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Former executive shares business acumen

By Elizabeth Wells
For The Catholic Voice

John Maginn talks with students in an investment analysis course at Creighton. Maginn, former executive vice president and treasurer at Mutual of Omaha, is a volunteer instructor in Creighton University's College of Business. Photo by Elizabeth Wells

For nearly 40 years, John Maginn honed the knowledge he received from Creighton University's College of Business into an illustrious career.

When he retired as the executive vice president and treasurer at Mutual of Omaha in February 2000, it was time to pursue another life-long aspiration.

'I have always had an interest in teaching," said Maginn, who is a member of St. Leo Parish in Omaha.

In fact, Maginn struggled choosing between entering a doctoral program to teach and developing a career in business.  About that time, he met his wife Carol and they were looking at their future together.

A self-described analytical individual, he said he chose business, but quietly looked forward to an early retirement with the opportunity to teach.

In July 1999 he was nearing his 60th birthday. It was time to announce his early retirement plans to management. Within a few months, he was discussing the possibility of teaching with administrators at Creighton University.

'They did have a need, and I happened to fulfill one of the needs they had for faculty," he said. 'I teach investments (upper-level undergraduate and graduate classes). It was a nice transition."

Maginn said prior to retirement he saw his value as a volunteer coming from using the education he had received.

He serves on a number of investment committees for endowment funds for various schools in the city. He is also an Omaha Community Foundation board member. Teaching, however, remains his passion.

Maginn, who is a chartered financial analyst, said he teaches as 'an opportunity to pass along my experience and enthusiasm about investments to young people."

It also keeps him up-to-date on the academic side of investments, he said.

And, although he receives a stipend for his teaching, it's really a part of his retirement volunteer work. His personal planning for retirement allows him to donate the stipend back to the school.

'Teaching is an opportunity for me to give something back to Creighton University which gave me a tremendous education and the opportunity to meet my wife," he said.

He said his wife has been very supportive as he undertook this new avocation. The first year he taught both the fall and spring semesters.

'It takes a tremendous amount of time, even though I am only teaching one class," he said. 'Now I only teach in the fall so my wife and I can get away if we want in the winter. I might fill in on occasion during the spring for others. It took me a year to figure that out, but that's part of the process."

His process also included setting up an office outside of the home. 'That was important to me to have a place to be able to run my consulting practice and coordinate volunteer activities and other things," he said.

'It was especially helpful to my wife. She and I talked about it. I knew I wanted to be fairly active," he said. 'I had the good fortune to be offered office space. Now when I come home, I'm not hauling a briefcase full of work related things like I did when I was at Mutual."

Being present to the moment may come from Maginn's reflections on how to live out his retirement years. It is the grounding for all his activity.

'I ask myself, "˜How would God really like me to be spending my time?'" Maginn said. 'He's the one who gave me everything I have. What would be the way most pleasing to him?"

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