Watching her mother graduate from Stanford School of Medicine was a pivotal moment for Jenny Johnson, president and COO of Franklin Resources. It was that experience, she says, that contributed to the confidence she needed for a career in finance.
"My mother graduated ... at a time when only about one in five medical students were women. I was about 10 ... and I saw how difficult it was for her," Johnson recalls.
"That was 40 years ago," she continues. "There has since been tremendous progress but, more importantly, momentum for positive change."
Since becoming Franklin's first woman president in 2016, Johnson oversees a majority of investment management and related services at the firm.
She presides over roughly 7,800 employees in the areas of client service, fund administration, global technology and the division's high-net-worth unit.
She has taken steps toward a strategic reorganization of the units that report to her, including the hiring of a head of equity investments, a new CIO and new head of the firm's alternatives group.
Johnson also oversaw the firm's ETF platform expansion with new smart beta and active products, and the strategic review of its U.S. retail distribution business.
"I don't think I've experienced a time of greater change than now," she says. "Today, we are experiencing what the world will look back on as the new Industrial Revolution. Technology advances such as data analytics, blockchain and natural language processing are a significant factor contributing to this change."
This year, Johnson celebrated her 30th in the industry. "When my children say they want a career where they can make an impact in people's lives, I say, 'This is a great industry to do that,'" Johnson explains. "I believe that is what motivates the employees at Franklin Templeton, but it also carries great responsibility that we take very seriously."