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Spotlight on AIM Alumni

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Mike Cemo DoctorateWe are proud to share that Mike Cemo was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Houston. He joins other distinguished individuals including the Honorable George H. W. Bush (1994), The Honorable William P. Hobby, Jr. (1997), and our own Charles T. "Ted" Bauer (2001).

Renu Kahator, chancellor of the University of Houston and the thirteenth president of the UH, presented Mike with his honorary doctorate.

Mike's daughter Stephanie shared the picture and said "I am so very proud of my father and all he has achieved in his life so far. He came from humble beginnings, the only child of a barber and a housewife, neither having high school diplomas. I feel he has always valued education and he felt fortunate to have graduated from UH in 1968."

Stephanie shared that Mike was a school teacher and awesome husband/father. He helped to build a successful mutual fund company, served on many advisory boards in the past 30 years, was appointed to the Board of Regents at UH for a six year term by the Governor of Texas, his family foundation gives to causes benefiting education and he pioneered efforts to push the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston into the top 50 business schools in the U.S. Stephanie finishes, by saying "all while never missing a baseball game or birthday. You deserve this Honorary Doctorate more than anyone I know, Dad."  

There are a number of YouTube videos sharing the impact Mike has had upon the University of Houston including this one.

Click here to message Doctor Cemo

swabi uus 305Swabeera Uus recently joined T Rowe Price in Baltimore, Maryland and it is no coincidence that two other former AIM colleagues work at the company.

Also at T. Rowe Price are Donna Anderson, head of Corporate Governance and Socially Responsible Investing and Sheila Simmons Schubarth, head of Global Communications Compliance. Sheila sent Swabi a job description for the role Swabi now holds, which is within Sheila’s team. The women first met in 2004 when Swabi managed the internal sales desk for Mark McMeans and Sheila was in marketing. The two became friends, and when Swabi left AIM/Invesco for Eagle Global Advisors, they kept in touch.

“Over Mother’s Day weekend, I was in New York and Sheila sent me a job description for Senior Manager, Investment Communications Compliance. I found out later the position was written and available from the start of 2017. They were looking for the right person who would mesh nicely with the Investments team but report to Compliance. Sheila thought of me. I am embedded in the multi asset solutions investment team, sitting with investment folk. Being a learner, I like learning new things. No matter my age or experience, I am continually looking for new things to learn. I am using my investment knowledge and learning the investment advisory compliance landscape.” said Swabi.

Swabi loved her job at Eagle Global Advisors in Houston, where she worked for over ten years after leaving Invesco. “My professional life was very rewarding,” she shares. Her transition to T. Rowe Price in Baltimore is a change in many ways. “T. Rowe Price has over 6,000 employees and over 900 billion assets under management,” shares Swabi, while Eagle is a small firm. “I loved my job at Eagle. It is a privately-owned company with 32 plus employees and under $5 billion in assets. It was tough to leave. They were sad to see me go and I was sad,” but as Swabi shared, she likes to keep learning and this new role fills that objective.

In addition, Swabi is closer to her parents and brother. “With my daughter living in Florida and finishing her graduate degree, I am an empty nester,” said Swabi. “It is nice to be closer to my family.”

Sheila joined T. Rowe Price in 2013 and now heads up a group of 15 people in Maryland, Hong Kong and London. She is also raising her three sons. Donna has been with T. Rowe Price since 2007 and her daughter is 14, and an enthusiastic world traveler like her Mom.  

Cher Murphy was one of several former AIM colleagues who flew to Houston for the April Happy Hour. Cher was at AIM from 1999 to 2007, where her final position was Associate Product Manager.

AIM lunchCher enjoys hiking the Arizona desert with her dogs

Cher joined i4cp, Institute for Corporate Productivity, as Chief Talent Officer in October 2016 to build a retained executive search practice for this research/think tank organization. Cher advises CHRO’s from Fortune 500 organizations and innovative start ups on attracting the right talent and building their leadership teams. I4cp researches the people practices of high performing organization and uncovers next practices rather than best practices, which drive high performance and have bottom-line impact.

