Mary Jane Fortin is leading efforts to attract clients and build a customer-centric market strategy in the newly created role of senior vice president and chief commercial officer at Thrivent.

Fortin, most recently president of Allstate Financial Businesses, is responsible for all commercial operations at Thrivent. That includes distribution, product management, life, health and annuity product operations; and national community and membership engagement, the Minneapolis-based financial-services company stated.

“A lot of this is how do we leverage our capabilities and bring them together in a more integrated way so that we can serve the needs of customers more holistically,” Fortin said in an interview.

Thrivent is well positioned to invest in its transformational growth strategy, Fortin said, having begun the year with a record total surplus of more than $12 billion. Thrivent has more than $150 billion in assets under management.

“We’re not looking to be transactional,” Fortin said. “We want to build a relationship. We want to understand your hopes and dreams. We believe that money is a tool, it’s not a goal.”

Fortin, who has three decades of experience in financial services, joined Thrivent in July. As a member of Thrivent’s executive leadership team, Fortin reports to president and CEO Teresa Rasmussen.

“Mary Jane has everything I was looking for in this key role,” Rasmussen said in a news release. “Her depth of financial services expertise, her experience leading multiple distribution channels and her passion for our organization’s purpose make her a perfect fit for Thrivent.”

At Allstate Financial Businesses, Fortin was responsible for Allstate’s life, annuity and benefits businesses. Her senior-leadership roles at other organizations include leading American General, AIG’s U.S. life insurance business and responsibility for the Hartford’s mutual fund and 529 businesses.

A Hartford, Conn.-area native, Fortin has an accounting degree from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Q: What appealed to you about this opportunity?

A: I believe in our industry but when I considered Thrivent and the purpose-driven nature of who we are it really resonated with me. The belief that humanity thrives when people make the most of all they’ve been given was truly inspiring and I truly was motivated by the opportunity to join them.

Q: How would you describe Thrivent’s growth potential?

A: From my perspective the opportunity is huge. We know in this environment that people need help and they need advice. … They’re seeking advice. They want peace of mind. They want a plan. We’ve got the ability to go on the offense here and help them. That’s the part that’s quite exciting to me, and why I believe we have a huge opportunity.

Q: What are your priorities?

A: The priorities are about how do I help enable more growth for the organization, understanding and learning what’s getting in our way because we are bringing organizations together, people together to work and think differently. … How do we build a distribution strategy that’s going to continue to attract a lot more clients because we’ve got the capacity to serve them?

How do we make sure that we’re knitting together and stitching together our distribution capabilities, our product capabilities and our service capabilities in a way that is easy for you to engage with us and to make sure that we’re delighting you in creating a rewarding member experience?

 

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is todd_nelson@mac.com.