Getting to Know AAMI’s New CEO, Part II

Posted November 14, 2016

Robert Jensen with his dogs Derby and River.
Robert Jensen with his dogs Derby and River.

Today, Robert Jensen takes the reins as the new president and CEO of AAMI. Jensen is AAMI’s third president and CEO, succeeding Mary Logan who is retiring after a highly successful eight-year tenure. Logan is staying on with AAMI until the end of the year, wrapping up a few key tasks and helping with the transition.

Ahead of his first day, Jensen sat down with AAMI News to share a bit about himself and his initial thoughts about the association. In part I of this interview, Jensen talked about his career and his vision for AAMI’s future. In part II, he shares a bit more about his life outside of work.

Could you tell us a bit more about your family life?

I met Ellen, my partner of 10 years, at work—she also works for MITRE. We live a fairly quiet life, although I’m more of a homebody than she is. I’m used to doing social stuff for work, so when I have time to relax, I just want to relax. We have two dogs, and Ellen’s 12-year-old son stays with us occasionally. Before we moved to Maryland, he would stay with us two nights a week and then every other weekend, and when we move back to Virginia, I expect it will be the same.

What kind of dogs do you have?

The dogs—Derby and River—are Heinz-57 mixes, but they look a little bit like a kind of Australian shepherd. I adopted Derby from a rescue in Maryland. He was brought in from Kentucky and was extremely shy. He basically would prance around you about 20 feet away, and then if you sat still long enough, he would come over and say “hello” and then go back to prancing around you. So, he wanted to connect, but he wasn’t really good at getting to that point.

After about three to four weeks, he was making good progress, but we thought what we really needed was a “bridge dog”—a dog that was really human happy and would help Derby relearn that “people are our friends and members of our pack.” So, we went to look at a dog that Ellen had found, but when we got to the adoption event, the one that we went to see wasn’t exactly as we had expected. Then River came out of the truck and actually looked a lot like Derby. They almost look like brothers. He was very friendly, very gregarious, almost a clownish kind of pup. Derby is still more reserved, but he is a completely changed dog now.

They’re both really good boys, and every day when I wake up and I’ve got two dogs faces right next to me, I know that it’s going to be a good day.

We also have a cat. He’s a Cornish Rex, so he has curly hair. His name is Mijo.

What do you do in your spare time?

Spare time? Exactly what do you mean by that? Seriously, though, Ellen and I spend time together at her family’s cabin in northeast Maryland in the spring and summer months. In the winter, we like Washington Capitals hockey.

What was the last book you read?

It was a book about Antietam during the Civil War. I’m not a Civil War buff, but there are lots of lessons in leadership that can be learned from it. After reading the book, I was privileged to visit the battlefields with a PhD military historian to talk about decision making during the battle and the results.

What is your favorite movie?

I don’t have a favorite, but I tend to like comedies like Caddyshack, kind of odd stuff like Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill, and movies produced by Clint Eastwood. I have a gift in that I can see a movie, wait a year, and then not remember much of it.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

I used to teach ballroom dancing.

So does that mean we can look forward to seeing you on the dance floor in Austin, TX, during the AAMI 2017 Conference?

Well, I know how to two-step, and I have a cowboy hat and boots since I used to show horses on a fairly regular basis. So, yes—country music is my favorite music.

See: Getting to Know AAMI's New CEO, Part I