Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Member Spotlight

Joey Amato | March 9, 2020

Member: Chris Douglas
Business: C.H. Douglas & Gray Wealth Management
Industry: Finance/Wealth Management

Tell us about your business and what makes you different from the competition

We are and always have been an independent fiduciary, professionally bound by our clients’ best interests when we’re advising them financially or managing their investments.  Our clients pay us directly.  We’re not pushing products or taking commissions, so we’ve avoided the financial scandals of the last twenty years.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far?
I’m proudest of the work I’ve done over the last 25 years in advancing civil rights for LGBTQ Hoosiers. Here we are in a red state, but we have civil rights protections in almost every major city, whether run by Republicans or Democrats, and a state law specifically protecting those clauses incorporating sexual orientation and gender identity.   We now have a hate crime law as well, though it still needs work. Along with many others, I’ve been very much engaged in that process all the way along, sometimes in important ways. 

Have you faced any obstacles being an LGBT-owned business?
In my corporate life 25 or 30 years ago, yes, but in owning a business not so much.  All business owners know it takes hard work, perseverance, and sometimes luck to succeed.  We’ve been very fortunate.

How has the business climate in Indy changed since you launched your business?
When I first sponsored Pride in 2000, there were no other mainstream businesses that seemed willing to associate publicly and openly with the LGBTQ Community, which is why I felt it was important to break that ground.  Now our leading corporate citizens know they’d better be there, and our politicians know that for the state to succeed, businesses must feel that their LGBTQ  employees are equally protected and welcomed.

For all those afraid to invest, or don’t have a lot of money to invest, what would you tell them?
Either find an advisor or go online and do it yourself using broadly diversified, low expense index funds.  The miracle of compounding returns means you need to get started, and the earlier the better. Doing anything is better than doing nothing.

What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
It wasn’t advice; it was example, and it was Dad’s. Do the right thing, always. That imperative is why I opened my own independent business.

What was the last book you read?
Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind.

What is your favorite Indy restaurant?
For comfort food, it’s always Ocean World, a locally owned Japanese restaurant on 86th Street.  Great sushi, sashimi, and tempura. They know us well there.

What is your favorite vacation destination?
That’s a developing story. Modestly, I’m hoping soon to open a fishing camp, and then a fishing lodge out on Sugar Creek in Montgomery County, where there is great kayaking and fly-fishing to be had.

The Indy Rainbow Chamber Spotlight is a new series highlighting our wonderful members.