“Make it a great day.”
That’s the surprising valediction with which prominent financial advisor, LGBTQ ally and philanthropist Judson “Jud” Gee ends his cell phone’s outgoing voicemail message. Find him unable to take your call and at first you’ll hear the basics. Gee introduces himself, confirming that you’ve reached your intended digital destination; he names his place of business, JHG Financial; he vows to return your call as soon as possible, and suggests that a text might net you a quicker response; he cautions against disclosing personal financial information over voicemail. And then, seemingly out of nowhere: “make it a great day.” I was caught off guard by its earnest friendliness, and charmed to discover how naturally that personal concern could emerge from a professional encounter.
It’s a happy balance that suits Gee flawlessly. The Charlotte native and University of North Carolina at Charlotte Economics grad is quick to share his good fortune at having fallen for his now-wife, Sherry, more than 26 years ago, and been married for 17 and counting. With a decade of LGBTQ advocacy under his belt, he’s proud to have served several terms on the Grants Committee for the Lesbian and Gay Fund, worked with the LGBT Chamber of Commerce and spent time as president of the LGBT Community Center before its unfortunate dissolution. A longtime sponsor of Charlotte Pride and numerous North Carolina Human Rights Campaign Galas, Gee has extended his community outreach to include the Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte and LGBTQ affirmative One Voice Chorus, among other organizations.
Just as importantly, as managing partner at JHG Financial Advisors, LLC, he’s dedicated himself and his firm to the unique financial and estate planning needs of LGBTQ+ individuals and families. That means expertise in wills and living wills, powers of attorney, visitation arrangements, revocable trusts, and, critically, making the most of federal protections against increasingly hostile and discriminatory state law.
It’s no stretch at all to place Gee among our community’s most valuable and passionate allies. Here, he chats with qnotes about his favorite causes, ultimate pastimes, and the real meaning of home.
Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
I’m most proud about my involvement in multiple charities over the last 15 years. My Grandmother Gee taught me that giving back by rolling up your sleeves will come back to in spades, and she was correct. Right now I’m the program lead for Project Healing Waters which helps our disabled veterans acclimate back into society via the therapeutic outlet of fly fishing and various aspects such as fly tying and rod building.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about the community and helping people understand how being financially independent can help us reach our goals.
What helps you relax when you’re feeling stressed?
Fly fishing is my biggest outlet, but also staying in shape is on the top of list too.
What cheers you up when you’re feeling down?
Being around people who support me to include my Team at JHG Financial.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice was not only to tithe by giving back monetarily, because my family was blessed having help start Jefferson Pilot (now part of Lincoln Financial — think Eagles stadium), but to actually get involved. Being on Boards, actively sharing my strengths on committees, and dynamically doing things like day builds with Habit for Humanity. The stories you hear while working beside the people who will soon own those homes is simply life changing.
How do you spend your free time?
My wife and I travel from one end of the state to the other quite frequently. We have a coastal house as well as a home in the mountains on the Watauga river, therefore most weekends are dedicated to outdoor activities with our close friends.
We’ve all heard that smell is the sense most strongly tied to memory. What scents do you find most evocative?
Fresh flowers in bloom comes to mind!
If you won a multi-million-dollar jackpot, what would you do with the money?
Of course 10 percent would be dedicated to charities, but then we would upgrade our properties at both ends of the state.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Night owl for sure!
What household chore do you avoid at all costs?
All of them!
What possessions do you cherish most?
Well our dog is very spoiled, of course, but right behind that would be my boats and all those things that go into making a day on the water a success. Mainly fishing equipment, but don’t tell my wife that!
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My childhood was not the fondest given my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was about eight. It was a tough eight years, but I guess like most boys I wanted to be a great athlete, and soccer was my sport.
If you could live in any time period, past or future, anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
We live in an exciting time of growth and technology. I don’t long for days of old, nor life to be any more fast-paced than today, so I think the present is where I would want to be. Although I’ve done some extensive traveling, North Carolina sure does have a lot to offer with the highest peaks on the East Coast and, of course, our coastal area is gorgeous. Being able to travel to both in 2-3 hours from Charlotte, and a touch of all seasons makes this HOME.
What do you like most about yourself?
I think being involved is what I do best. Whether it’s being involved with my wife and closest friends out and about, or assisting my clients in reaching their goals via planning, or helping out the community via charities I’m involved with, it’s being in the now that really gets me off.
What aspect of yourself would you like to change?
I live a fast-paced life, I’m very ADD in some senses, so I would say one day I need to slow down.
You can read only five books for the rest of your life. Which do you choose?
Gosh I hate to say it but I do not read as much as I would like, or should, so that one’s tough for me.
Imagine traveling somewhere incredibly remote, with no way of contacting the outside world. Are you more thrilled or petrified?
I’m more petrified given I own my business and have a lot of responsibilities. But that’s what I like about fly fishing given you have to un-connect from the world.
If you met yourself, do you think you’d be your friend?
Yes, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t a friend!
What have you always wanted to do, be, or learn, but never gotten around to?
We just finished building our “forever home,” so knocked that one off the list and would never do it again! I’d say going around the globe and spending a month in each country would be incredible.
And finally, how would you like to be remembered?
For me it’s about the people’s lives I touched along the way, and how I learned something from each. I think the legacy you leave is just that; how you positively impacted your community and lived life to the fullest with no regrets.