This article is part of a series of posts from National Life’s Women’s Inclusion Network. WIN is a concentration of bright and forward-thinking women (and men!) who collaborate on the leadership development, diversification, and empowerment of National Life’s female field affiliates and home office employees. This week we celebrate Dawn and all of our incredible Administrative Leaders and Professionals in honor of and in tribute to Administrative Professionals’ Month.
Dawn Lee Minter is the Executive Assistant to the Chairman, CEO & President and Administrative Lead of National Life Group. She is passionate about her chosen profession and is inspired every single day by the people she works beside. As a member of National Life’s Executive Leadership Team, Dawn believes in balancing the needs of multiple stakeholders through open communication, collaboration and being kind. Not afraid to color outside of the lines, Dawn is an integrator, advisor and anchor.
Dawn delivers results with purpose, focus and a no-nonsense attitude. She lives to serve not only her profession but also her community, friends and family.
Administrative professionals are without a doubt the backbone of any organization. What is the most challenging aspect of an administrator’s role? What’s the best part?
I’ll start with the best part. Hands down partnering, relationships and making connections. Being an ambassador of the company is a privilege and honor. Another best is the dynamic work environment, focusing on the output and deliverables instead of the number hours spent—every single day is different and I find that motivating. The most challenging is the expectation that administrative professionals can read minds—communication is essential.
What do you like most about what you do at National Life?
The shared respect and love of the National Life family. The moment I walked in the door I felt the warm embrace—especially from the Distribution Field Leaders. They kindly took me under their wing, showed me the ropes and I have been learning and growing ever since. Administrative Professionals at National Life have a seat at the table and are valued for their contributions. We don’t just schedule and manage calendars, which are very important—we are the gateway not the gatekeeper.
You are the Executive Assistant to our Chairman, CEO & President Mehran Assadi. How do you Co-Lead with one another?
It may seem obvious but consistent communication is key to prioritization and execution and ultimately achieving targets and goals. My seat at the table provides an enterprise-wide vantage point and insight that helps me to support Mehran, the Executive Leadership Team and the Board of Directors as we collaboratively make decisions to benefit the company and our clients.
Mehran and I are business partners with a foundation of mutual respect. It takes time to build a solid relationship and we have worked together for more than 12 years. The life and business of a Chairman, CEO & President is incredibly complex. There are multiple business areas at various growth stages, challenges to solve across the enterprise, fragile distribution relationships to nurture and don’t forget finding time enough to be human with a life outside the company. I help him to prioritize, balance and -occasionally create space to unplug.
What leadership quality do you most admire and aspire to?
Integrity, hands down. In my humble opinion, integrity is the guiding light to how we function in the world. It aligns what you say and do with your values, promises and vision.
I believe that we are all leaders. I aspire to bring value to others—make our organization, and world for that matter, a better place. Collectively we can make a difference.
Do you have a cause or a favorite “Do good” passion?
Playing a role and being engaged with my small village community is my passion. I have immersed myself, established roots and volunteer where there is a need, which has been a moving target over my 24 years in Waterbury. Revitalizing Waterbury needed to raise money to restore the train station to its former glory, so I joined the Board. The Children’s Room drop-in child center I frequented when my children were young needed help, so I joined the Board. Last year I joined the Board of the Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation and am excited to help them move the needle on community-based programs for families and children.
Is there a woman in your life who has played a significant role or inspired you to get where you are today?
I have had the good fortune to have many strong inspiring women in my life—quite a few right here at National Life. I do have to say that my Nana (my father’s mother) is at the top of the list. She was born in 1906 and when I was heading out into the world, she was almost 80. I grew up hearing her fascinating stories of being a working woman in the roaring ‘20s and beyond. Another is my childhood friend Mary Carmen who is a treasured life coach that keeps me grounded.
What advice would you give to those who are just beginning their careers?
Be yourself but know who that is. Self-awareness is vital to success. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be intentional and mindful—you are in the driver’s seat.
What attracted you to National Life and what would you tell someone who is considering an opportunity with us?
I am a true believer in life insurance and have seen firsthand how it protects families. When looking into National Life, I was intrigued both by the rich history of doing well by our policyholders and the opportunity to be a part of that continuity and legacy.
National Life is a place of opportunities where you can learn, develop and grow. There is no glass ceiling here.
Any other words of wisdom that you’d like to share?
To make an impact you must be intentional. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Seek opportunities rather than waiting for a silver platter.
Thank you, Dawn!