John Hancock

The team of Mark Dehmel, Ted Pirrera, Bill Southworth and Gina Vallee asked the client about its corporate strategy, which led to helping find retirement plan providers overseas.
John Hancock Retirement, Mark Dehmel, Bill Southworth, Ted Pirrera and Gina Vallee.
John Hancock Retirement, Mark Dehmel, Bill Southworth, Ted Pirrera and Gina Vallee.
  • Client
    Gensler
  • Industry
    Architecture and Design
  • Client Headquarters
    San Francisco
  • Plan Assets/Participants
    $1B/5,000

BIOS: Mark Dehmel is vice president, strategic relationship management, responsible for managing overall client relationships. As senior ERISA [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] consultant, Ted Pirrera consults with plan sponsors on fiduciary support and compliance testing. Bill Southworth is a senior client service manager, responsible for the timely and accurate delivery of all administrative services. Gina Vallee is strategic communication consultant, Pacific and Central Division, a role in which she helps sponsors craft effective participant communications. All are with John Hancock.


Mark Dehmel
, vice president, strategic relationship management at John Hancock, says he learned about Gensler’s rapid international expansion after asking executives what their corporate strategy was. “They explained to us the challenges they were encountering with setting up retirement plans in some of the places around the world where they were expanding very quickly,” Dehmel says. “We asked them what we might be able to do to help them. Manulife, our parent company, is a multinational company. We have retirement plans around the globe. We were able to propose an enhanced solution for them in China, Hong Kong and Canada by transitioning [them] to our parent company, Manulife, and they also have seen the value of having just one provider.”

Linda Patrick, retirement plan manager at Gensler, says John Hancock Retirement has also been instrumental in helping the company with its financial wellness program.

“On an annual basis, we host Wellness Week,” Patrick says. “John Hancock participates in that, and, throughout the year, their representatives go into each of our 30 offices around the U.S. to offer one-on-one meetings.”

Dehmel says: “Prior to the Wellness Week, we hold a business planning meeting with Gensler to coordinate our efforts. We work very closely with them to highlight their generous benefits, to make sure people are aware of them.”

In addition, Patrick continues, “Bill [Southworth] has streamlined the annual $35 million in contributions we make to our ESOP [employee stock ownership plan] and profit sharing. He has not only improved the accuracy but the time it takes for what was previously a complicated process. On an annual basis, we work with Bill to develop a calendar for all of the events taking place for the plan throughout the year.”

Overall, Patrick says, “It is a great experience to work with John Hancock. We really work together as a team. They are as invested as we are to make the plans work for our employees. They understand our plans, want our participants to have a good experience and are always bringing more ideas to the table.”

Lee Barney

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