September 2019 Member Spotlight

Mary Jo Innis

President

The Row Group

My current job involves… Lifting others up and using my experience and knowledge in changing people’s lives.  It is so rewarding to get up every day knowing that I am affecting so many lives through my company.  One by hiring and developing other women in a woman owned company and secondly, by encouraging others within our communities to save for their retirement so they can enjoy a healthy life (physically and financially) at the end of their careers.

My first job in the retirement industry was…  Enrolling 401k plans.  I didn’t realize how impactful my story as a single mother would be in my career until I realized I never saved money in a retirement plan because I thought I couldn’t afford it.  No one ever explained to me how simple it could be.  We realized how little I would have had to put in a paycheck to have saved $10,000 over 10 years.  Then, and still today, I go out and tell my story to encourage all ages, it is never too early or too late to start saving.

I first learned about WiPN when… The NAPA 401k Summit came to Nashville in 2016 and I attended their Sunday morning brunch to launch the conference.  I was so impressed with Amy Glenn and the panel of women leaders that morning that I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I wanted to be a part of such a dynamic, brilliant, beautiful, embracing, group of women.

I love the retirement industry because…  I have the opportunity to Change People’s Lives every day.  Whether I am talking with a Business Owner, Human Resource Director, or a Plan Participant, this career and industry have been very rewarding for me.  The joy I receive does not make it feel like work.

WiPN has had a positive impact on my career because… I am meeting so many more dynamic, bright women that I would have never met in my community and especially throughout the United States.  It is a group of women in leadership that embrace other women to lift them up to a higher level.

Other women should join WiPN because… I have seen how the Making Connections That Count really occur throughout our organization.  There are so many women across the USA that I would not have met if it had not been for WiPN.  Take a chance and attend a chapter or national event!  You won’t regret it.

I wish I’d known years ago that…. It was ok to be myself.  Our story is ours to be embraced.  So many times, especially in our twenties, we feel like our lives, our stories, have to be perfect.  What I find that I know now is that the things I thought were imperfections of me that were actually the best thing(s) to make me unique!  Embrace your story!

I’d love people to ask me about… My faith, my marriage, my family – and of course, my business!

When I’m not working I am…. Riding roller coasters! My husband and I are both Season Passholders at Disney, Sea World, Six Flags and Dollywood.  However, I don’t leave out Cedar Pointe, or either of the King’s Islands amusement parks that are a must.  There are still a number of other roller coasters that are waiting on my bucket list.  And yes, I’m over 50!

One thing every women should do at least once in their life is… Embrace and love on a child to make them feel special and loved.  It is the best relationship!

Mary Jo Innis

Valerie Miller

Regional Director

Vanguard

My first job in the retirement industry was…. Valuing company stock funds within 401(k) plans.  I started in a very specific corner of the retirement industry, but I was hooked from the beginning.  I learned early on about the values of diversified investments (I started my career just before the Enron scandal took place).  I didn’t really think about a career in the retirement industry during college, and like many others, I sort of just landed in a job and organization that focused on saving for retirement.

I love the retirement industry because… I feel like I’m really making a difference in workers’ lives. There are too many people in our country who still don’t understand the benefits of saving early, and saving as much as you can, so that they won’t have to worry about running out of money.

WiPN has had a positive impact on my career because… I have met countless other women in all parts of our industry that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.  It’s great to see the growing number of women in the retirement industry. WiPN is a group of creative, hard working women who are great reminders of why I love this industry and why I love what I do every day.

I’d love people to ask me about… My breast cancer advocacy.  I am a 12-year survivor, having been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28.  Most women don’t know that you can get breast cancer at such a young age, and I have remained active with various breast cancer agencies in my region to help get the word out.  I strive to make sure no young woman feels alone when going through treatment.

When I’m not working, I am… Checking out all the great restaurants in my neighborhood in Philadelphia, taking my cavapoo pup to the dog park, or trying out a new brewery with my husband.

One thing every woman should do at least once in their life is… Get up on a stage in front of a crowd, whether it’s entertainment-related, work related, or volunteer-related, there’s a rush you get when you look out and see all those people watching you.  As a woman who used to have a crippling fear of public speaking, I can say that the best way to overcome a fear is to face it head-on.  It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Even if it’s not a fear, it’s a great experience to speak in front of a crowd, big or small.

Valerie Miller