In addition to professional activities, Cher also enjoys hiking in the desert with her Irish setter and Flat Coat retriever and she is on the board of Aid International, a Haitian non-profit.

When Cher joined AIM in 1999 it was at the suggestion of her friend Teri Tansey, in marketing communications. “Teri said AIM hired a lot of young, smart people and if you work hard they give you an opportunity to grow and develop,” said Cher.

Cher’s current role combines her ability to build and be creative in the talent/people space. She feels she learned this at AIM. I learned early on at AIM to be creative. I was encourged to develop and grow into new roles. 

AIM lunchCher and Bob Cherichella stay in touch and catch up in person every few years

I worked for amazing leaders including Gene Needles and Bob Cherichella. I learned how to build relationships creatively that would best service AIM’s clients. Bob said listen and then ask another good question. His advice has been the foundation of my career beyond AIM.

Cher Murphy

Cher now works to help client companies attract the right talent, looking for strategic HR leaders, human capital analytics leaders, and transformation and change management leaders. Cher started in search in the investment management space with Heidrick & Struggles and helped place Gene Needles in his CEO role at American Beacon.

Her insights into people and cultural fit had an interesting twist when she was in Haiti on a yoga service trip. Cher met an inspiring woman whose non-profit supports multiple projects including an orphanage for 108 children in Jacmel, Haiti. The woman has one biological daughter who was visiting their home in Haiti after graduating from Harvard University and recently entered the asset management industry.

When I learned Vanessa had gone into the investment management industry and was working in Dallas, I thought of Gene Needles and Amy Neves as good mentors and people for her to meet while learning the industry.

Cher Murphy

A few years later, Vanessa now works for Gene at American Beacon.

AIM lunchCher in Nairobi teaching a program on the business of Yoga

Cher grew up doing service projects and helping others, a legacy her grandparents instilled in her. Cher has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 25 years. Cher traveled to Nairobi as an ambassador for the Africa Yoga Project. She created and taught a program, the business of Yoga, that taught African yoga teachers how to better build their yoga business and be a leader in their communities. It was after this project that Cher traveled to Haiti and she now serves on the Board of Directors of Aid International whose mission is to increase self sustainability in rural areas of Haiti. Cher is active in fundraising, advising the non-profit and helping them develop their board of directors.

Cher’s ability to observe, discern and communicate how people make the difference has been the hallmark of her career. AIM’s book “People are the Product” rang true for Cher, and continues to influence her, her clients, and the organizations she donates her time to.

AIM's book, People are the Product, rang true for Cher, and continues to influence her, her clients and the organizations she donates her time to.

 

 

The annual get-together in Houston is well attended, and while Gene Needles, Chairman, President and CEO of American Beacon makes it each year, others in Dallas have voiced their disappointment that they can’t share in the fun. This year, Gene kindly hosted lunch at his Las Colinas office. We were thrilled to have a few additions from out of the DFW metroplex including Jeff Kissner who lives with his wife Sheila Brown in San Antonio and Michelle Mattina-Eggert who drove up from Austin.

AIM lunchLeft to right: Amy Neves, Stephen Graddy, Jack Broyles, Michelle Mattina-Eggert, Jeff Kissner, Harry Breda, Burke Bradford, Gene Needles, Erica Duncan, Brian Markey, Lee Johnson and Teresa Oxford

Gene shared how he grew the American Beacon business along with the good people in the room (referring to those who were at the firm and are now working with him at American Beacon). He said the company is launching a multi-affiliate business to be called Resolute Investment Managers and American Beacon will be the flagship affiliate under the Resolute brand. The firm recently announced their third acquisition earlier this year. The plan is to take the company public at some point.

