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Solidarity not Charity
Whether in Cambodia, Botswana or Afghanistan, Polly Ahrendts has found that women are able to create opportunities that make sense in their respective communities, helping hundreds of thousands of people to live better lives.
Twelve years ago, shares Polly in her TEDxABQ Talk (when you click the link, Polly's talk is ten minutes long and is at 3H21M time stamp so three hours 21 minutes into the video), I was engaged in my own personal struggle. “My personal tool kit was not working for me anymore. I left the investment world, moved to New Mexico and as I looked for ways to connect and give back, I stumbled upon a path toward transformation.”
Everything just clicked and the whole world opened up.
Through her involvement with the International Folk Art Market in Sante Fe, New Mexico and the power of film (password: handmade), Polly discovered that access to marketplaces provided a gateway to a better life for women artists. When conscious consumers purchase authentic handmade art directly from the artisans it can be life-changing for everyone involved.
“Everything just clicked and the whole world opened up. This began for me when I began to appreciate the art and humanity of the handmade,” shares Polly. In the video from the TedxABQ Talk, Polly stands on stage wearing the silk scarf a Cambodian weaved and a tunic made by women living in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Hope and Freedom
By moving forward, Polly explains, there is hope. Financial independence means freedom for these women and their families.
Against the Odds
Through Polly’s journey of discovery, she learned that these artists and entrepreneurs are the second largest employer in the developing world. At festivals like the one in Sante Fe, these women earn in a weekend what would normally require five to ten years. “This,” said Polly, “is what access can do. Given the means, these women work against all the odds to better themselves.”
Greg Prokott, a wholesaler whose final position at AIM was regional vice president, is proud to have been at AIM/Invesco for one week shy of 17 years.
Living and working in Blaine, Minnesota, Greg left Invesco March 6 2015 and joined Mainstay Investments/New York Life. “I was very proud of my longevity at the firm,” shares Greg, “but then I was offered a role that intrigued me, and I decided to follow this new opportunity”.
Greg describes the skill set of a wholesaler as being a combination of being very relationship oriented and also numbers oriented. “It is a hybrid of skills. Building relationships sounds cliché, but it will always be about the relationships,” believes Greg.
A wholesaler has to document that he/she is providing value for the advisor by providing superior products. At AIM, Greg found that was definitely the case. AIM was about quality people and quality products.
AIM got us in the game with superior fund management and when things worked out I was able to close the deals by building solid relationships, says Greg.
As a wholesaler, Greg was located away from headquarters, which he says was fun. He had the strength of a large corporation behind him, but was one of only three employees in Minnesota. Greg found he benefitted from the great resources behind him. At the same time, he was an island. “I was autonomous and able to run my business like a business,” he says.
I think back to the great relationships I had within AIM. I worked for people who cared about the business and the wholesalers with whom they worked. There was a lot of talent I reported to which included Gordon Sprague, Alan Gray, Jim Stueve, Sandy Simmons, Kevin Ramsers and Rob Oda.
It was great to see so many friends and former colleagues at Chuy’s April 7 and please mark your calendar now for the next reunion Thursday, April 7, 2016. We will share the location and begin asking you to RSVP closer to the date.
We missed Polly Ahrendts, but did learn she has been invited to give a TEDx talk on women around the world May 28, at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Polly founded StoryCatcher LLC. Through the medium of film we see the transformational power of women artists from the developing world gaining access to markets, and thereby fuelling social and economic reform.
Many of the marketing group were in attendance and Pam Stephens shares that she is enjoying her family and particularly her grandchildren.
Alexa Burrow and her husband who was out of town were both at AIM, where Alexa worked for 8 years. Alexa is now a Sales Associate for Greenwood King Properties.
David Hessel is CFO of the local Catholic Diocese where he has been for seven years.
Lady-in-waiting Amy Koy is with Tudor Pickering Holt.
Scott Burman recently joined the sales team at AIG. Other former AIM employees at AIG include Don Paullo, Terri Fiedler and Jim Coppedge. Yevonne Barnes , Michelli Cockburn (Anderson) Bruce Guynn, Beth Linesch, Melanie Knox, Ginger Neal, and Michael Olson are at AIG/Valic.
Anne Warnock shares how busy she has been since retiring from INVESCO at the end of 2013. “I am working part time as a PA, and building a house. My husband and I are looking forward to moving out to the hill country,” said Anne.
Dennis Leard is moving this summer into the house where his wife was born. “We will be living in Iowa in a town of 200 where we can walk everywhere. The house was built in 1900 by my wife's grandfather who was the town doctor” shared Dennis.
Julia Nolan is now at Brasada Capital working with Gabe Birdsall, Mark McMeans, Tien San Lucas, and Dick Berry.
Share your news on AIM alumni today. If you have forgotten your username or password, click the link at http://aimalumni.com to have your information emailed to you.
Recent posts are from Kathleen Holtwick in Houston who is with National Oilwell Varco. Kathleen’s final position at AIM was a Communications Specialist II.“I love my current position at NOV. As Financial Services Education Coordinator, my focus in expanding and supporting the finance training and education program,” posts Kathleen. Log on to read more.
Terri Altmeyer lives in Kittanning, Pennsylvania where she has two children and is a proud grandmother. “I loved my 10+ years at AIM and continue to enjoy my great friends that I made during my career there. I am so happy that we are able to keep in touch through this (website) and FB,” shares Terri.
We are sad to report the passing of Tommy Beer at his home on Monday, April 20th. Tommy worked in the IIDD dept of retail marketing, and as Patti Hefley says “he was a super star”.
Born on August 8, 1968 in Golden, Colorado, he was the son of Barbara Covington and Thomas John Beer. In addition to his mother, Tommy is survived by his loving wife, Kathy Beer; beloved daughter, Zoe Beer.
Tommy was a gentle man who was loved by all who knew him and will be greatly missed. He had a great love of nature and the outdoors. His friends and family knew he was a true friend who would do anything for them.
A visitation was held at the Lux Funeral Home Chapel on Friday, April 24, 2015 followed by a Celebration of Life the next day.
To celebrate Tommy's memory, the family requested friends and family wear casual, colorful, upbeat clothing. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Wells Fargo "Zoe Beer Donations Account", 4800 West Bellfort Street, Houston, Texas 77035.
Read the full obituary here.
Says Bryan Persyn, "Tommy helped my get my first job out of college with AIM. Back then you really had to know someone to get in the door. Tommy was a very dear friend of mine and we frequently kept in touch throughout the years. He will be
missed by so many."
Please add a comment to this post with your own memory of Tommy.
Our fifth annual Houston happy hour is set for Tuesday, April 7. Mark your calendar now and indicate your interest on the RSVP page after logging on to AIM ALumni.
Gary Crum, Bob Graham, many Houston residents and AIM colleagues from out of town make this event which has grown to about 100 of us a very special get together. Time and location will be shared soon. Log on and view the 2014 Houston Happy Hour photo album. This is a great chance to get together. See you soon!