Spotlight on AIM Alumni

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DeDe Wilson posted a picture meeting up with John Blanton, Latrice Hughes and Teresa Hollins. Their friendships blossomed over the tenure at AIM. "We kept in touch on Facebook, we all are foodies so we just decided to try new and different restaurants together. Good friends and good food is always a great combination," said DeDe.

"I have been on one amazing ride with Invesco," said Dede. "I started as a temp at the tender age of 24, brand new mom of a 4 week old. Invesco, allowed me so many opportunities, that allowed me to accomplish so many personal goals." 

Invesco allowed me so many opportunities

DeDe Wilson

So much has changed though and it is so different now. It was so much fun back in the 90’s, but I love what I do and we work from home. So who doesn’t love that. We were working from home way before the pandemic hit. Since the pandemic, I do miss seeing my co-workers."
DeDe shared that she is turning 50 on May 16th and will be getting married on May 30.

Have you connected with a former AIM colleague recently? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. your picture with us for the next newsletter.

I will be getting married at the end of May

DeDe Wilson




Bonnie Donovan passed away following a lengthy illness on April 30, 2020. 

Bonnie worked with Mary Kay Coleman from 1994-2005, where her final position was Manager, Shareholder Relations. 

Mary Kay Coleman remembers the contributions Bonnie made to her team and the firm. "It has been said that when hiring people look for three things: integrity, intelligence, and initiative" said Mary Kay. "These qualities define Bonnie as a person and an employee. Bonnie always saw what needed to be done and got it done. She never missed a deadline. She was a superior writer and editor and an inspirational leader and supervisor. She had a quick wit and breezed through the office with a lively step and kind word for everyone she encountered along the way."

Brian Wirwicz was hired by Bonnie in 2000, and saw her and husband Gerry for lunch several months ago. "Bonnie was taking a chance on an experienced writer with no background in the financial industry when she hired me in consultation with Mary Kay Coleman," said Brian. "Bonnie’s mentorship skills, collegial leadership, insistence on excellence and good humor – especially under pressure – created an atmosphere of camaraderie and loyalty among her staff. She was an amazing woman I’m privileged to have met, worked for and learned from. I’ll remember her, and miss her, forever."

In addition to her full-time career in writing, publishing, and editing, Bonnie was married for over 50 years and has two daughters and four grandchildren.

Bonnie worked on publications for various employers, including St. Joseph Hospital and the American Productivity & Quality Center. She completed her career as an Assistant Vice President at AIM Management Company (now Invesco), where she was much admired by her associates as one of the best bosses ever.

Read the obituary.

Mike Rome loves to make things happen. As a former college football and baseball player, he knows about calling plays and the value of getting on base or carrying the ball, even if you don’t get a touchdown or a run. From looking to make a better life for their clients through wealth management, to the boards he sits on, along with his family and faith, Mike wants to make a positive difference. He feels so lucky to have had numerous mentors take time to help him get better at whatever he was doing along the way.

The culture at AIM was that we were given the latitude to make mistakes which in turn helped us get things done- Mike Rome

Mike joined Chilton Capital Management in 2016.The first very positive thing he noticed about the firm was how impressive the intellectual capital was of Chilton’s people. As CEO, he strives to provide a calming influence and a can do attitude. His role has evolved more recently into a business development orientation and he supports each teammate to lead and move the company forward.

“Being a difference maker is throwing things out there and seeing what sticks. If it sticks, it makes it easier to put things together and then good things happen,” believes Mike. “Making mistakes is part of the path to growth. The culture at AIM was that we were given the latitude to make mistakes which in turn helped us get things done because we weren’t afraid of any backlash. Those mistakes helped us get better which in turn created really good people. I work on the principle that all of us are going to make mistakes. I encourage everyone to try. Don’t hold back. Our philosophy is that we won’t judge you for making a mistake. We are going to work with you to recognize your effort and we will sit down and go at it again and again. By doing that you grow and learn so much,” said Mike. 

Being a difference maker is throwing things out there and seeing what sticks.   - Mike Rome

“They (AIM leadership) did a fantastic job building the culture from Day One,” said Mike. “It was so impressive to see that happen. It is not easy to do, and, they did it across all age groups. AIM grew so quickly, and they were able to maintain that culture of caring for each other. People thought of themselves as the AIM family. And it still carryovers today.”

Mike is passionate about his marriage of 39 years, children, friends, and career. He was committed to sharing his story of persevering through adversity and wrote a book, Mastering Your Pain: 18 Strategies to Perform Effectively Despite Your Physical Pain. The book offers practical strategies for performing well despite your physical pain such as
• Identify the strength that your weakness enables.
• Do things that produce joy.
• Educate your loved ones about what you're going through. 

I have been blessed by the fraternity of people with whom I worked- Mike Rome

Throughout his career, Mike has been blessed by the fraternity of people with whom he has worked. “It is so healthy and wonderful to get back in touch with the people you know, trusted and worked with,” shares Mike. “It is fun to be doing most of my current work in Houston, helping people I know. I really enjoy it.”

Donna Anderson

Barron's named AIM alumnus Donna Anderson, Head of Corporate Governance, T. Rowe Price, as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance.

The 100 women on the list were chosen based on their accomplishments and leadership within their organization, influence within their sector, and the capacity to shape their business or the industry in the future. Donna explains that in her role, “We have over a trillion dollars in assets under management, and we are often a top five shareholder. Through our voting and our dialog we can influence corporate behaviour.” Barron’s decision to recognize and honor influential women in finance comes at a time when business institutions themselves have begun to realize that their long-term competitiveness, and the health of the capital markets, require remediating the industry’s gender gap.

