2009 Women to Watch: Jamie OhlPosted On: Dec. 6, 2009 12:00 AM CST
Senior Vp and Director, Retirement Plans Group
Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.
Jamie Ohl joined the Retirement Plans Group of Hartford Life Inc., a subsidiary of The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., in 2006. In this role, Ms. Ohl is responsible for Hartford's 401(k), 457, 403(b) and defined benefit plan product development and sales strategies. In late 2007, Ms. Ohl spearheaded Hartford's acquisition and integration of several major retirement plan administrators and recordkeepers, including Sun Life Retirement Services Inc., an acquisition that added $17 billion in retirement plan assets across 6,000 plans and 465,000 participants to Hartford Life's book of business. Bolstered by those acquisitions, Hartford's RPG unit now provides services to more than 30,000 retirement plan sponsors and 1.6 million plan participants. RPG, as of Dec. 31, 2008, had $37 billion in assets under management.
Your professional role model: While there have been several over the years, I would single out Bob Condon, a former president and CEO of VALIC (Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co.). He taught me how to take risk. He taught me how to quickly evaluate and be willing to take risk because real growth doesn't come if you don't take those risks. I learned to get comfortable enough in my own skin to make those evaluations.
Best professional advice you've received: The best professional advice I received was from an executive management coach when I was at VALIC. The advice she gave me was don't be afraid to very clearly articulate what you want and then go after it.
Advice to women entering the field: I met a young lady a little over a year ago who was in that very position. And I just recently met her again. The advice I gave her was similar to what I was given when I was coming up in my career. Look at everything you have done. Have any of the positions you have been in excited you? And work to the best of your ability. Don't be afraid to put down on paper and articulate verbally to the people you work with and to the management team what you want do and where you want to be in five years.
What did you want to be professionally while growing up: To be honest, I thought I was going to be a farmer. My mom and dad ran a farm and a ranch in Wyoming, and I thought I would take over the family farm. But in high school, getting up at 4 a.m. to change the water and feed the animals didn't seem so glamorous. But I always loved numbers and the financials, and that became clearer to me in college. I also wanted to see things beyond Wyoming, to see more of the world and of this country. That was to both my parents' dismay and absolute pride because they supported me 100%.
Your professional goal: I certainly have achieved my goal to run a business, and my goal for the future is to make Hartford one of the premier retirement businesses in the industry.
The best book you've read recently: The one I enjoyed the most was the "World is Flat" by Tom Friedman. While I didn't agree with everything in the book, it certainly gave me someone else's perspective of the world, particularly beyond the United States, where all my experience has been based.
Phone or e-mail and why: My preference is in person. I see e-mail as a last resort. You rarely get the personal interaction through e-mail that you get by phone or in person. It is very hard to read passion, excitement or personal interest through e-mail. I use e-mail but prefer in person and by phone.