Chief Operations Officer (COO) and Senior Vice President
We had the great opportunity to speak with Rosemarie McClean, the Chief Operations Officer and Senior Vice President at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), one of Canada’s top three pension funds with 154.5 billion dollars in assets as of December 2015. Rosemarie is an alumnus of the University of Waterloo’s undergraduate Economics program and holds a MBA from the Rotman School of Management. She also earned the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation. She is also a board member of Illnois-headquartered Heartland Dental Care and the Alberta Pensions Services Corporation. Recognised as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network in 2008, Rosemarie shares her story of how she got to where she is today and gives advice to current and graduating students.
School life and Career
Rosemarie still remembers attending ECON 101 and 201 classes with faculty favourite, Professor Emanuel Carvalho and hanging out with friends at the Bombshelter Pub. The University left Rosemarie with many memories and it was where she met her husband.
Like many other students, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do upon graduation. However, she stumbled upon a job listing related to pensions at TD Canada Trust and that marked the beginning of her career in pension services and client service delivery. After a few years, Rosemarie joined OTPP in Member Services with expectations that she wouldn’t be there for too long. However, her strong commitment for delivering excellent service for the teachers of Ontario allowed her to climb up the ranks of the organization. In 2000, Rosemarie was promoted to Senior Vice President of Member Services, leading the operations of Canada’s #1 pension service delivery group ranked three consecutive years in a row by an international benchmark. In November of 2014, Rosemarie was appointed the first Chief Operations Officer of OTPP, responsible for overseeing all operational activities for investments, information technology, project management and process improvement. Currently, she is focused on strengthening collaboration between Enterprise groups and enhancing service delivery for internal clients.
Rosemarie is an avid traveller. She has already visited Antarctica, Africa and several countries in Europe and Asia. Her favorite destination was Africa, where she got to experience breathtaking views of the African Safari. We also had the pleasure of visiting her office to see pictures of her up close experience with penguins in Antarctica.
Rosemarie’s Advice for Current and Graduating Students
When you’re just getting your foot in the door, don’t be afraid to take positions that are not as desirable; you never know who you’re going to meet and every experience is a learning experience. Once you’re in the workplace, there are two things to always remember: speak up and seek opportunities. Speaking up means that you should always let your opinion be heard even if you are the lowest ranking member of the team. This includes taking initiative and presenting your views on any project the team is working on. To seek opportunities means to get involved in as many activities as you can. Rosemarie recalls an experience where she volunteered to organize the OTPP United Way campaign and got to meet many future colleagues and co-workers. Rosemarie recommends that all young professionals should seek volunteering opportunities whenever they arise.
Alex Lin and Christina Ng