40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Chris Olson

Vice President, MassMutual; Age 39; Education: BSBA, Stonehill College; MBA, UMass Amherst

Chris Olson

Chris Olson

Olson is responsible for resilience, information governance, and IT infrastructure for MassMutual. He started his career as a certified business continuity planner. During that time, he served as a committee chairman for LOMA, a faculty guest speaker for Symantec, and a featured presenter at DRJ Fall World in San Diego, and was published in the Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning and Corporate Security magazine. He is currently a board member for the American Red Cross of Western Massachusetts.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A police officer.

What do you like most about Western Massachusetts? The amazing breadth of culture and history jammed into a relatively small geographical area.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? Brad Hoffman, risk officer at MassMutual. Brad took me under his wing when I was a new manager, and he helped me truly understand my strengths, opportunities to improve, and the value that I could bring in my role.

What actor would play you in a movie about your life? Brad Pitt.

What fictional character do you relate to most, and why? Edward Bloom from Big Fish. He set out to do whatever was necessary to give his family a comfortable life. He valued relationships and gave of himself at every opportunity. As he grew up, he made an effort to help those around him benefit from his years of experience through storytelling, which is a very important tool for modern leaders.

Whom do you look up to, and why? My father. Throughout his entire life, he has served the community as an educator. Even today, in his 70s, he donates a significant amount of his time to help local youth learn about science and engineering and explore these options as potential career paths. He asks for nothing in return.

What will work colleagues say at your funeral? He was always there when we needed him, and he went out of his way to make our work rewarding. He did not shy away from making decisions, even when they were difficult.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? John F. Kennedy. He charismatically led the country through some incredibly difficult times. He made it his mission in life to stand up to corruption and help those who couldn’t help themselves.

Photography by Leah Martin Photography