financial planner at Skylight?

In my sophomore year, I started an internship with another financial planning company for eight months.  To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy it and it initially put me off the industry.  So I went and worked in various sales and marketing jobs.  But what I really wanted was to be an entrepreneur, so I decided to return to the industry and worked for another financial planning firm for four years or so and built my business.  It was a really good company but they were very product focused and didn’t place much emphasis on planning.  So in 2006, I made the move to Skylight as I felt it was the best fit for me.  With Skylight, I can focus more on the planning side and run my business the way I want – while also getting the level of resource and support I need.

What similarities do you see between being a college athlete and your career at Skylight Financial Group?

The most important skill I learned as a college athlete was how to manage my time.  It was the same for all of us athletes – there was a lot to fit in with the routine practice, weights, study and just hanging out like students do.  There really wasn’t any time to waste so I got very good at managing my time.  This is a skill that’s really important as a financial planner and business owner – as ultimately time is money.

Also just like in sports, the competitive nature of being a financial planner really appeals to me. I love to win whether it’s against my peers in the firm or external planners.   So I work very hard and keep persevering.

What advice would you give to a college athlete considering a career at Skylight Financial Group?

It’s a great opportunity but you have to want to win and be passionate about what you are doing.  If like me, you are competitive, a good team player and want the independence of your own business then it’s awesome and likely to be a good fit.

What do you want others to think of when they hear the word “financial planner”?

I would like them to think “guidance and support”.  It’s a hugely rewarding job where you can really positively impact lives and improve financial futures.

Brian Marino is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. OSJ: 2012 W. 25th Street, Suite 900, Cleveland OH 44113. 216-621-5680.