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Women’s Leadership Series: Stephanie Burmester

During Women’s History Month, we began profiling a series of National Life leaders to hear their experiences navigating both life and the financial industry as a woman.  We’ve decided to keep that momentum going…so stay with us as we continue to shine the spotlight on leadership.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Stephanie Burmester is Vice President of Life and Annuity Solutions at National Life Group. She is a key leader in product design and innovation.

Q: What has your career pathway been to where you are now…?

A:  I began my actuarial career at Price Waterhouse Coopers in New York City after college, and then moved up to Vermont to start my career at National Life in 2004.

Q: What do you like most about what you do at National Life?

A:  I really enjoy seeing projects move from idea to finished product, it’s really motivating to watch that whole process transpire and to see how it affects agents and policyholders as well. I also love working with a team of people to solve problems working within constraints, while balancing customer and company needs.

Stephanie and several other employees receiving an award from CEO Mehran Assadi

Q: Has the industry landscape changed during your career? If so, what changes have you seen?

A:  The industry landscape is constantly evolving – the economic and regulatory environment is also ever changing, and we are always learning to adapt and remain relevant to those changes. Look at what we’re going through right now, it’s amazing how people are supporting each other and adapting. National Life has a long history, and has weathered through challenging times in the past. 

Q: In honor of women’s history month, is there a woman who has inspired you in your life?

A: I’ve worked with and learned a lot from many great women throughout my career, so it’s hard to pick one in particular. But, in terms of public figures, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a source of inspiration in terms of how she advocates for women.

Q: What advice would you give to young women who are just beginning their careers?

A: Be an active participant. Share ideas, ask questions, and speak up if you are interested in learning something new.

Q: What leadership quality do you most admire and aspire to?

A: I aspire to be a leader who empowers those around her. I want my teammates to feel empowered through the knowledge of their why. If we’re aligned on our goals and the why behind them, it opens the door to multiple perspectives on the best way to accomplish those goals.  

Stephanie receiving the “competency” 7Cs award from CEO Mehran Assadi

Q: Do you have a cause or a favorite “Do good” passion?

A: I love the opportunity I have as a National Life employee to take advantage of our Share the Good matching campaign every November. It’s an impactful way for me to contribute to my local community through a variety of different charities that I hold close to my heart. In my personal life, I’m also passionate about being a vegetarian.

Q: What attracted you to National Life and what would you tell someone who is considering an opportunity with us?

A:  I wanted to work at a company with a great culture. Being in VT and working in the heart of the Green Mountains is also a nice plus. The advice I’d share with someone is this: you will work with great people here.  Everyone’s contribution really matters, and you will play an integral role in our success while also getting recognized for it. That isn’t something you always find at other companies.

Stephanie volunteering with her coworkers