Karin Rettger believes women don’t know enough about the value of being a benefit adviser. The president of Principal Resource Group in Glen Ellyn, Ill., Rettger is one of EBA’s 2017 Most Influential Woman in Benefit Advising because she is not waiting for that change to happen, but rather leading the charge herself.
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.
Being in the business of both employee benefits and retirement consulting for more than 20 years, Rettger loves the profession. However, since most high schools don’t talk about it as a career, younger women often don’t know about it, Rettger says.
To overcome that challenge, she started a scholarship this year to encourage young women to explore a career in financial services and benefits. The first scholarship, which Rettger is personally funding, was awarded recently to a graduating senior in Illinois who intends to be an actuary.
But it is just not a monetary gift. Rettger is taking the woman, Victoria Godinez, under her wing and explaining the profession and “how you really do make a difference in people’s lives, through retirement or health,” she says. “You are truly making a difference and this is really a field where you are helping people.”
Godinez says that before winning, she had “no idea about career options in financial advising. It does sound like a great career and I’m so excited about the opportunity.”
Rettger has started the scholarship locally and has a vision of it growing into a national non-profit charity.
She has also found additional professional success as a proponent of more closely linking health savings accounts and 401(k)s. She is a contributing author for a new book on innovative benefit strategies, “HSA Strategies That Work,” due out in August.
“The status quo of this industry is untenable and unsustainable,” Rettger adds. “I work hard to be in the innovative vanguard of our industry that is producing better outcomes, improving the client experience, and reducing employer costs. I am driven to change the status quo” by challenging conventional thinking and bringing better tools ideas and strategies to the surface.
The book, she says, gives her a platform to explain an idea, strategy and passion better and with more detail.
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