Spotlight on AIM Alumni

Tamla Groce - Copy

After receiving a call into ministry, Tamla Wilson Groce was licensed in 2007. “In addition to being called to ministry, I felt strongly that God was calling me to attend seminary. At the time, I was head of business development for an institutional money management firm and my travel schedule was crazy. This presented a complication not only to attending seminary but I married in 2007 as well and my husband and I wanted to have a baby. Though I knew it would be a challenge I moved forward with both. Two years later, school was going well but our quest for a baby was not,” shares Tamla.

Tamla sometimes found working in finance like living on another planet. “The majority of people that you speak with have no idea about the intricacies of the industry. Walking away to focus on ministry was bitter sweet. I experienced financial benefits that are not normally experienced when one is in ministry and, as a sales and marketing person, I loved the relationships I established. Yet the peace of mind that I have and the joy of actually working in my calling are priceless. As a result, I feel compelled to encourage others to pursue their passion and move from passion to purpose,” said Tamla.

Similar to others who worked at AIM, Tamla has a variety of fond memories that include experiencing and being a part of the creativity of marketing the AIM products. “The relationships that I forged while there continue on to this day as well as my appreciation for a good glass of wine. The department dinner and the Fly-ins will always be remembered although they are like Las Vegas - what happens there stays there,” Tamla said.

Tamla is a licensed minister, wife late in life, mother of two against all odds, writer, inspirational speaker, friend and faith walker. Tamla offers a weekly blog via her website and you can follow her on Twitter @RevTamla. “As the mother of two miracle babies, I founded a fertility ministry at my church called The Waiting Room. Finishing up my Masters of Arts in Theology and Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary this summer, I am excited to see where God will use me next,” says Tamla.


doug odellDoug O’Dell joined AIM on February 1, 1988 at the same time as his co-worker at his previous company, Buzz Parker. Forrest Pragoff was the National Sales Manager and Doug’s first territory was the Upper Midwest and part of the Eastern States; over time this became the Mid-Atlantic States based in Philadelphia.

Alongside his career at AIM Doug O'Dell simultaneously pursued a career in the Marine Corps Reserve with the complete support of Ted Bauer, himself a former Naval Reserve officer, Mike Cemo, and Jim Salners.

Doug tells us: “In 2000, after having been appointed to the rank of Brigadier General in June, 1999, I realized that I could not equitably keep both my AIM responsibilities in balance with my Marine Corps assignments, and decided to retire from the firm.

I did so on 10 September 2001”. Sherrie English remembers “Gene Needles got up in a meeting and said we would all be safe because Doug O’Dell was going to be in charge of security.”

Doug was recalled to active duty the very next afternoon following the attacks of 9/11. Sherrie English shares her memory of that day. “Margaret Vinson was giving a presentation and David Barnard walked in and announced what was happening. Pat Heffner covered NJ and was sitting behind me. I heard him say, “My brother-in-law works in that building.” Margaret finished her presentation. I remain floored to this day that she finished. She was so composed and wonderful. We learned later that Pat’s brother-in-law was safe.”

Margaret Vinson also remembers the day well. "I was delivering an e-Business related presentation to the sales force.  At the time, I don't think anyone comprehended exactly what was going on so I was instructed to finish the presentation.  Shortly after my presentation, everyone moved to the hotel foyer where TVs had been placed. We all watched in shock and horror as the magnitude of the events sunk into our hearts and minds", said Margaret.

Sherry recalls that the rest of the meeting was cancelled and everyone was sent home. “The only problem,” said Sherrie “is the entire sales force was in from all over the country and the airports were all shut down, so no one could fly home. People shared rental cars; they carpooled with others and even rented U-Haul trucks. I heard one person bought a used car in order to get home.”

Doug continued in active service as the Commanding General of the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism) from September 2001 until September 2004 and then as Commanding General, 4th Marine Division until his retirement from uniformed service in May 2007. During the latter assignment he also served as Commander, Marine Forces Katrina/Rita during rescue and recovery operations in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Pursuant to this, President Bush appointed Doug as Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding during the final year of his administration.

Since January of 2009, Doug has been involved in a number of activities as a consultant related to disaster relief on the Gulf Coast and Haiti. He is also the Trustee for three Afghan companies: the largest water bottling plant in Central Asia, one of the largest trucking companies in Afghanistan, and a vertical construction company.

Doug owns and operates an historic inn, the Imperial Hotel in Chestertown, Maryland and tries to keep his fat out of the fire in real estate development. He also sits on the board of a for profit company and, formerly his alma mater, the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He now serves on the board of the Apprenticeshops in Maine, the oldest traditional boat building school in the country

“My wife Judy remains very busy. Having completed a five year stint in senior leadership at the Finacial Accounting Standards Board and the Audit Chair at GAO, she now devotes her professional time to business valuations and expert witness work. Our five sons have so far produced (with their wonderful wives) 10 grandchildren and have very successful careers as follows”

Trip, in Montclair, NJ, is a senior designer for, an Amazon subsidiary. He was recently awarded a Gates Foundation Prize for innovation

Al, in Malvern, PA, is the CEO of a large medical practice in Philly, but also consults on aero-space and space flight topics.

