Jason Murray ‘83: Advisor to Author

In 1979, Jason Murray selected Marist College because of their Higher Education Opportunity Program, HEOP, and Business School. He was an active leader on campus as Treasurer of the Black Student Union. During his junior year, he crammed a full course load while working an average of forty hours per week at IBM warehouse. In just four years, Murray went from a teenager in the Bronx to an earned B.S in Business Administration, husband and father to two sons.

During Murray’s senior year, he took an Investment Analysis course which opened his mind to capital markets. “I thought being a financial advisor was going to be my passion,” Murray said. After graduation, he left for Wall Street and started in a back office to gain sales experience. “My career started then, but unfortunately, I also become a widower, I lost my first wife in 1988.”

With the anguish of personal loss, it was a difficult time for Murray to thrive within the high pressure financial advisor world. He transitioned to a new position at Brinx, Inc. Air Courier Service Division and then to Phillip Morris International where he sold cigarettes. Murray said, “That wasn’t really my passion, but it gave me a company car, I was a single parent at the time so it was a means to an end.”

Given that he was unenthused in the cigarette industry, Murray switched to Pharmaceutical sales and in 2006 was recruited as a Financial Advisor by the Investment Management Company, Merrill Lynch. “Unfortunately, in 2008 when the global crisis hit, I was let go from Merrill because my book of business was not big enough. I felt like I lost my dream job, so I had to reinvent myself,” Murray said. To achieve this, Murray created his own health and wellness business, but since this struggled to be profitable, he instead used his health insurance license to promote Medicare plans to senior citizens. Ultimately, in 2010 he resumed his financial service career with Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc.

As for Murray’s personal regard, in 1994, he remarried, which transformed his tight family of three into a joyful family of eight. “Yeah, I got a Brady Bunch. We currently have six grown children and nine grandchildren,” Murray said. This unit strengthened his belief in positive bonds within the home and motivated him to author a book about family, a dream he considered for many years prior. Murray said, “Growing up without a dad, I always wanted to be the best father I could be.”

Murray and Rhonda at Marist Graduations, Photo Courtesy: Jason Murray

Murray and Rhonda at Marist Graduations, Photo Courtesy: Jason Murray

When Murray brought his book outline to a publishing firm, he was presented with an alternative plan. They informed him that personal stories only obtain large audiences when they involve a high-profile individual, such as a celebrity or athlete. Murray was neither, rather, just a risk-taker figure from New York City, so he and the organization decided to turn the book into an educational resource, instead of an autobiography.

Murray said, “The book is focused on the importance of fatherhood.” He also emphasizes the togetherness between fathers and entrepreneurship. “I believe having a sustainable income will keep fathers in the household and thus, strengthen our community.”

His mission is to foster well-balanced relationships between parental role models and children. These values are supported by his marketing, sales and leadership practices. Murray said, “If children see harmonious relationships, their self-esteems will increase, which gives them a better understanding of who they are.” Murray devoted three months of his free time to complete this seven-chapter book, which is set to release June 12, 2019.

“My purpose for the book is legacy,” said Murray. The title is Faith + Purpose = Legacy, a name rooted within his familial background. “My first born is Imani, which means faith and his daughter is Nia, which represents purpose and I got my business and money management skills from my mom, who taught us legacy, how to be fiscally responsible, which I passed down to all my children.” Murray hopes individuals view his book as a guide for their own prosperous journey, whether that be for business or intimate purposes. He wants others to benefit as leaders within their community.

The trait which makes Murray’s book so unique is his kin connection to the story. Despite his experience with an absent father, a late partner and a competitive professional field, Murray managed to slash through adversity. He said, “There are millions of fathers out here. But the main thing is my wife [Tanya] and I, we are working on our second generation, we are still young and healthy and can enjoy them and not many people can say that.”

Murray also wishes for his publication to honor his first wife, Rhonda Fishburne Murray, who was also an HEOP Marist student, but sadly, never graduated due to her diagnosis with cancer. Her spirit, said Murray, “lives on through our children and my blended family.”

Murray and Tanya, Photo courtesy: Jason Murray

Murray and Tanya, Photo courtesy: Jason Murray

As for today, Murray is delighted with his work as an Investment Advisor Representative. Murray said, “I have the ability to give back to so many people by helping them make good financial decisions. The work that I do is so impactful that I don’t really consider it work, however, it is not easy.” Since clients don’t accept or implement recommendations, his career becomes a challenge. “Some people choose to overspend, rather than sacrifice today, to live better for tomorrow. Instead of focusing on what they necessarily need, they focus on what they want,” Murray said. Regardless of these laborious circumstances, Murray endures and aims to pass down the business to his family. His next aspiration is real-estate investment to provide both financial sustenance and spaces of leisure for those closest to him.

For Murray, Marist was absolutely the place for him. He focused on his studies and began his own legacy as a father and business inspiration. Now, he is driving others to determine their destiny. This summer, his book will be sold through his website and will confidently make its way to other well-known e-commerce marketplaces, such as Amazon.