Building a Family Tree

Building a Family Tree

Building a Family Tree

Our roots as a business date back 140 years, but at OneAmerica we’re also proud of our family tree.

Among more than 2,000 associates, we have a sizable share of parents and children, cousins, nephews and siblings who work here not to mention associates who met here and married.

For a company with a lot of history, we like to think of it as a legacy of loved ones.

One current example is Vickie Griffith (pictured, far left), scan technician, CSS, and her daughter, Suzanne Griffith (pictured, right), retirement plan manager, Retirement Services. Each is the second and third generation, respectively, to take home a paycheck from OA.

Vickie's father, Jim Eaton, and mother, Dorothy Eaton, spent over a decade with AUL, and each retired from our company. (Jim worked at AUL from 1969 to 1979; Dorothy worked from 1967 to 1982.) The Eatons and Griffiths have provided a combined 60-plus years of service to OneAmerica.

“OneAmerica is a family company,” said Vickie, who started with AUL in 1996, and left for 18 months, returning in 2009. “With both of my parents having worked here, OneAmerica has put food on my table for several years. The company had a reputation for stability, and I wanted that stability. So did my daughter.”

“It’s important to me personally because this is a career-oriented job, and what I wanted,” added Suzanne, who was 21 when she joined in 1997. “The flexibility is nice, and I’ve made a lot of friendships here.”

Mother and daughter were feted in April with a card-themed "Deal Me Into the 20 Year Club" celebration at Sahm's cafeteria, in the OneAmerica Tower, along with 35 other inductees.

“Our mission at OneAmerica is to be there for customers when they need us most; well, the same goes for our associates,” said Lori Castoe, president of the 20 Year Club, which recognizes long-tenured workers. Retirees with 20 or more years of service become lifetime members upon retirement, and are invited to return each year for the induction of new club members. “Scott Davison (OneAmerica chairman, president and CEO) talked about how the company’s most important assets are the people who leave here and go home at night, and that energy resonates.”

Our company’s family legacy goes back for decades.

George Bangs, president from 1940 to 1947, had a son who worked here, according to “American United Life Insurance® (AUL) Company: Progress through Partnership 1877-2002.”

Former CEO and Chairman Jack E. Reich (pictured left, seated) was succeeded by his son-in-law, Jerry D. Semler (pictured left, standing), in 1980. (Semler eventually became CEO in 1989 and board chairman in 1991.) Semler is now retired, and his son, Jeff, has had a successful 25-year career, including 15 years as a general agent for Semler Financial Group, a general agency in Carmel, Indiana with the companies of OneAmerica.

“We grew up in the AUL family,” said Jeff Semler. “At age 22, when I finally understood what my grandfather and father did, and understood that with life insurance you can make a difference in people’s lives, I decided it it’s what I wanted to do.”

A more recent example started with Michelle Linhart, senior forms designer, who joined the company in 1998. Her niece, Stephanie Fajardo, arrived in 2001 and is transition consultant. Michelle’s son-in-law, Kyle Starnes, financial analyst, and Michelle’s daughter, Samantha Starnes, processor II, were hired in 2015 and May, respectively.

“It’s just a good company to start or grow your career,” said Michelle. “I’ve been trying to get my other daughter” to apply.

Over the years, as employment practices evolved, OneAmerica put in place a policy to ensure fairness in hiring and prevent conflicts of interest. That doesn’t mean family connections don’t continue, it just means than when someone applies, individual merit is the top consideration, according to our handbook.

Since OneAmerica encourages associate referrals, it’s natural to see a job opening and want to share a good fit.

“The number of family relationships that we have in this organization speaks highly of the culture,” said Debby Routt, vice president, Human Resources. “We are a relationship based company.”