Andy, in Lower Gwynedd, PA is the co-founder and CMO of Clutch, an app design firm in Philly. His firm just won a top national award, ‘’The Gotta Have App”

Paul in Flourtown, PA, is a senior sound engineer (and five-time Emmy Award winner) at NFL Films

Tom has hosted his own show on the Food Network. His new restaurant near Twitter headquarters opens this month in San Francisco

Doug and Judy divide their time between their family farm in Laporte, Pennsylvania and Rockport, Maine where they regularly run into Texans who know Mike Cemo.

The couple’s hobbies run the gamut of sports...sailing, golf, and hiking, as well as heavy involvement in the photographic arts community. She is the board chair of Maine Media Workshops, one of the most highly regarded photo and film schools in the world

Doug says: “I still am rabid about the Philadelphia Phillies Eagles and Notre Dame football...I love to watch movies from the Golden Age of film with a Jack Daniels at hand!”

sheila1Sheila Simmons Schubarth shares that she enjoys receiving and reading the AIM Alumni eNewsletters. “I always love reading what everyone is up to. I was at AIM/Invesco for 16 years so there are quite a few familiar faces and people featured. It is a great way to keep up with people” said Sheila.

Sheila Schubarth made a huge career and lifestyle change in August when she decided to leave Invesco – and Houston – for a position as Global Communications Compliance Manager for T. Rowe Price in Baltimore. “One day I saw an opportunity on Ignites. I talked about it with my family and they thought I should go for it. All of my family are in Houston so it was a difficult decision. My family has remained in Houston where my sons are in first, second and third grade while I started my job and learned about the community. I had no idea about where we should live, where good schools are, etc. Thankfully my college roommate lives nearby and the firm has been so welcoming. In fact, the culture at T. Rowe Price reminds me very much of AIM,” shares Sheila.

In addition to her family and career, Sheila is passionate about helping others and was chair of Invesco Cares Houston, where she worked closely with Meggan Walsh. Once again, Sheila found her network valuable as Meggan is from the Baltimore region and has helped to provide insights into the local area and surroundings.

Sheila has made a major career change before. “Before I joined AIM in August 1997, I was a social worker. I reinvented myself and moved into the for profit world, joining the training department of AIM Distributors. I loved that AIM gave me so many opportunities. From there I joined AIM Private Asset Management, an amazing group led by Mark McMeans, and then joined Kamala Sachidanandan, who I worked with in APAM in legal and compliance for the last seven years. I am thankful to have made many lifelong friends at AIM.”

sheila2Like other AIM Alumni who have been interviewed, Sheila loved all the opportunities at AIM for personal and professional growth. She shares that there was a collegial atmosphere. “I knew my work associates through business and as really good friends. It was not an easy decision to move, but it was such a great opportunity and my family was supportive.” As we finished talking about AIM, Sheila shared that she was in the new hire day at T. Rowe Price and the man sitting next to her looked familiar. When they talked to one another, they realized Keith (Blackmon) was in Sheila’s training at AIM 15 years ago.

Sheila looks forward to the continued satisfaction in her new career and community and to her sons joining her when the school year finishes. You can contact Sheila at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Kelly Niland started at AIM in 1992 at the time of the CIGNA acquisition. AIM had about a dozen people in fund accounting, a figure that increased to more than 120 people when he left the department some years later. “There were about 200 people at the company when I started and you knew everyone; by the time I left there were around 2,000 people. What was remarkable was the amazing growth, the people, and all the projects we got to work on. We were creating history”, said Kelly.

One career highlight for Kelly was the reopening of the AIM Aggressive Growth Fund - “I believe we had over a billion dollars come into the fund in one day so the fund went from $500 million to $1.5. Then the market went down so timing was perfect to buy since the fund was cash heavy”.

AIM proved it wasn’t just a place of work; that it was a community was reinforced several times during Kelly’s tenure. Kelly and his wife had twins who were born at a very busy time in 1999; they also had a 16 month old. Having children during the GT Global acquisition was tough and fellow alumnus Dana Sutton came to his house and helped with the twins.

“Another difficult time was when my wife at the time developed breast cancer and so we went through treatment at MD Anderson. Mary Benson came to visit during the surgery and Sidney Dilgren came to me as well when she found out and told me to take as much time as necessary. I believe I took 3 weeks to help my wife recuperate and take care of the kids who at the time were 3 and 5.”

Kelly at the Halloween vault in New Braunfels. He was Billy Idol. He is planning on being Angus Young from AD/DC this year.Kelly enjoys athletics, particularly the pole vault. He quit the sport in high school at 17, with a personal record of 14’6”. He had won district every year and would place 3rd or 4th nationally, but he had an accident and therefore decided to walk away. His daughter, Abi was an optional gymnast for 6 years and “retired” to try pole vaulting.

“We went to New Braunfels for a spring break camp. On the second day I met an 89 year old, Adolph Hoffman. He jumped right in with the kids. I was inspired, and at 50 realized I could still do it. So I’ve started up again and it’s been great. I work out with a bunch of teenagers and I’ve lost 25 pounds. I’ve met a lot of great people. Not only Olympic Champions, but lots of other inspiring people.”

In addition to pole vaulting, Kelly enjoys hunting. He’s had to take a break from hunting while he focuses on raising 3 teenagers. Kelly finds being a single parent challenging, but very rewarding.

Kelly has fond memories of his 13 years at AIM and all the wonderful people. He also thinks the AIM alumni site was a great idea as a way to stay connected.