Sharing their good fortune

Nick and Lisa Preddice. Photograph by John Rizzo.

Being generous with their happy and prosperous lives comes easily and naturally to Nick and Lisa Preddice.

“We came from modest backgrounds and have worked hard and been fortunate,” says Nick, who lives with Lisa and their two boys in the Arbor Hills section of Goldens Bridge. “We never lose sight of our roots and the needs of others.”

The couple both work in the financial services industry. Nick is the founder and CEO of The Affinity Group LLC, a wealth management firm with offices in Norwalk and Albany. Lisa, a certified public accountant, is a partner in PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers),

Despite their high-powered day-to-day activities and responsibilities in the financial world, the couple still finds time to be active in a variety of charitable causes, most recently co-chairing the child care agency Leake & Watts’ annual Awards Gala, held this past October at The Pierre in Manhattan. The Awards Gala is the nonprofit’s largest fundraiser of the year.

UPSTATE ROOTS

The Preddices both hail from upstate
New York and share similar family backgrounds and values.

“I was born in Schenectady and went to college at SUNY Oneonta, graduating in 1990,” Nick says. “I got into the financial services industry right away, worked in Albany for seven years, then in Manhattan.”

Lisa, the youngest of four girls, attended college at SUNY Oswego, studying accounting and graduating in 1988. “I went to work in my field immediately, joining Coopers & Lybrand, now PwC, soon after graduating and later became a partner.”

Lisa says the couple met in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1996 at a local nightspot, The Parting Glass. “Both of us were out that night with mutual friends and struck up a conversation. We hit it off immediately, got engaged and married in September of 1997.”

Both Nick and Lisa found their paths to success early on. Lisa was dedicated to her work with nonprofit clients at PwC, while Nick, after serving as managing director at MONY in Manhattan, decided to use his experience to build a financial-services business with the goal of making a difference in the lives of its clients, the people the firm works with and the larger community.

He founded The Affinity Group LLC in 2002 with like-minded partner Gary Sancilio, another industry veteran who was focused on developing strong client relationships.

FOCUS ON PEOPLE

“Our clients have already succeeded at making money and are now looking at what’s next in their lives,” Nick says. “We give them our best guidance and work with their bankers, attorneys, business associates and all others who touch their lives. We are geared to people, not products. We have found that this relationship-building approach works very well both for our clients and the larger community. We have met a lot of great people this way.”

Both Nick and Lisa have always shared an awareness of the needs of the community, dedicating themselves to many nonprofit causes. They agreed that this is an element of their outlook on life that serves as a strong bond in their marriage and family life with their two sons, Jonathan, 16, and William, 12.

“At PwC, I have always served mission-based organizations, including foundations, museums, colleges and universities and health care organizations,” Lisa says. “As a CPA, I serve as an auditor and certify their financial statements. I take pride and satisfaction in serving a variety of nonprofit organizations. Organizations are made up of people and my work for them at PwC helps them do better at what they want to accomplish.”

Nick says working on behalf of charitable and community-based organizations is important to both of them, both inside and outside the office.

“For example, helping Leake & Watts raise money for their programs is a way of sharing the wealth,” Nick says. “The event we chaired last October brought in more than $500,000. Leake & Watts is committed to addressing a variety of challenges that confront individuals and families dealing with poverty, disabilities and a lack of access to education and basic services.”

The organization began caring for orphaned children in the 1830s and today affects the lives of more than 11,000 children, adults and families in the greater New York metropolitan area.

Nick is also an executive cabinet member of the Wildwood Foundation Inc., which serves autistic children, and is an adviser to the Youth Bureau, both in Schenectady. He donates time and money to the support of more than a dozen additional nonprofit organizations. In 2006, the Albany Business Review named Nick in its “Forty Under Forty,” a list of 40 young movers and shakers in business in the area.

“Managing the day-to-day operations of The Affinity Group is fulfilling to me, but it is equally important to reach out to others,” Nick says. “This is a priority for both of us. I think our parents instilled this in us and I hope we are able to instill the same values in our children.”

Lisa agrees. “I feel very fortunate in the experience I have had at PwC, Having the ability to give back, both on the job and outside, is very important. We have both worked hard and now it’s time.”

A cancer survivor, Lisa has been involved in the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” fundraiser since its inception. “This annual event means a lot to me, and I am happy that it has grown into such a success,” she says.

Lisa also balances her commute to Manhattan with other community and school events, especially their two sons’ strong focus on baseball, which keeps the couple hopping once spring arrives.

The Preddices agree that their relationship is a true partnership. “We share our careers in finance, but we also share the same larger values,” Nick said. “It’s a balance, but we believe we have succeeded.”

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