Allie O’Connell is the quintessential California girl. Born and raised in Huntington Beach, she jokingly confides she has always lived and worked “behind the Orange curtain,” which is how many describe life in the bubble of idyllic Orange County.

As Portfolio’s Lake Forest-based manager of client relations, Allie notes that she “travels to the Strongsville, Ohio, office every other month and it’s beautiful there, especially in the fall.” She’d love to one day move someplace else in the country — but maybe not someplace quite as cold as Ohio. “My heater is going when it’s under 70 degrees!”

Allie spent a decade working in a dealership before joining Portfolio in 2014. In her early days with the company, she supervised ancillary claims before transitioning into a sales and marketing role. However, since integration, her role has changed dramatically.

“Now I am managing the Client Relations department. My role has changed to oversee the same model that NAE had for customer service.” Allie’s responsibilities include “anything from taking agent calls, answering questions about admin fees, rate cards, managing escalated calls, leading projects that impact the team and representing Client Relations in activities.” Every day brings about new opportunities and challenges, and she has no “typical” workday. “I’m never doing the same thing. My days are definitely not boring!”

Allie says she enjoys working side-by-side with her team and encourages them to view her as their greatest ally. “I truly believe that my only job as their manager is to ensure they have all the tools they need and empower them to do their jobs every single day.”

Allie also works closely with sales executives, managing directors and agents. “I love working with the agents. I’m extremely passionate about relationship building and playing a part in something bigger at Portfolio. These factors are huge motivators for me.”

Her mentors — both professional and personal — help to motivate her as well. “I get my drive and work ethic from my mother,” Allie says. But her Portfolio peer, Director of Sales Support Brandon Lamas, is her greatest mentor. “Brandon has kept me grounded. He understands what motivates me and keeps me focused on my long-term goals. I would not be where I am in my career without his guidance.”

Female representation within Portfolio’s leadership ranks also inspires Allie. “It’s a major part of why I came to Portfolio. Throughout my tenure, women leaders such as Lori Hallissey, Casey Van Schoyck, Melanie Gionet and Alissa Wells, to name a few, have all provided counseling that has enriched my experience.”

After working in male-dominated dealerships, she finds female leadership to be both refreshing and empowering. It is a factor that she considers extremely important in her career. The lessons she’s learned from her mentors also carry into her family life. “I strive to show my children that ambition, creativity and grit build character.”

Allie’s 10-year-old son plays travel baseball, so much of her PTO is spent watching or traveling to games or volunteering as a league board member. Allie says she loves the sport and it is “really cool to connect and bond over something that my son loves so much.” However, she finds herself in a house divided — her son is a diehard Dodgers fan and Allie is an avid Angels fan!

Allie also has a daughter who, upon turning 21 last year, was finally able to partake in one of Allie’s favorite family traditions: a summer wine tasting trip to Napa Valley.

One can tell when speaking with Allie that balancing her role at Portfolio along with her family can sometimes be demanding. But both are sources of fulfillment, great pride and joy.

“I’m humbled to be a part of strategic thinking and strategic groups because of not only my tenure but also because of my reputation and the relationships I’ve built,” she says. “I’m excited to help impact Portfolio’s growth at a high level.”