Have you faced professional hurdles because you’re a woman?
I would have to say no. I never felt like any of the challenges that I faced were because of my gender. As you continue to work in the business and move into different positions, you face challenges, but I always felt those were business challenges that anybody in that position would have faced regardless of gender. I also never felt like I didn’t have an opportunity because of my gender.
Why are there so few women heading local financial institutions?
You see more and more women coming up into the executive ranks in financial services, but it’s been a relatively new field that’s been open and attractive to women within the last 10 or 15 years. Clearly, Wilshire has always had a very progressive view relative to who’s the best candidate for the role irrespective of gender. Two of the four division heads are women.
What are your responsibilities?
I oversee the funds management business, which includes offering investment advisory services, retirement services and hedge fund-managed account services to financial intermediaries.
What made you want to work in this industry?
I would love to say I knew that I was headed this direction, but I would say I fell into it. I started really with what used to be AIG Valic on the retirement side of the business and worked there for a total of 12 years. Spent time at Hewitt Associates, working in their outsourcing business.
Any advice for women going into this industry?
There’s tremendous opportunity within the financial industry and there are multiple avenues you can take, whether it’s institutional, retail, retirement. It’s in my opinion one of the best industries you can be in if you have a desire to combine math or financial skills with people skills.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
Probably the best advice I’ve been given was by an executive coach that I had when I was at AIG. Her advice was when you’re working for others, you learn as much from the mistakes – both theirs and yours – as you do from the successes.
If I hadn’t gone into finance …
That’s easy, I’d teach. My dad’s a teacher, retired, taught math. If I weren’t in financial services, I would love to teach.
What is your ultimate career goal?
My career goal was to run a business, and I’ve had the opportunity to do that at Hartford when I ran their retirement plan business and here running the funds management business. So I would say my career goal at this point having achieved that one, is to grow a business.
What do you do for fun?
I love to play golf. I like to run. And spend time with family.
JAMIE OHL, 46
Wilshire Funds Management, Santa Monica
RESIDENCE: Playa del Rey
EDUCATION: B.B.M., LeTourneau University; M.B.A., University of Nebraska
YEARS IN INDUSTRY: 22
YEARS IN POSITION: 1
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