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Alison Borland

Hewitt Associates Inc.

Alison Borland

Retirement Outsourcing Strategy Leader

Hewitt Associates Inc.

Nashville, Tenn.

Age: 35


During Alison Borland’s eight-year tenure at Hewitt Associates Inc., she has helped large organizations navigate the challenges and risks associated with retirement income and postretirement welfare programs, with a focus on defined benefit and defined contribution strategy and design. She leads the strategy for the retirement outsourcing business for Hewitt. Previously, Ms. Borland co-founded and led Hewitt’s U.S. Defined Contribution Consulting practice. She has played a significant role in leading Hewitt’s efforts to study employee diversity and its impact on retirement saving and investing behaviors. She is spearheading a study with Ariel Investments L.L.C., sponsored by a grant by the Rockefeller Foundation, to study the savings behaviors of minorities. Ms. Borland is a member of Hewitt’s Women in Leadership group, which promotes women’s professional contributions while creating an environment that allows them to achieve their full potential as leaders.



HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE INDUSTRY: "I started taking actuarial exams when I was in college. I was a math major. I had been pre-med. I decided to go a different way. I wasn’t sure what to do. My adviser suggested I started taking actuarial exams, so I did. While I was still in school, I started working part time for a retirement consulting firm and I…went from there."



THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED: "Nobody is going to give you want you want unless you ask for it. You can’t expect others to know what you want or know what you’re asking for unless you tell them directly. It doesn’t sound very profound, but it leads to much less disappointment and much quicker results. Another piece of advice someone gave me was it’s just as important to identify what you’re not going to do as it is what you are going to do. Always keep your business and outside priorities straight. You’ll always be more successful if you have your priorities in line. In other words, family always comes first."



ADVICE FOR THOSE STARTING IN THE INDUSTRY: "Be extremely flexible. Look for creative new challenges. One of the characteristics of my career that I appreciate the most is that while I have only worked for two companies—so I haven’t moved companies a lot—I’ve certainly moved roles a great deal. Seize opportunities even if they are outside your comfort zone, even if they’re risky, even if they’re unlike anything you’ve ever done before. There is tremendous experience building in that."



WHAT YOU WANTED TO BE PROFESSIONALLY WHILE GROWING UP: "I wanted to be neurosurgeon and marine biologist. I was going to be one or the other. (I wanted to be a) neurosurgeon because I was always fascinated with how the brain works and how the neurological system works and being able to better understand it and help actually repair it. Marine biology came from a passion for marine life, but I basically just wanted to be scuba diving for a job. I decided that could be more of a hobby than a profession, especially when I learned marine biologists actually don’t just scuba dive all the time for their job."


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