Ray Allen, Department of Financial Institutions

IB Wisconsin's Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet the state's professionals. This week features Ray Allen, deputy secretary of the Department of Financial Institutions.

Business Address: 345 W. Washington Ave., 5th Fl., Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608-264-7800
Email: ray.allen@wisconsin.gov
Website: www.wdfi.gov
Birthplace: Milwaukee
Spouse/Partner’s Name: Linda Allen
Board Membership: St. Mary’s Foundation, DMI
Organizations: The Madison Times (owner), The Paradies Shops (partner) 

Ray, I’d like to start with the question we usually save for last. Can you pick three words that you think best describe you?
Advocate.  Idealistic. Practical.

I’d add “complex” to the adjectives because you’ve consistently worn a lot of hats, and IB knows you as a newspaper publisher and business owner as well as state employee.
Each achievement has its own special satisfaction; however, serving on the Madison School Board was the most demanding.

Understandably so! How long have you been working at the Department of Financial Institutions, and what does a deputy secretary do?
I have worked for the state for 24 years, serving at the Department of Financial Institutions the past 14 years. As deputy secretary, I oversee the general operations of the agency that encompass financial industry regulation and business entity incorporation.

What is the most important responsibility, or goal?
To ensure that the agency performs its regulatory functions in a manner that protects the public interest without imposing unnecessary burdens on those we regulate.

We like to acknowledge mentors, as the idea of a self-made man or woman is highly overstated. Do you have people – no politicians, please! – who helped you along the way?
I have had three major influences on my career development. First was my father, who instilled in me the values of education and hard work. Second was a minister, who expanded my outlook on life beyond Milwaukee’s inner city. Third was a journalism professor at UW, who provided academic support and assistance.

Did you always want to be in business?
In high school, my career choice was architectural.

And your first job – doing what, and how much did you make? Can you remember that first paycheck?
I worked as a porter for the Greyhound bus company in Milwaukee. That first check’s take home was under $300 for two weeks. I used the money toward the down payment on a car.

Anything you’d like to share about your family?
My wife, Linda, is probably one of the best-kept secrets in the Madison School District. She has served as principal of Lincoln, Thoreau, and currently Chavez. It’s hard to go anywhere in the city without a student, former student, or parent stopping to thank her for some deed of goodness. And nothing brings me more joy than spending time with my two grandsons, ages 7 and 8. Their energy and sense of discovery are priceless.

Do you have a favorite travel destination?
New York. Endless opportunities for excellent food and entertainment.

You publish. Do you also read – for fun?
I love to read – mostly nonfiction and biographies.  Currently I’m reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

Is there a character in a book or a movie that you would identify with?
Rudy. I’m an overachiever.

Thanks for your time answering these questions to show the more private Ray Allen to our readership, deputy secretary.
Thanks for the opportunity.

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