“Our life was surrounded by our dad. He was the figure who orchestrated our lives and planned for our future. Without him, I would not be the person I am, and for that I am truly grateful.”
Those are just some of the many good things Nels has to say about his father, Derek, who passed away suddenly in 2019 at age 53. The senior Nelsen was a very successful financial advisor for more than 30 years, and Nels is following in his footsteps.
Asked if his dad’s approach can be related to Nels’ work at Dream Harbour, Nels does not hesitate: “He was the epitome of reaching out to clients. Of making sure they felt safe. He didn’t come from a lot of money, so he worked really hard so his clients – and our family – could have the lives they wanted.”
It’s a tight fit with the Dream Harbour brand promise, that’s for sure: Here your dreams are safe™.
In an informal apprenticeship starting in Nels’ earliest years, he absorbed his father’s approach like a sponge. Derek Nelsen was a charismatic, gregarious man with a great laugh. Nels himself loves to meet new people and can talk to anyone, anywhere. But as a teenager, he was introverted. He worked at Golftown, selling clubs (he is still a fanatical golfer and plays many other sports). Over time, his skills at talking with customers improved – and he became the store’s top salesperson. Nels’ boss, understandably impressed, wanted to know how he’d done it. Nels’ simple answer: “I just watched my dad.”
After high school, Nels studied for a Bachelors in Sport Management and a Diploma in Business Management at Camosun College, after which he became a Financial Security Advisor at Freedom 55 and then a Financial Planner at IG Wealth.
His eventual arrival at Dream Harbour was pure destiny. Why? It just so happens that Derek Nelsen and Dream Harbour Founder Glen Dodd were close friends. So there is that timeless bond – but the connection is even larger than that.
As Nels puts it, “I was out there trying to work independently. Struggling to find people with the same values: that helping clients comes first and getting paid comes second. That is a big part of the belief system I see in Glen and Mike. So this harbour is my new home.”