This Women’s History Month, we are profiling a series of National Life leaders to hear their experiences navigating both life and the financial industry as a woman. Check back for more posts throughout the month of March and beyond.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
As a Vice President of Independent Distribution, Jennifer works with some of National Life’s largest relationships providing sales, training and marketing support for life insurance and annuities. She is a Certified Financial Planner who is passionate about continuous learning. A past president of the Philadelphia chapter of Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS), she was last year’s WIFS Woman of the Year.
Q: What’s your career pathway been like? How did you get to where you are now?
A: I entered the field of insurance in 1991, working as an underwriter which provided a great opportunity to learn and take on new challenges. I was at Prudential for seven years fulfilling roles in everything from licensing and contracting, annuity sales and marketing, to compliance management. As a temporary career pivot, I stepped out of the traditional workplace environment and joined a law firm conducting financial analysis for their practice. I eventually made my way back to the field of insurance working at Provident Mutual and then finally fostered my career here at National Life.
Q: What do you like most about what you do at National Life?
A: I’m honored to be part of a company I feel proud of. I love being surrounded by servant leaders and to have the opportunity to provide my agents the tools and resources they need to become successful entrepreneurs.
Q: Has the industry landscape changed during your career? If so, what changes have you seen?
A: Yes. There are many more women in positions as successful leaders and recruiters. There’s also much greater diversity in our field partners now – ethnically, culturally, in terms of gender, and age — really just much more representative of our country.
Q: In honor of women’s history month, is there a woman who has inspired you in your life?
A: I find inspiration every day – I get to meet women who are doing amazing things through WIFS. On a personal level, my mom is also a huge source of inspiration for me. She passed away when I was 12 after a long battle with mental illness and cancer. She was courageous and strong.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who are just beginning their careers?
A: Never stop learning – whether formal or informal. Following your curiosity will lead you to the things you are most passionate about.
Q: What leadership quality do you most admire and aspire to?
A: I respect traditional leadership qualities like hard-charging assertiveness. I aspire to lead by that traditional value while also exhibiting my sense of humanity and kindness. I gravitate towards leaders who are emotionally intelligent and I would like to be remembered for cultivating that kind of leadership.
Q: Do you have a cause or a favorite “Do good” passion?
A: I volunteer with Best Friends animal society in Utah and am also an active advocate for historical education and preservation in Philadelphia.
Q: What attracted you to National Life and what would you tell someone who is considering an opportunity with us?
A: National Life is a terrific combination of a company that’s looking forward and a company that has the feeling of coming home.
Q: Any other words of wisdom that you’d like to share?
A: I want to remind women that there is still opportunity for greater achievement and inclusion. While things are better, we must ‘fight the good fight’ because there is still progress left to make.