Change agent Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2007

When Jill McGruder arrived at IFS Financial Services in 1991, she was the third person hired to build the Western Southern Life Insurance subsidiary. She was tasked with developing and expanding new products and services beyond the 100-year-old company’s traditional life insurance.

She was also charged with building a team within Western Southern that would be fully supportive of a dynamic, new culture that focused on new products and services.

While joining a company with a 100-year-old culture can have its challenges, McGruder jumped right in with fresh ideas. She also worked diligently to clearly articulate her ideas and strategies and the benefits of both to Western Southern in order to obtain its resources, which it wasn’t willing to freely give to this new cultural endeavor.

Throughout the next few years, McGruder successfully rolled out several new products to IFS Financial’s customers, and her entrepreneurial outlook created significant organic growth for the company. In 1999, Western Southern purchased Country Wide Funds as a structural growth strategy, and while it had been through a rough patch, she hired the right people and obtained the resources to lead a turnaround with the business. She was also able to capitalize on the company’s hidden potential, which Western Southern hadn’t even realized when buying it.

As she works toward the future, McGruder wants to continue growing IFS organically, but she will also look at acquisitions and mergers with existing funds to develop the company’s access and distribution channels.

HOW TO REACH: IFS Financial Services, (513) 362-8000 or