Ellie Bullitt (She/Hers)
Vice President, Regional Account Executive, Fidelity Investments
Prior to joining WIPN, how difficult or easy was it to find networking and/or mentoring opportunities in the retirement industry? Prior to joining WIPN I did not find it particularly easy to find networking or mentoring opportunities in the retirement industry. In particular, I’m looking forward to utilizing WIPN to expand my network to those outside of my direct work-related circle (i.e. the clients I speak to every day). There are so many wonderful people in our community – I’d love to connect and learn more!
How do you see WIPN affecting positive change in your career or industry? I see WIPN as a group of like-minded people that can team up to foster a greater sense of community in our industry and, ultimately, help mold the retirement industry into a better place.
I love the retirement plan industry because … it is a highly consultative industry that puts the common goal of preparing investors for retirement above all else. There is a real sense of community as we rally behind this shared goal in our industry. I find this genuine desire for partnership and teamwork extremely unique to our industry.
How important is it for you to be a role model for the upcoming generations of women in the retirement industry? Being a role model for upcoming generations of women (and all gender identities) in the retirement industry is something I take very seriously. I believe our industry has a strong sense of purpose – solving the retirement crisis in the U.S. I want to encourage all future generations to be “customer-obsessed” and always come up with creative, ethical solutions for investors. Moreover, I believe that our industry is a wonderful place to cultivate a lifelong career. I want to do my part to demonstrate this for future generations.
My favorite quote is sort of my 2021 mantra …“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives,” by Michelle Obama. This year especially, I want to focus less on the “noise” of our everchanging world and focus more on what I can control. I want to focus on being a positive, helping force for those around me.
Executive Director, Retirement National Accounts, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
What has been your most rewarding accomplishment in your career? Staying with the same company for over 21 years but still keeping my “think like an owner” perspective. Both my parents owned businesses, and that entrepreneurial work ethic ingrained in me when I was young still continues even though most of my career has been in a large corporation.
My favorite quote is “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people never forget how you made them feel,” by Maya Angelou. I love this quote because I’ve always found Ms. Angelou’s writing engaging, uplifting, and enlightening. And secondly, because whenever my inner perfectionist rears her type-A head and I find myself stuck re-editing something for the umpteenth time, that quote helps bring me back to what’s important to focus on – getting my message across in a way that engages my listener in a personal way.
Tell us about a WIPN-inspired success story that influenced your personal or professional career. So many come to mind, as I’ve been attending WIPN events for nearly a decade! WIPN participation and events are always a great opportunity to establish new relationships and deepen existing ones with talented women in the industry. At one event a deep conversation was sparked among myself and two other women, and I sought advice on a challenge I was having with self-promotion (historically not my strong suit), and they gave me great suggestions, several of which I implemented and it helped a great deal. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day but prioritizing yourself is also critical to being successful.
My first job in the retirement industry was… around 2006 my firm decided to create a DCIO team, I was one of 3 people assigned to the group, and JPM had just launched its first suite of target-date funds. As our DCIO team evolved over time, my role in DC national accounts has evolved as well. Now our team includes over 50 field, internal, and national accounts client advisors focused on advisor-driven retirement plan sales and service, plus teams working with institutional consultants and our largest plan sponsors. My current job involves… cultivating and advancing our relationships with key partners in the DC industry – recordkeepers, retirement specialist groups at broker/dealers, fiduciary providers, TPAs – to promote JPMorgan investment strategies and deliver retirement insights.
Other women should join WIPN because … of the quality of its membership! Participating in the regional and national networking events provides me with an opportunity to learn from leading industry professionals, and I always walk away with a new idea and/or a new friend. WIPN events are good for the soul and the career!
Lori Zeman, CIP
Division Vice President, Western Region, Ascensus
How do you see WIPN affecting positive change in your career or industry? Connections that Count isn’t something that this amazing group takes lightly or for granted; it’s the core of why we are so dedicated to this effort in the industry. Through collaboration, shared experiences, learning and evolving, WIPN is unlike any other network I have had the pleasure of being a part of — it’s real, effective and opens opportunities for women. This, in partnership with our male advocates, is nothing short of magic. The impact that continues to be made is changing the industry!
Prior to joining WIPN, how difficult or easy was it to find networking and/or mentoring opportunities in the retirement industry? I found it to be very difficult and inconsistent prior to joining WIPN. I also found that, at times, the content, messages, events, etc. were not always applicable for or geared towards women’s issues in the industry. WIPN has made a concerted effort and offered valuable materials and opportunities for its members. I believe this will only continue to evolve and influence the industry!
How important is it for you to be a role model for the upcoming generations of women in the retirement industry? I believe it is not only important but imperative to the future of the industry. Supporting, educating and advocating for the next generation means that we are meeting the goals and mission of WIPN. We are progressing into an environment that values the next generation and the gifts they have to provide as women and they will be able to continue to transform, advance and make this industry the best it can be.
My favorite quote is … Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m Possible”! – by Audrey Hepburn.