Burke Bradford, at Nuveen in Dallas, said he likes the multi-affiliate model Gene is pursuing. “Gene is good at bringing on new products”, said Jack Broyles.

Amy Neves agreed, sharing that American Beacon has grown from 5 legacy American Beacon funds to over 25 funds. “We have an embarrassment of riches. We have so many good funds, it is challenging to keep up. I am excited to see where it all goes,” said Amy who works in the marketing department.

Scot Johnson interned at AIM between the first and second years of his Vanderbilt MBA program and accepted a full-time position in 1994. When Amy Vetter returned to Houston from Austin in 2000, their paths crossed - first in the elevator. Amy and Scot share how AIM shaped their personal lives working at a company that was family to both of them.

Amy: My first role back in Houston was supporting the Investments department as an HR generalist while Kay Pierce was on maternity leave. The first time I remember us speaking to each other was when we were riding up on the same elevator one morning. Scot and Brian Thorp were talking about football. Since they were talking about UT (University of Texas) football, I had an opinion that I shared. It probably didn’t hurt that Scot and I had the same opinion.

amy scot 1 600Amy and Scot Johnson

Scot: Great minds think alike! It didn’t hurt that she had UT football season tickets and her parents live on a golf course either. We got to chatting regularly at the office and I asked her out on a date pretty soon after that first elevator conversation. She’ll probably say it took me too long to ask, but fortunately I did! I apparently took too long to propose also. Again, fortunately I did!

She’ll probably say it took me too long to ask, but fortunately I did! I apparently took too long to propose also. Again, fortunately I did!

Scot Johnson

Amy: Yep…too long on both counts. (But she is smiling and displaying the engagement ring Scot presented when he finally proposed.)

Amy: My fondest memory of AIM is how much of a family it felt like. We didn’t feel like we worked for a company. We felt like we worked for Ted and Gary and Bob, and we wanted to do them proud. They led by example in every way. There was a right way to do things. How we did things mattered as much as results. “People are the product” wasn’t a slogan. That’s really the principle that drove how AIM operated. We felt like Ted, Gary, and Bob were engaged with what we were doing and with us, and that helped breed the family feeling and the intense sense of loyalty towards them. Another case of leading by example that made working for AIM so enjoyable was the idea that doing serious business like taking good care of the assets people trusted us with didn’t mean we couldn’t laugh and have fun while we were doing that business. 

We felt like Ted, Gary, and Bob were engaged with what we were doing and with us, and that helped breed the family feeling and the intense sense of loyalty towards them.

Amy Johnson

Scot: There are so many stories I could share, but two stories stand out to me. Gary’s daughter Ashley and my sister Stephanie are the same age. Every time Stephanie’s school sports teams played against Ashley’s teams, Gary was there. As busy as he was running the investments department and dealing with AIM’s growing business, he made time to be at Ashley’s games. That was a great lesson and example to me regarding perspective and priorities. The other story is about Bob. I was wearing some sort of AIM gear at the grocery store. The young lady at the cash register asked if I worked at AIM. “Yes, I do,” I replied. She asked if I knew Mr. Robert Graham. “Yes, I do,” I again replied. She then related that her mother had worked as the Graham’s housekeeper for many years and shared some stories about why her mother felt so lucky to work for the Grahams. I replied, “That sounds exactly like the Robert Graham I know. I’m lucky to work for him, too.” Like we said earlier, Ted, Gary, and Bob led by example.

Amy’s last position with AIM/Invesco in 2004 was as a human resources partner supporting marketing before moving into her next role as an at-home mom to Adele (11), Abby (11), and Scotty (4). She is currently a realtor with Greenwood King Properties.

Scot’s last position with AIM/Invesco in 2013 was Senior Client Portfolio Manager before accepting an exit package in lieu of relocating to Atlanta. He lists his current occupation as “trophy husband/at-home dad”, though he is selectively looking for the right opportunity as the next stop on his career path – be it something investments-oriented or “something totally different, but challenging and interesting”.