As a child in Smithtown, Long Island, Jason DeSena Trennert grew up hearing Italian spoken by his mother’s family, which hailed from Naples. Inspired, he studied the language in junior high, high school and later college.
Today Trennert, 42, is founder, managing partner and chief investment strategist at Wall Street boutique firm Strategas Research Partners. Underhis guidance, the firm provides investment strategy and macroeconomic research to institutional investors. He uses his Italian often in representing clients in Milan and Lugano, an Italian-speakingregion in Switzerland.
“I’m never happier than when I’m speaking Italian in Italy to other Italians,” says Trennert, who as an adult has maintained his fluency through private lessons.
Consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top investment strategists by Institutional Investor, Trennert was listed in 2006 as one of Smart Money’s Power 30 list of the most influential people in the world of investing. A member of NIAF’s Executive Business Council, he credits his knowledge of Italian with giving him a leg up in the world of business.
“Obviously it’s a cliché, but the world is getting smaller all the time,” said Trennert, who lives in Manhattan with his wife, Bevin, and their two children. “I think also as Americans, you sometimes lose sight of the fact that it’s a great big world out there. The Italians in particular are so appreciative of anyone who speaks their language and it gives youan enormous advantage in business.”
When in Italy, Trennert — a graduate of George-town University’s School of Foreign Service who later received his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School — has given interviews on CNBC Italy and Bloomberg. He is now working on growing his client base in il bel paese.“
It’s been such an important part of my life,”he said. “It’s such a beautiful culture, such a beautiful language.”
Today, Trennert is passing on his love of the language to his eight-year-old son, Dominic, who attends La Scuola d’Italia, an educational institution in New York City founded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Italians living in the United States. As Trennert also serves on the school’s board, his 18-month-old daughter Marie is likely to follow in her brother’s footsteps.
“Living in Manhattan, my wife and I decided it was important that he maintain some perspective on life,” he explained of his choice in school. “La Scuolais one of the great providers of Italian sensibilities and a more European approach to education.”
Trennert’s advice to students of all ages? Study alanguage that you love. “If you make the effort to speak a language, I think in terms of developing business relationships and friendships it goes a longway,” he said. “...Although it’s important to learn language for practical reasons, it only heightens your enjoyment of a culture."
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