Planning for retirement can never start too early and for Principal and Lead Advisor at Cafaro Greenleaf, Jamie Greenleaf, centers her advice around one idea: that all hard working people deserve to retire with dignity. For her dedication to this concept, EBA selected Greenleaf to the 2017 list of Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising.
To select this year’s honorees, EBA editors asked readers to submit the names of thought leaders who are making their mark on the benefit business through their unique approaches to client relations, benefits technology and/or mentoring other women. From the dozens of submissions received, the editors chose 30 benefit advisers to recognize for their outstanding achievements.
“[Greenleaf] positioned herself as a retirement plan advising specialist in a field dominated by males,” says Chelsea Eriksen, senior media and PR coordinator for Direct Development, LLC. “She cares very much about the livelihood of plan participants while maintaining an air of professionalism and practical business sense.”
One of Greenleaf’s biggest success stories thus far is of a corporate client that became an early adopter of auto enrollment and auto escalation of retirement plan funding. With the implementations she made with the client, plan participation rates rose from 78% to 97%, far above industry averages.
“She added auto enrollment and auto escalation to a governmental township’s 457 plan and successfully improved participation to 75% and increased contribution rates by 26%, assets by 36% and 48% of participation accounts invested in allocation models,” Eriksen says.
Greenleaf began her career at the wire houses, specializing as a retirement plan adviser with Smith Barney, Prudential and UBS. In 2004, she decided to take the independent route in order to serve solely in the best interest of her clients, and offer unbiased advice as a con-fiduciary on the plans she works with.
Brian Clark, managing director of operations at Cafaro Greenleaf, says in almost 30 years in the retirement industry, he has come to regard Greenleaf as one of the finest consultants in the business.
“Not only is she a talented and effective adviser, she is incredibly principled and driven to always act tirelessly in the best interests of our clients,” Clark says. “I am privileged to be a part of her team.”
Wayne Greenleaf, managing principal at Cafaro Greenleaf as well as Jamie Greenleaf’s husband, says his wife is a regular speaker at industry conferences and contributor to plan sponsors’ continuing education courses.
“Jamie has spent her entire adult life and professional career working with retirement plans,” Greenleaf says. “She is a nationally recognized expert in qualified plan design and consulting, and is frequently invited to share her knowledge and experiences at industry forums and conferences around the country, as well as traveling to Washington D.C., to sit with our nation’s lawmakers on retirement related issues.”
Greenleaf also is a contributing member of the Delaware Valley University Alumni & Student Mentoring and Network group, where she is committed to assisting students with professional development skills and providing industry information and knowledge.
“Her advising is professional, passionate and caring,” Eriksen says. “She is recognized as an expert in the field noted by regular invitations to speak and share her expertise, and she leads Cafaro Greenleaf as an adviser on top of her duties as principal. The field should be proud to have her as a figure woman to look up to.”
Wayne Greenleaf says his wife is so devoted to her job that the running joke around the office is if it were up to her she would work for free. “Jamie is very passionate about helping plan sponsors implement and manage highly effective retirement programs so that their valued employees can retire with dignity,” he says. “This is truly what gets her out of bed in the morning.”
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