Meet the trustees: Annmarie Woods

By Tristan E. M. Leach

Grinning beneath a blond bob with sparkling blue eyes is Annmarie Woods. A woman with many loves and passions, Woods’ life and work are full of joys.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Woods always found her way home. Woods grew up the oldest of four children and went on to have three of her own, “one of the greatest joys of her life,” Woods explained. 

Before Rider

Years before having her children and many before joining Rider’s Board of Trustees, Woods attended Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts, at the time a small all-women’s college, and earned her undergraduate degree in political science. For a time, Woods took a job in the field but her passion for numbers called her. 

“I originally worked in Washington D.C., but had a passion [for] finance and [I] had the opportunity, after working in Washington for a little, to get involved in the investment management business at a mutual fund company up in Boston,” said Woods.

Thirty eight years later, Woods is still enjoying her work. Currently she is a wholesaler at Guggenheim Investments. Woods’ job is to sell investment solutions to a financial adviser who then would sell those solutions to a consumer.  

“Almost like when somebody sells shoes to Macy’s. Somebody brings that shoe to Macy’s and then Macy’s sells it to you,” said Woods with a chuckle as she explained her job. 

The bubbly Board member found her way to Rider through her passion for finance and a love for music.

Coming to Rider

Woods first heard about Rider several years before her term began on the Board of Trustees. Karin Klim, who ran ‘Planned Giving,’ a finance program at Rider that allows alumni to leave money and other gifts to Rider after their death, had worked at Merrill Lynch with Woods for a time. When Klim left Merrill Lynch, she and Woods stayed in contact. Klim knew Woods had a passion for performance art and introduced Woods to Westminster Choir College. 

“I was blown away. I couldn’t believe it and watching all the young people. The singing, the coordination, the bells, the readings. I was mesmerized and that was really my first introduction to Rider,” said Woods. 

After seeing that initial performance, Woods became a sponsor of the event, “An Evening of Readings and Carols.” Woods took clients of her’s from Merrill Lynch to the performances and once got to participate in the dramatic readings that are done during the performance. She said that the opportunity was one of the thrills of her life. 

Women’s council

Not too long after she became involved with Westminster, Woods was asked to join the Gail Bierenbaum Women’s Leadership Council as a mentor. Woods noticed that there was a lack of women in the financial world being represented and agreed to join. 

Francesca Roehm, a junior entrepreneurial studies major, has been a member of the Women’s Council since her freshman year. Roehm emphasized the importance of having a space for women on campus to empower them.

“The mentor/mentee program helps women get professional experience by speaking and working with other women. Seeing women in [a mentee’s chosen] field is very encouraging,” said Roehm. 

Woods’ decision to join the council allowed for the young women to see that the world of finance is not just a male dominated field.

Roehm said, “[Woods] is always super involved in the activities. She loves [Women’s Council] so much and you can tell she loves being a mentor.”

Woods on the Board

Woods’ love for involvement at Rider did not go unnoticed by trustees, who asked if she would ever be interested in becoming a trustee member. 

“I was humbled that [trustee members] would ask me, but also [trustee members] recognized that I really have fallen in love with Rider. I’m involved, I give back. I was honored that the opportunity presented itself,” said Woods with a smile. 

Her first term began in July 2020 and has served on the Board since. She currently serves on the Organizational and Sustainability Committee, which Woods characterizes as broad. Woods serves on the subcommittee known as the Investment Committee. Her extensive background in finances has been an advantage for Woods and her fellow committee members. 

Currently, Rider is pursuing ESG investments, a type of investment that focuses on environment, social and corporate governance. Woods said that she agreed with the choice to pursue ESG, especially with Rider’s commitment to the environment and DEI, diversity, equity and inclusion. 

“The principles of ESG need to be part of what [the Board of Trustees] do,” said Woods. 

She emphasized that the Board of Trustees and their investment manager are currently in the process of creating a formal ESG statement to incorporate into the policy that the Board of Trustee members follow when it comes to investment choices.  With the amount of DEI on campus, including the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Women’s Leadership Council, Woods is hopeful that all three sectors of ESG will be taken into consideration. The hope is to have the final statement prepared to be presented to the whole Board in June 2024.

Overall, Woods’ goal as a Board member is to lay the foundation of financial stability for Rider and those who call it home. Her dedication to the university and the students who attend it has kept her passion and joy aflame and she does not plan on putting that flame out anytime soon. 

Kaitlyn Seawood is social media editor and Felicia Roehm is opinion editor for The Rider News. They are both members of the Gail Bierenbaum Women’s Leadership Council. Neither had any part in the writing and or editing of this piece. 

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