people / Joel Van Essen, CFA

Joel Van Essen, CFA

Director, Private Investments


“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”

– Neale Donald Walsch

About Joel

Growing up in Santa Fe, I can attest to its “City Different” title. My friends and peers were of different races, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds. Differences fueled my curiosity. High school and collegiate athletics pushed my determination. Early in my finance career, I hit the pause button. I flew to Spain and hiked the 500-mile Camino de Santiago. Some questioned my decision, but I couldn’t fight my curiosity and determination to accomplish this lifelong goal. I’ll always remember the diverse people I met along the journey. In my life and career, I committed to only surround myself with people I care about and who inspire me. I’m proud to have returned to New Mexico, the state that taught me to think differently. Freedom and responsibility are the cultural tenets that link us at City Different Investments.


Professional Roles: Sun Mountain Capital, Personal Capital, Fidelity Investments
Education: MBA, Duke University - Fuqua School of Business
BS, International Business and Marketing, Trinity University
Certification: Chartered Financial Analyst