At this year's Fairfield Awards Dinner, Kathleen A. Murphy ’84, president of Personal Investing at Fidelity Investments, will be honored for her outstanding professional accomplishments in a ceremony at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. Among her many accolades, Kathleen has repeatedly been named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in American Business” by Fortune magazine.
A summa cum laude graduate of Fairfield with a BA in economics and political science, Kathleen is president of Fidelity Personal Investing, which provides a full range of investment and financial planning services to millions of individual investors, including wealth management, retirement planning and brokerage. She also oversees Fidelity’s life insurance and annuities business, its workplace savings business for tax-exempt organizations, all of the firm’s brand and advertising programs, and Fidelity’s digital programs.
Prior to coming to Fidelity, Murphy was CEO of ING U.S. Wealth Management. Before that, she spent 15 years at Aetna, working in a variety of positions including general counsel and chief compliance officer at Aetna Financial Services.
Not surprisingly, Murphy is a regular on “top” business lists, including Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in American Business,” joining the likes of Sheryl Sandberg and Oprah Winfrey. She has also been named one of the “Wall Street Top 50” and “Business 100” by Irish America magazine and one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Finance” by US Banker, to name just a few.
Murphy traces much of what drives her today back to her education at Fairfield. A Wallingford, Conn. native, Murphy completed her undergraduate degree in three years with a double major in economics and political science.
In addition to guiding how Murphy leads at work, Jesuit teachings have influenced her active volunteer work, much of which has been focused on helping children. Among other boards, Murphy was previously the chair of the Children’s Trust Fund in Connecticut as well as a board member of America’s Promise Alliance. Today, she is on the board of the National Football Foundation, as well as Cathedral High School and St. Sebastian’s School, both in Massachusetts.
Murphy is also passionate about empowering women, particularly in financial matters. “Ninety percent of women will be the sole decision maker on their financial matters due to longevity or divorce,” she said. “Women are not nearly as confident as men in managing their finances. I speak all across the country on this issue.”
Her introduction to asset management at Aetna prepared her for Fidelity, however Murphy believes her success is more about being a good leader than a wizard. “No matter what kind of business you lead, it’s more about your leadership character than about your knowledge of a specific subject area. You have to have a bigger purpose than yourself. You have to enjoy leading, inspiring and driving people to achieve excellence.”
Learn more about the Fairfield Awards Dinner at Fairfield.edu/awardsdinner.