Alumni Spotlight - George Schein

A busy, challenging year for Nationwide’s George Schein

Helping financial professionals navigate the changing landscape of qualified retirement, employee benefit plans

George Schein is counting the days until he can start presenting in person again.

As director for the Advanced Consulting Group for Nationwide Retirement Institute, Schein’s job is to explain to financial professionals how the products and services offered by Nationwide Financial can be used in various employer-sponsored employee benefit plans, including qualified plans, executive compensation, and even health and welfare plans.

“For the past year, I’ve been making a lot of online presentations – and webinars are not my favorite thing,” Schein said. “I prefer running my presentations in person like a college lecture. I want my audience members to raise their hands and ask me a question or go off-script. There’s no interaction during a webinar. I can’t really tell how I’m doing or whether anyone is paying attention.”

The employee benefits field has been especially busy as the passage of the SECURE Act and CARES Act has changed the retirement plans industry. “It was stressful working from home for so long, especially with a 3-year-old in the house when day care was shut down,” he said. “Things were particularly intense in March, April and May of last year.”

As corporate life gets back to normal this year, Schein is looking forward to traveling around the country to meet with Nationwide’s financial partners in person at industry conferences and workshops. He joined Nationwide in 2018 after more than four years as a member of BakerHostetler’s Employee Benefits team in Columbus.

Schein has undergraduate degrees in diplomacy and foreign affairs, international affairs, and German, and when he started law school, he had thoughts of perhaps joining the U.S. State Department and making a career in international diplomacy. “But then I sort of realized that I would be moving all the time, never really having a home, and I reconsidered,” he said.

He earned his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School and worked at Thompson Hine LLP before joining BakerHostetler, where he worked with Susan Lubow and Georgeann Peters. “Shortly after we adopted our daughter, I became aware of this opportunity through a friend at Nationwide, and it seemed like a good time to transition to an in-house position.” He and his husband are hoping to adopt a second child in the next year or two.

He still loves international travel and regrets that a planned European trip with his spouse and daughter was scheduled – and canceled – last year. Unfortunately, it has yet to be rescheduled. But in early June, the family headed to Hawaii for a vacation.

Schein has been an active volunteer for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for more than 10 years, and he served on the steering committees of the Columbus and Cincinnati chapters. He and his family live outside Columbus, near the family farm where he grew up. “We do a lot of hiking on the weekends,” he said. “My daughter likes to be outside and she’s not afraid to get dirty!”