Celebrating Advancement: Kourtney Mason Becomes Regional Director for Claim Account Executives
Kourtney Mason, Auto Liability Claim Manager, recently accepted a position as Regional Director for Claim Account Executives at Travelers. As she transitioned into the role in March 2022, we sat down with Kourtney to discuss her thoughts on this significant moment, her passion for diversity, equity and inclusion as well as her dedication to one other area of passion and servitude – mental health.
How long have you been at Travelers and what led up to this moment?
“I have been with Travelers for over 10 years. I’ve been a manager in the Claim organization for a little over seven and a half years. I’ve always wanted to serve in a higher level of leadership, which would be a Director role. This Regional Director opportunity came up and I just went for it. I felt like I could add value.”
Tell us about that moment when you learned you were to become a Regional Director for Claim Account Executives at Travelers.
“To be honest, I’m still trying to process so many emotions and come up with a good way to say how I feel but I’m just still so overwhelmed. I’ve been explaining to people that when you come from a background like mine, a person of color and, more specifically, a Black woman, you have dreams and you go for things but there is still a part of you that isn’t sure if you totally believe in yourself. So, when the moment happened, it was so surreal.”
How does diversity, equity and inclusion roll up into your leadership style?
“To me, diversity, equity and inclusion is far beyond race and ethnicity. It’s gender identity, sexual orientation, age, neurodiversity, there are so many different lanes. So, I’ve always had the leadership style of including everybody, making sure everyone feels they are a part of the team, and adapting my leadership style to whoever I’m with. Having one static leadership style won’t relate to everyone; it needs to be dynamic and adaptive. It’s about being authentic, being genuine, listening, and having empathy. I lead with this at work but it’s not very different from who I am at home, at church, at the grocery store or anywhere else. It’s who I am at my core.”
You’ve noted that mental health is something else you are very passionate about. Can you tell us more?
“Personally, I am very open about having anxiety. It took me several years to understand that I had it, but once I did and I began to unlearn the conditioning and pressure from my upbringing, it opened up a whole world for me. I thought, if I feel this way, I can’t imagine the percentage of the population I’m leading that also feels this way.
I co-lead a Diversity and Inclusion/Community Action group within Claim and for several years I wanted to have a platform to discuss mental health. My leaders supported me and gave me that platform and now we host panels and conversations where people can share their stressors, what they’re doing to cope and understand that they are not alone in their mental health journey.
If we understand what those around us are going through, we can create empathy and lead each other through it. If we ignore that people are dealing with life outside of work, we aren’t reaching them. Mental health shouldn’t be a taboo topic and I think if we keep fostering an open and safe environment, we’ll find that we’re all uniquely made, and we all deserve the resources and support.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
“I am just so grateful and blessed. I never thought I’d be where I am today, working in insurance, but here I am. Travelers is a place for everyone, and I mean that. Whether you are an attorney, an actuary, a nurse, you love math, you love science, you simply care for people, whatever it may be, there is a whole world within this company that will support who you are and what you do. The resources and the support are here. There is a place for you at Travelers.”