Katie McCord Jenkins

President, Illinois Mutual

Born and raised in Peoria, I left central Illinois to earn my bachelor’s degree from Boston University. Upon returning to Peoria, I started my career with Illinois Mutual in marketing and sales, and over the years have had responsibilities in a variety of areas until assuming the president’s role in January 2011. I am also a proud graduate of Bradley University’s Executive MBA program. My husband, Tom, and I live in Peoria.

Major Accomplishments of 2011
The Illinois Mutual team has achieved a lot in 2011, all in support of our mission. I am proud of the work accomplished, especially during these economic times when budgets are tight and the pressure to achieve is high. I believe that by holding our team accountable and keeping a positive attitude, we have succeeded on many levels.

  • Successfully increased the company’s financial strength through a focus on financial and operational efficiency and effectiveness
  • Strong sales results in all product lines achieved through a “we will win” attitude
  • Delivering every day on our promise of "the best personal service experience" for those we serve and achieving high scores in our customer surveys 
  • Introduction of the Paycheck Power Series, our new line of disability income insurance products to help more people protect their incomes
  • Exceeded agent expectations with the creation and introduction of POWERPitch 5G, our new agent sales and illustration tool that offers smartphone-compatible 5G Quotes 
  • Continuing our strong commitment to the Peoria community and providing volunteer and other support to charitable organizations.

How has your organization adjusted to recent changes in the business climate?
Life, in business or otherwise, is a series of ups and downs. In Illinois Mutual’s over 100-year history, the organization has faced many economic cycles—ups and downs—which called upon leadership to adapt. Along with the challenges of current times, I think this foundation motivated me and our team to face the challenges and to embrace change in order to build a bright future.

We are working smarter and harder than ever. We’ve had to make some tough decisions and step up our leadership on every level. As a result, though, I know our company is better than ever. This could only be accomplished by a team like ours of smart, hard-working people who never give up, even in the face of adversity. Though it may be strange to say, as I reflect on the challenges of the last few years, I am grateful for the lessons they have provided me and for revealing the true strength and resilience of our outstanding team.

What is your leadership philosophy?
I believe in leadership grounded in honesty, integrity, compassion and teamwork that builds an environment of pride and trust. Strong leadership necessitates a vision for the future, the ability to adapt to change and to communicate effectively. As a strong leader, you need to know yourself and have the ability to understand your natural inclinations and make good judgments about your behavior. Knowing and understanding others is also key to being a good leader, so that you can adapt to the situation and be most effective. While this is easy to articulate, the implementation every day is where the work resides. Each day, I am challenged to be a better leader and to learn from my mistakes because I know so many people are counting on me to do so.

Did you have a mentor in the early stages of your career? How did this person help you along the way?
Without a doubt, my father has been the most important mentor in my career. I am grateful for the example of hard work, leadership, tenacity, resilience and enthusiasm he continues to demonstrate every day. He has used his years of experience, along with his thoughtful and genuine desire, to see all emerging leaders in our organization succeed to support us as we hone our skills and achieve new levels of success. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor whom I trust. He has inspired me to be a better mentor, and one of my long-term goals as a leader is to continue to improve my abilities in this area and offer to others the kind of mentor relationship I have experienced, which will hopefully benefit them in their careers. iBi