Alice Pellegrino is a Deputy General Counsel in the Hartford Funds legal group, providing advice to Hartford Funds Management Company, LLC and Hartford Funds, including both mutual funds and ETFs, with respect to the federal securities laws, including the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. She also serves as a Vice President and Assistant Secretary of the Hartford Funds.
Here is what Alice had to say when we asked her about skill development and professional growth:
GenHERation®: As a student, how can you learn about different industries to determine what career path you want to pursue?
Alice Pellegrino: I was thinking about how much more is available these days than when I was first figuring out my career, so you should take advantage of all the resources out there. One of the biggest things you should do is network. Reach out to alumni from your school and ask them about their career journey. What are they doing now? How did they get to their current role? You should also attend conferences that are open to the public. Go to conferences to learn about different industries and meet people. Lastly, do something during the summer when you are in high school and college to figure out what you like and dislike. Whether this is a formal internship, shadow day, or immersion program, do something! My mantra is “you learn by doing,” so explore areas you are interested in.
GenHERation®: Why did you decide to attend law school?
Pellegrino: My path was circuitous. My undergraduate degree was in Latin and Greek, and I started out as an academic. I did some teaching and went to graduate school thinking I was going to get a PhD. Halfway through, I went back to D.C., where my family was from. I was always interested in the legal aspects of what I studied, so I became a paralegal—this is a great role to try if you are deciding if you want to attend law school or not. Being a paralegal gave me a great understanding of what it was like to be a lawyer and led me to attend law school.
GenHERation®: In your current role, what is the most important skill you utilize on a daily basis?
Pellegrino: The skills I developed working in the academic world, including research and writing. I write prospectuses. I write for clients. I write for the fund board. Every day, I have to make sense of things for other people, so it is really important for me to research properly and write well.
GenHERation®: How can you improve your attention to detail skills?
Pellegrino: It is a vital and hard skill to learn. It takes discipline and you have to train yourself. You need to understand how important it is to hone this skill. Whenever I got an assignment as a paralegal and an associate, they would give us a rule. I read it through word by word. If you read them superficially, they often make no sense. I made myself stop and read through every single word to make sure I understood. You just need to keep doing that type of reading until it becomes second nature.
GenHERation®: What are three steps you can take to build your emotional intelligence?
Pellegrino: First, understand that it is a work in progress. You really have to think about it all the time and try to make sure you are reaching out and understanding people. Second, learn to read the room whether it is filled with one person or 100 people. Are people paying attention? Are you making them mad? Appreciate how others are feeling. If you give a speech after lunch and notice people are tired, think of how you can engage with them. Third, listen. You have to actively listen to what other people are saying. What are they saying? What are they not saying? How are they projecting? Don’t just listen to respond. Listen with intention.
GenHERation®: How can you continually develop your skills as a professional whether you are a recent graduate or a senior leader?
Pellegrino: For me, the most important part is you have to be open to change. Look for new opportunities and be willing to take them on. I got to the point in my own career where I was an individual contributor, but I wanted to manage people. I wasn’t naturally skilled at it, but I got to the point where I was running the paralegal team. Another example is that Hartford Funds used to be primarily a mutual funds company. Nobody in the company was focusing on ETFs. Even though I had no experience with ETFs, I told my manager I was willing to be the support for them because I was willing to learn. Put yourself out there and take the chance to fail, so you can learn and grow.
GenHERation®: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Pellegrino: When I was at Stanford in the PhD program in classics, I wasn’t really thinking about things. One of the professors made it clear she didn’t think I had a passion for it. Do what you want to do and not what other people want you to do, or what other people think you should be doing. Understand what you want to do and do what’s important to you.
Alice Pellegrino is a senior attorney in the Hartford Funds legal group, providing advice to Hartford Funds Management Company, LLC and Hartford Funds, including both mutual funds and ETFs, with respect to the federal securities laws, including the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. She also serves as a Vice President and Assistant Secretary of the Hartford Funds.
In 2007, Alice joined the organization as an assistant vice president and was promoted to vice president in 2012. She was named Deputy General Counsel of Hartford Funds in 2022. Prior to joining the company, she was a director at BlackRock, Inc. (2006-2007) and Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, LLC (1997-2006). She also served as an associate at what is now K&L Gates (1992-1996). Alice is a member of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia Bar.
Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Alice received her JD from the Georgetown Law Center in 1992, an MA in classics from Stanford University in 1987, and a BA in Latin and Greek from Duke University in 1982. She lives in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.