Liam E. McGee

Liam E. McGee
Chairman, President & CEO, The Hartford

Headquarters: Hartford, Connecticut
Primary Business: Insurance
Revenues: $26.4 billion
Employees: 20,000

Creating Jobs by Unleashing Small Businesses

When I was a boy, my parents and I moved from Ireland to southern California, where I was brought up to view America as the land of economic opportunity and social mobility. I came to see that anything is possible in America. Its energy and passion are especially evident among the nation’s small business owners and entrepreneurs, who are my greatest source of confidence in the future.

One way to help more Americans find jobs is to make it easier for the country’s biggest job creators—small businesses—to invest, hire, and grow.

To learn how to help them succeed, The Hartford conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of small businesses ever, seeking the perspectives of 2,000 owners from across industries and the country.

We learned how big an issue taxes are, with 59 percent of these owners calling taxes a major risk to their business, second only to slow economic growth. Higher taxes would prompt more than half to postpone hiring. In addition, nearly three in five small business owners experience at least some difficulty obtaining capital. New thinking is needed to help small businesses secure funding for expansion.

For many years I worked within one of the world’s most ethnically diverse cities, Los Angeles, where a new economic engine has emerged—the thousands of immigrant entrepreneurs from Mexico, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Korea, India, and elsewhere. These entrepreneurs and their millions of counterparts across the country help drive America forward in good and bad economic times. Allowing more of them to remain on U.S. soil would keep some of that economic activity here.

Small businesses are the foundation of the American economy. If we can restore their confidence in the future, they can add jobs and help fuel growth. To eliminate uncertainty about the tax and regulatory environment and encourage small businesses to hire, political leaders in both parties need to reduce posturing and brinksmanship and focus on solving the country’s pressing policy issues. We should celebrate the people who invest, innovate, build, and bring new products and services to market. They offer proof that working hard, taking risks, and persisting in the face of obstacles will lead to success.

Education: BA, University of San Diego; MBA, Pepperdine University; JD, Loyola Law School
First Job: Delivering newspapers
What I’m Reading: Everything—news, politics, sports, history, biography, and more
My Philosophy: Live with integrity, courage, and passion, and recognize there are no shortcuts to self-fulfillment and success.
Best Advice: No matter how far you go in life, don’t forget those who came before you on whose shoulders you stand.
Interests: My family, reading, contemporary art, music, travel, staying fit