Culture

We have a phrase for the way we work: Truly Invested. It defines our mindset, our culture, and the kind of people we are.

Our cultureAt William Blair, we believe in being Truly Invested. It is our commitment to be invested in one another, our clients, and our firm, delivering success for all. Our people seek fresh perspectives, are adaptable and outcome-focused, and have the drive and ambition to lead the way.

William Blair was founded in Chicago in 1935 by William McCormick Blair. Mr. Blair's vision was to help clients achieve long-term financial success by identifying Midwestern growth-oriented companies. From that foundation, William Blair has grown into a full-service global investment banking and asset management firm with nearly 1,400 employees worldwide. Throughout our history, our firm has remained independent and managed by active employee-owners. While our headquarters remain in Chicago, our vision extends to clients and investment opportunities around the globe.

As our firm continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of a dynamic global marketplace, the words of our founder are as relevant and influential today as they have ever been: "When our clients succeed, the firm's success will follow."

Read more about our history

Our cultural values support our commitment to be Truly Invested—in one another, our clients, and our firm. They guide our behaviors and ways of working.

At William Blair, we are:

Actively inclusive
We actively seek fresh perspectives to create better strategic solutions. Together, we unlock a wealth of experience across the firm, creating value and driving performance.

Agile for clients
We anticipate market dynamics and the changing needs of our clients, adapting our strategy and services to deliver the best outcomes.

Competitively fit for the future
We focus on sustaining our competitive advantage. We do what it takes to stay ahead, from leveraging knowledge and technology to implementing firmwide change.

Consistency and continuity in leadership is a hallmark of our firm. Since the firm’s founding in 1935, William Blair has had five CEOs or managing partners, three of whom continue to work at the firm. John Ettelson, who has served as president and CEO since 2004, heads the firm’s executive committee.

Learn more about our executive committee members.

William Blair is consistently rated as one of the best places to work in the investment industry and Chicago. Mergers & Acquisitions magazine named William Blair "Investment Bank of the Year" for 2017 and Pensions & Investments recognized William Blair as one of the 2017 "Best Places to Work in Money Management." The Chicago Tribune named William Blair a 2017 "Top Workplace" in Chicago, marking the eighth year in a row the firm made the Tribune's list.

Barron’s magazine named William Blair to its 2017 “Top 40 Wealth Managers” list and the 2018 Vault Banking Employer Survey named WB No. 2 overall and ranked the firm within the top 10 in 23 categories. Additionally, Vault ranked the firm No. 3 on its 2018 “Best Investment Bank Internships” list. This was the third consecutive year William Blair’s internship program was among the investment banking industry’s top five by the Vault survey.

Learn more about the awards our firm and professionals have received.