Q&A: Leaving Wall Street for 'conscious' marketing

After the latest high-profile Wall Street departure — Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat announced she was leaving to take a job at Google — ex-Wall Streeter Turney Duff checks in with former Wall Street friends to see what they're up to now, if they have any regrets about leaving and the million-dollar question: Is Wall Street dead?

Max Kabat spent three years on the Street. His last job was as a trader at Scopia Capital. He's now running a team, goodDog, at LeadDog Marketing Group, where they specialize in marketing to the "conscious consumer," that is mindful of others and the environment when making purchasing decisions.

Max Kabat.
Adrienne Grunwald
Max Kabat.

Question: On a scale of 1-10 how hard was it to leave Wall Street?

Answer: 8.It was 2007 when I left and everyone thought I was leaving money on the table.

Q: Why did you leave?

A: I didn't care about the business or money as much as everyone else did; I didn't want it. I believe you have to be passionate about what you do. For me, money doesn't buy happiness, but it took me three years to realize that. I needed to put my efforts behind something that I cared about.

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Q: How's it been since you left the business?

A: I've been able to blend my life's passion and what I do every day. Things don't move as fast. I've learned, over time, how to be more patient as the gratification of your work isn't as instantaneous.

Q: What do you miss about Wall Street?

A: The constant, but exhausting, action. It wasn't for me, but I like to constantly be learning and Wall Street taught me how to think like an opportunist. I apply that thought process to my work current work.

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Q: Is Wall Street dead?

A: The culture might continue to shift and move with the times — i.e. more transparency — but no, it's not dead.

Q: Would you ever go back?

A: Never say never. Purpose is the new buzz word. Funds are popping up focusing exclusively on making change. Corporations are realizing that doing good might actually increase profits. So, yes … Never say never.

Q&A by Turney Duff, a former trader at the hedge fund Galleon Group. Duff chronicled the spectacular rise and fall of his career on Wall Street in the book, "The Buy Side," and is currently working on his second book, a Wall Street novel. He is also featured on the CNBC show, "The Filthy Rich Guide." Follow him on Twitter @turneyduff.