We’re proud to feature outstanding Alera Group teammates and their insights on leadership, career accomplishments, and professional development. November’s featured teammate is Tina Hohman, Executive VP and Wealth Management Practice Leader at Alera Group. Read on for her insights:
What does leadership mean to you?
I have been fortunate to work alongside someone I admire as a strong leader, Rick Levitz, and I think that has continued to shape my perspective on leadership. His ability to be humble, always seek input, and follow a collaborative decision-making process is something that I very much admire.
Recognizing that there are many styles and forms of leadership, I ascribe to the theory by Oscar Wilde “be yourself; because everyone else is already taken.” An effective leader should embrace her/his style by using their unique personality, strengths and abilities. My approach to leadership is to focus on helping others first and creating communities of people who understand a common vision through authenticity and honesty.
How did you get introduced to the world of wealth management and what about it fascinates you?
From the moment I started working during my high school years, preparing auto and homeowners insurance quotes, it always made sense to me to protect one’s assets. My first job out of college was for an insurance agency which focused on life insurance and then grew into investment advisory, all leading me to Alera Group 27 years later!
For me, wealth management is all about helping clients protect their assets and achieve their financial goals. People are stressed with all that is going on from the pandemic to forest fires – it’s very fulfilling to see our advisors provide an important service that helps our clients protect their businesses and families and plan for a successful future.
What is a career accomplishment that you are most proud of?
That’s an easy question: helping build out the Wealth Management division at Alera Group. I joined four years ago as Alera Group was being formed to help lead the team in creating a new platform. I have never worked harder than when we had to transition to our new custodian and broker dealer. However, I was side by side with a group of people who were all fully invested in making it a success. We spent the next few years continuing to build out the platform and growing the team. Again, it was about creating a community with a common goal, and while not without its challenges, we created a competitive platform to grow our Wealth Management business.
In your experience, what is the most meaningful way that women in the workforce can support one another?
Sharing our stories, the good and the bad. It’s great to hear about successes, but whenever I share a challenging situation with someone, I see a light bulb go off and they almost always share a similar story. We have so much to gain by talking about both. Women have felt the need to build up their armor to show they are impervious to not knowing an answer, making a mistake or a bad call. I know I certainly have. I have found more growth by sharing these stories with other women and realizing that we are better together through our collective experiences. I’ve found that being vulnerable can be tough, but the growth is phenomenal and well worth it.
What is a book, podcast or other professional development-related tool that you’d like to recommend?
Considering how I am new to my role as Practice Leader and experiencing change, I am currently reading “The Way of Transition” by William Bridges. If you are going through any sort of transition (and throughout this pandemic aren’t we all!), it’s an excellent guidebook to help you navigate successfully through change.
If you could eat dinner with any famous female, who would it be and why?
My dad was a physicist and growing up I remember watching a miniseries in 1977 on Marie Curie (b. 1867 – d. 1934). It was on late at night (which probably meant 9 pm– hey, I was 6!) My dad would get me out of bed so I could watch it with him. Curie was a pioneering physicist and was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, but at the time the implications and weight of that never occurred to me. She was a brilliant individual and managed to achieve great heights during what must have been a very difficult day and age to do so as a woman in science. As I have faced challenges in an industry not known for having many female leaders, I have come to realize just how trail-blazing Madame Curie was. If I could jet over to Paris, I would like to ask her what she had to overcome to focus on being one of the most incredible scientific minds of that era.
What are the characteristics of a good mentor?
Honesty. It doesn’t do either the mentor or mentee any benefit if you can’t be completely truthful. Growth comes from being challenged to improve yourself, and it is a mentor’s responsibility to assist with that, sometimes saying the tough things. I would take it one step further to ensure that as a mentor you are being true to yourself and sharing your full experience. I have found a tremendous amount of personal growth by examining my past when working with someone and helping them work on their journey.
We simply do not have enough role models that show what it is like to be a successful woman in the financial services industry. Now that I am in a leadership position, I understand how important it is to be visible and supportive of the next generation of leaders.
In keeping with the theme of being better together, it’s because we truly are! There is no point in walking the path alone if you can have someone who has been down a similar path to walk alongside you. Sometimes that comes in the simple form of just helping people make connections to the right people. We have spent years working on our networks, now is the time to leverage that and help someone who needs it.