Westmont Magazine From Biology to Bonds
As an assistant bond trader for PaineWebber, Jenny Reitmaier Akins ’96 places orders as large as $50 million. Her clients include banks and corporations interested in investing their cash in bonds.
“It’s a very interesting, fast-moving job,” she notes. “Not only does it require a lot of attention to detail, but I have to keep up on T-notes, corporate bonds, and trends in emerging markets. I also have to know the many regulations governing bank investments. It has taken me three years to get the hang of it.”
How did a Westmont biology major wind up in business?
“I have always been interested in investing,” she explains. “I decided to major in biology because I love science, and my older sister and mentor majored in biology. But in the back of my mind, I wanted a career in business. During the summer I used to read books on investing — it was a good break from biology texts!”
Although she did an internship at a pediatric clinic and worked as an assistant in the Westmont biology lab, Jenny took a job with Santa Barbara Bank & Trust after she graduated. She stayed nine months as a customer service representative before moving to PaineWebber, where she began as a sales assistant.
In 1998, Jenny transferred to the Newport Beach office to be near Geoff Akins ’97, whom she married that year. A graphic designer for David Riley and Associates, he develops brochures, logos, and billboards for a variety of clients, including Disney World and Universal Studios. Through Geoff and Westmont professor Tony Askew, she has developed a deep love for art.
Coming to Westmont was a big step for Jenny, who grew up in Minnesota and knew no one when she transferred in as a sophomore. “It was the best decision of my life,” she says. “Not only did I meet my husband during Europe Semester, but making the jump to an entirely new place showed me I could do anything I wanted. It’s fun to be adventurous and live on the edge.”
Jenny embraced another challenge when she married Geoff, who is deaf. “I thought a lot about it before making my decision,” she says. “But it was the right thing to do, and I love him so much.”
The next adventure she anticipates is motherhood, and she will leave her busy, stressful job to raise her children. But she hopes to return one day as a stockbroker. Or she might combine her interest in biology by going into pharmaceutical sales or hospital administration.
“It’s fun to think about the possibilities,” she says. “When you take a leap of faith into something new and rest in the peace of God, you have so much to gain.”