When Chase Peak brings in new clients to tour the offices of his employer, Henrico-based wealth management firm Equity Concepts, he gives them fair warning of his flair for the operatic.
“I have to warn them: ‘Listen, in my previous life, I was a full-time performer. So forgive me for being a ham,’” he said with a hearty laugh.
Talking to Peak, it’s immediately clear the kind of performer he is – his big voice and gestural storytelling style conveying the large movements and “lyric baritone” vocal range he brings to the stage.
That’s right: the 30-year-old relationship manager for Equity Concepts twilights as an opera singer, most recently appearing in Capitol Opera Richmond’s production of the Filipino opera “Noli Me Tangere,” performed through last weekend at the Henrico Theatre.
Before entering the financial field three years ago, Peak spent several years juggling a sales job at Pearson Mazda and a professional gig with the Virginia Opera, where he participated in its young artists program.
Before that, the Richmond native and Tucker High School graduate was known for singing the National Anthem at commencements and sports events at VCU, where he received a degree in vocal performance. He also got to perform the anthem at the Richmond Coliseum for a 2008 campaign event for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.
“I was so nervous,” Peak admitted. “Some people will say nerves are a sign of a guilty conscience. I think nerves, just like any athlete will say, get turned into being on top of your game. It’s that adrenaline rush.”
After his car sales gig and a couple years as a banker with Wells Fargo, Peak’s work connections led him to apply for a position with Equity Concepts, a management firm that ranked sixth this year on BizSense’s annual list of area wealth and asset management companies.
“It’s pretty awesome to see this progression in my life and to see these big changes happening that I didn’t expect to see,” Peak said. “All these skills that I’ve acquired or put on the belt over these years – it’s interesting how it comes together on the relationship manager side.”
As a relationship manager, Peak said he helps the firm with business development, networking and outreach, event planning, project management, and general customer service. And, of course, those tours of Equity Concepts’ main office near Gaskins and Three Chopt roads.
“When we have new clients come in, I get to utilize my performance side,” he said.
Peak said his experience in the opera and on stage has had an effect on his day job.
“Performance-wise, it helps, being a singer,” he said. “I’m naturally extroverted, so the networking bit and the client-facing things – like I said, I have to warn them: ‘I am a ham. This is who I am. I’m not putting on a show. It’s just blended into who I am.’ It’s been really helpful in my career progression.”
Around the office, Peak admits to occasionally breaking out in song, though he said he tries to restrict himself to humming. And he’s not alone.
One of his advisors, he said, sings in the office all the time, and another previously sang in his father’s church choir years ago. And two other guys in the office also have music degrees, he said.
“I always joke that Equity Concepts employs more music majors than anybody in Richmond,” Peak laughed, “besides VCU.”
Recently married and with his new full-time gig, Peak no longer sings professionally or as often as he used to. But he said he will never be far from the opera stage, nor will the opera stage be far from his day-to-day.
“It’s shaped who I am, how I hone each craft,” he said. “All these different jobs I’ve had until I arrived at this career has been because I understood how that taking on and refining process goes.
“The interpersonal skills are huge. I mean, you’ve got to deal with some big personalities in opera.” Laughing, he added: “And that’s coming from one of them.”
Editor’s note: If you, a coworker or someone you know around town with an exciting or unique way of passing their time when off the clock, drop us a line at [email protected].