By following her own advice, Ms. DeLong has had the opportunity to wear many different hats — the most recent being head of defined contribution — during her 24-year-long tenure at AllianceBernstein. The firm manages $95 billion in DC assets in the U.S.
In an interview, she recounted raising her hand to do marketing for the firm's 529 college savings plan business shortly after AB won a bid to run the state of Rhode Island's program.
At first, Ms. DeLong thought it would be a quick, one-off project, but she found the work was enjoyable and sparked her passion for helping people save for their children's education. She eventually became program manager for Rhode Island's plan, which grew to over $8 billion.
"I have a personal passion for what I do," Ms. DeLong said. "Having this direct connection to people saving for retirement or for college … I talk to friends, family — I'll literally talk to the person sitting next to me on the plane about saving for retirement — it's something where you can actually feel like you're making a difference. It's super enjoyable for me."
Ms. DeLong's penchant for saying yes to new opportunities has also yielded another benefit: Her work never gets boring.
"It's always been very interesting. There's never a dull moment, and that's a good thing," Ms. DeLong said. "For me, no matter what role I've been in, every day is different, hour to hour is different, and I really enjoy that."