"All obstacles and controversies have reasonable and valuable solutions." -Glen A. Holden
Ambassador Holden earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Oregon in 1951. While attending the university, the Ambassador worked in a campus clothing store where he met a local insurance agent who sparked his interest in the industry. Holden began taking classes in insurance and finance and assisted a professor with a Life Insurance Seminar where he recruited local executives to speak to the class.
This led to a long and successful career in the life insurance industry beginning with the formation of Glen Holden and Associates, which Holden pioneered in 1956 with locations in Oregon, Washington and California until 1963. In 1964, the Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC) recruited him as their marketing director in Washington, DC.
“I was willing to invest my time, leave my current place, use my own money and take all the risk, but I wanted to be paid based on what I achieved.”
From 1964-1973, Holden served as president and director and guided the company to pioneer the variable annuity product in the United States. The Ambassador and his wife Gloria returned to the west coast in 1973 as founder, President, CEO and Chairmen of the Board of The Holden Group, all of its subsidiaries, and its predecessor, Security First Group. Ambassador Holden also owned Capitol Life Insurance Company of Denver, Colorado and several other financial companies which are now owned and operated by The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York.
At the request of President George Bush (41), Holden served as the United States Ambassador to Jamaica from April 1989 until March 1993. Holden became deeply dedicated to the nation and its people and ultimately served as the chair of the charitable organization, American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ), for fourteen years. Upon leaving his post as chair of the AFJ in 2007, he shared with the Jamaica Gleaner “I love Jamaica and the Jamaican people, and I will always be around to help in whatever way I can. I wish the best for the country and its wonderful people.”
Ambassador Holden grew up on a ranch outside of Portland, Oregon from the age of six where he developed a passion for horses and eventually polo. His Gehache Team has played 25 straight years in the Pacific Coast Open Championship and has played in the U.S. Open several times, winning the championship in 1993.
He was inducted into the Museum of Polo Hall of Fame. For 10 years Ambassador Holden was Governor of the U.S. Polo Association, and a founder and member of the Council of Administration of the Federacion Internacional de Polo (FIP), which is the governing body for the sport of polo in the International Olympics. He has served as President of FIP commencing January 1997 and ending his nine-year term in December 2005. He is a trustee of 34 years of the Santa Barbara Polo Club.
Achievements and Civic Engagements
Holden has been honored for business achievements, including the National Association of Variable Annuities Companies (NAVA) Hall of Fame award, as well as many other civic and business awards.
Ambassador Holden's involvement in numerous civic, cultural and educational activities included membership on the Board of Directors of the California Chamber of Commerce, and Founder of the Citizens for American Educational Foundation (CFA). He has also held memberships in the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, the International Foundation for Learning Disabilities of Los Angeles and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hugh O'Brian Youth Foundation. Ambassador Holden has also enjoyed past and present memberships in most of the major professional organizations related to the Life Insurance and Securities industries.
Ambassador Holden was named a Man of Principle by his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. Holden feels the Fraternity and Sorority Community offers students an opportunity to make their own choices and have something to live up to. While Holden was living in the house, he and a close friend worked to reclaim their charter resulting in better grades and workmanship that stuck with all the guys.
Ambassador Holden received an Honorary Doctorate of Philanthropy and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Pepperdine University. He was the recipient of the American Humanics Hand to Youth Award and its Exemplar Award in 1986. In 1990, he received the Oxford Cup, Beta Theta Pi fraternity's most prestigious alumni award. The Ambassador was the inaugural recipient of The National Association of Variable Annuity (NAVA) Hall of Fame Award. He also was inducted into the U.S. Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame.
Beta Theta Pi Fraternity
Chartered Financial Analyst Institute
Council of American Ambassadors Vice Chair
Council on Foreign Relations
Federation of International Polo President (past)
Institute of the Americas
Los Angeles World Affairs Council Board member
National Legal Center for the Public Interest Board member
Pacific Council on International Policy
Pepperdine University - Administrator: Board of Regents
US Ambassador to Jamaica (1989-93)
Variable Annuity Life Insurance President (1964-73)