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What was your route to the top? While many things have contributed to my success, my passion for the work and a great sponsor have been two significant factors. I took to the world of employee benefits immediately—I simply reveled in the complexity of the area and the reward in helping others understand it. This enjoyment has led me to devote time to endeavors such as sitting for actuarial exams, advocating for positive legislative and regulatory change, and becoming a nationally recognized speaker on benefits and executive compensation. Although these endeavors arose from a personal passion, they have contributed to my success by giving me a unique ability to add value to clients because of the depth of my expertise and industry connections. In addition, the importance of having a great mentor and a sponsor cannot be understated. I’ve had the great fortune of working with four partners, all of whom were committed to my success. One partner in particular became my mentor as well as my sponsor within the firm. When I was an associate, one of our large clients needed to change relationship attorneys, and he successfully advocated with management that I should be given the role, despite being only a mid-level associate. Similarly, as he decided to step back in advance of retirement, he pushed me to the forefront of other significant relationships. This gave me significant opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with important clients and a meaningful voice within the firm that comes with that.

James Schroeder

 

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