Polly was inclusive, supportive and she let me design my own role. - Donna Anderson

Donna joined AIM in 1998. “Polly Ahrendts had the greatest impact on my career at that stage,” said Donna. “She was director of research and I reported to her for half of my time at the firm. She was inclusive, supportive and she let me design my own role. I designed my corporate governance role for proxy voting, running the proxy committee for the AIM/INVESCO funds group.”

"I am honored to have played a small role in jump starting Donna’s career, and I am so proud of her accomplishments," shared Polly. "When Gary Crum told me about Donna, I interviewed her and not only recognized her smarts, but perhaps more importantly her resilience, grit and initiative. I followed Ted Bauer’s creed: Always hire people smarter than yourself, set the framework, and turn them loose with support and resources. That’s what he and Gary and Bob did for me when they hired me to set up the money market credit research at AIM in 1984. The ripple effects are amazing."

When Polly retired, Donna assumed her role. After the financial crisis corporate governance issues were more front and center. T. Rowe Price created a full-time position and recruited Donna in 2007. 

AIM had quite a bit of female leadership which was unusual at that time- Donna Anderson

Prior to joining AIM, Donna had a variety of interesting jobs including working at a newspaper, at the State Department and then before joining AIM, she went to business school. In addition to interesting jobs, she had the unique experience of reporting to women. “My current role is the first time I’ve reported to a man in my whole career, apart from a couple of short interim periods,” said Donna.

There is no greater reward than for me to see Donna take the baton and do so much more to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. - Polly Ahrendts

Companies with one diverse board member saw a 44% increase in their share price, on average, within a year of going public, according to Goldman research, while those with no board diversity had only a 13% increase. Board diversity is part of Donna’s wheelhouse. “While diversity is growing slowly, absolutely non diverse boards are shrinking fast,” shares Donna. “When we started our policy to vote against non diverse boards in 2017 there were 300 companies in our portfolios lacking diversity and now there are fewer than 80."

Learning of Barron's inaugural list of Top Women in U.S. Finance, Polly was thrilled. "These are issues that are close to my heart, and Dona is a woman that I care about and respect," said Polly. "There is no greater reward than for me to see Donna take the baton and do so much more to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace and at the highest levels in finance and commerce."

Led by Donna, T. Rowe Price is also taking a vocal stance on dual class shares; a controlling shareholder with two classes of stock, like Facebook for example. “We engage with companies and advocate for a time limit on those kinds of structures,” said Donna.

With responsibility for global coverage and covering the entire portfolio, Donna finds there is always something going on.

Says Alison Mass, one of Barron's honorees, who chairs Goldman’s investment-banking division: “This is a business imperative, not diversity for diversity’s sake....This isn’t just about women. It’s about diversity of thought, of background, of ethnicity, of gender....We’re at a moment where people recognize the business imperative of diverse thinking.”

What a celebration to have one of our own recognized on Barron's list.

Thank you to Donna for making time for this interview and sharing pictures from a hike with Polly and a shower where Donna is pictured wearing a hilarious hat.

John Lively says that while it sounds like a commercial, his time at AIM can be best described this way: “There is no question, the people ARE the product. The quality of people at the firm, and the kindness I felt when I was there was exceptional. AIM was a decent sized company, but it still felt like a close-knit family. To this day, I take incredible pride having worked at AIM and often reflect on my time there.”

I take great pride having worked at AIM. - John Lively

John moved to Kansas City to be close to his wife’s family and after three years, John made the decision to strike out on his own. “I wanted more time with my family,” said John. “I needed more control over my lifestyle. I was doing the math and adding up the time I spent commuting back and forth to my office. I was losing weeks of my life in the car alone. I realized my time could be put towards better things.”

His current venture, Practus, LLP is a law firm that is designed to push control back to the attorneys. By leveraging mobile technology, cloud-based solutions, and an agile infrastructure, attorneys are free to work anywhere in the world where they can access Wi-Fi. As a result, the attorneys work efficiently and are more responsive to their client's needs, with more time left to do the things they love. “We believe fundamentally that there are a lot of things about the traditional law firm model that are broken – that are not exactly firm and partner friendly. The name Practus is derived from the words 'practice' of law and 'us'. It is our clients and the law firm coming together in a partnership that benefits everyone,” says Lively.

The name Practus is derived from the words 'practice' of law and 'us'. It is our clients and the law firm coming together in a partnership that benefits everyone  - John Lively

The company distinguishes itself as being an innovative law firm that is disrupting the outdated ways of practicing law. “In many law firms, you are only as good as your last billable hour. We believe there is a lot more to the practice of law than that. We encourage our lawyers who know their clients better than anyone, better than any management group at the head of the law firm, to work out fee arrangements that work best for their clients. Some clients are ok with the traditional fee structure, but others prefer economic arrangements that work with their specific model. Giving our attorneys the control to set it up how it works best for them has been a game changer for everyone involved.”

Practus, LLP is a law firm that is designed to push control back to the attorney.- John Lively

John practices law in the asset management arena and has built a top asset management practice. As Practus expands and evolves John expects to spend more time focusing on growing the firm, but he also wants to continue practicing. Investment management law is intellectually stimulating for John, as is his vision for growing Practus. John starts his day at the kitchen table so he can see his children depart for school, and throughout the week he might catch his daughter’s tennis match or watch his son play lacrosse. With their eldest graduating from Vanderbilt in May, John and his wife Tracey are balancing work and life and putting his model to work for their family.

John was featured on Nasdaq’s TradeTalks in November 2019. See the interview here.
Trade Talks Nov 2019