Stephen Brand, Senior Director of Architecture on our Enterprise Architecture and Emerging Technology team, has been with us under the umbrella since April of 2021. During his time on our team, he has discovered the company culture we are proud of, opportunities to learn and grow and our commitment to innovation, technology and the growing field of architecture.
He is glad he chose to bring his career to Travelers and wants to share why you might also consider exploring a career on our team.
My Adventures in Architecture at Travelers
By Stephen Brand
Senior Director, Architecture
In the new year, I took some time to reflect on my career journey and how it has led me to my current position. Being in the technology industry, I have made a series of professional decisions that led me to one choice that I’m glad I made – joining the Enterprise Architecture and Emerging Tech team at Travelers.
While thinking about my time at Travelers, thus far, I have come up with three key factors any architecture job seeker should consider when choosing a career path with a new company:
As any good architect or architecture leader will tell you, relationships are the lifeblood of the work we do. Yes, in a technology group, we always have our eye on the technology and the future directions it will undoubtedly take us, but it’s really the people who help drive you.
Joining an organization full-time, remotely, during a pandemic was undoubtedly a risky proposition. That being said, to say that my manager and team embraced me when I joined is an understatement. I have been able to have conversations with colleagues from across the organization – from engineers to chief architects to CIOs and everyone in between.
When you work at Travelers, you will work with talented technologists who are innovating products that are impacting the lives of our customers and employees. What’s even more refreshing about Travelers’ culture is that all ideas are encouraged and welcomed by everyone at all levels. Hackathons, Competitions and Innovation Jams are commonplace and have resulted in incredible patents, product offerings and awards. The tech, collaboration and teamwork I have experienced at Travelers thus far has been exceptional.
Learning & Growth Opportunities:
When choosing a company, learning and development opportunities are paramount, particularly in the technology field that is constantly changing and evolving. It is important to understand how a company supports its employees’ development so everyone can learn and grow.
Not a day goes by where there hasn’t been something new to learn and a team of leaders who support education along the way. When I took this role as a Senior Director of Architecture supporting Bond & Specialty Insurance (B&SI), it was one of the few remaining areas of insurance technology in which I had no prior experience – but I was determined to learn.
Early on, I attended training courses designed to educate employees on the B&SI business. During these sessions, key executives from the unit were on hand to discuss business strategy and what differentiates Travelers in the market. This type of interaction also provided another opportunity to build relationships within the community. The learning tools I acquired during these courses will continue to come in handy as my career journey at Travelers progresses.
From a technology learning perspective, I’ve also seen a huge commitment to modernization efforts and the upskilling needed to get there. Travelers is funding the education and certification for AWS and our leadership is leading by example in this regard.
Commitment to Architecture:
I knew I was walking into something special from my first interview with the architecture teams and leaders at Travelers. I’ve been at big companies most of my career, including several Fortune 100 companies, but I’ve never been at a place that values architecture quite like Travelers does.
Travelers has already started its own agile, digital and cloud transformations. Whether working on the latest cloud technologies, using machine learning to analyze customer correspondence or helping to ensure our systems are modernized and reliable for our customers and employees, I’m proud that my team is at the forefront of these critical initiatives.
As Travelers focuses on performing for today and transforming for the future, it’s not only about our current work. We are focused on what’s next in architecture and technology, and our business is committed to ensuring that we have the talent to succeed by expanding roles and career opportunities for architects across the company. This considerable investment in architecture is really exciting.
I couldn’t be prouder of being here at Travelers and going through this journey with my team. I truly hope some of you will join us on our adventure.
By Lynn Simon-Thomas
Manager, Diversity Engagement
For some people, making professional connections can be a rather challenging and intimidating task. Then, when you throw in extraordinary times like those in which we’re currently living, the fear factor goes from, “What if I blow this because I say something silly?” to “What if I blow this because I look a mess on camera?” I know, I get it. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
One thing to keep in mind when you’re networking, whether virtually or in person, is that the other person is just that: a person. Just like you, they are a human being who has dreams and goals, family and friends, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and, of course, quirks and idiosyncrasies that make them unique and interesting. Who knows? You may have something in common, but you’ll never know if you don’t accept the invite, phone call or email to connect.
Once you’ve made a new connection, it’s important to stay connected, even when you are unable to do it face-to-face. It’s no secret we’ve all had to get used to having more Zoom conversations than we care to count and learning how to “show up” in a virtual environment is an art in and of itself. But just about anything is possible when you focus and commit adequate time and effort.
If you stop to think about it, everyone (yes, even you) has a network. Starting with family and friends, you probably have people you can count on to help guide you with sound advice, as well as those who may periodically seek your advice. Professional networks are no different. They’re just as, if not more, important than personal ones, as they can impact the trajectory of your career path. And just like any living thing, they need to be fed and nurtured to remain healthy. As a Diversity Recruiting Manager, I regularly share articles or just send a note to my connections to say, “Hello.”
In 2021 we started a program called Just Coffee at Travelers to help facilitate network building. The goal was to connect several passive candidates with leaders at Travelers for an informal, yet professional, conversation via Zoom. To ensure both parties remained at ease, we reminded them that the conversation was not an interview, but really an opportunity to make a new connection and build their respective networks. Just Coffee has been well-received by both candidates and Travelers’ leaders, which has shown me that many people are still open to the idea of spending 30 minutes with another human, simply for the sake of getting to know someone new. That’s networking at its finest.
Networking is an art that must be practiced regularly. Below I’ve included a few tips to help you improve your networking skills.
Lynn’s Top 4 Networking Tips:
Lynn Simon-Thomas is Manager, Diversity Engagement within Talent Acquisition. Lynn has over 15 years of experience in recruiting and diversity engagement. She serves as the diversity and inclusion subject matter expert focused on the execution of targeted diverse talent sourcing strategies.
Have you ever considered a data science career within the insurance industry? This may not have crossed your mind before, but you may want to think again.
Kevin Mahoney, Vice President of Data Science at Travelers, understands the data and analytics that drive business decisions within the insurance industry and appreciates the innovative technologies used by our teams at Travelers that help provide the right solutions for the lives and businesses of the customers we’re privileged to serve.
Kevin appeared on an episode of The Data Standard Audio Experience podcast to answer the question: “What is data science like in the insurance space?” He described how the law of large numbers and predictive modeling connect to the world of insurance.
“I don’t have to predict exactly what will happen to any one customer, but I really have to be able to accurately predict what will happen in aggregate to millions of customers so I can adequately price insurance policies,” Kevin said during the interview.
He also shared his unique career path from serving in the U.S. Coast Guard to working as a math instructor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and then onto his 15-year career in data science at Travelers.
“I remember having a conversation with a recruiter at Travelers and he asked me what I wanted to do, and I said I want to do something with statistics,” Kevin recalled.
He went on to say he wasn’t initially sure how statistics fit into insurance but has since learned that data and analytics are central to the industry and having the ability to apply his skills to practical applications has provided a rewarding career path at Travelers.
“You know when it all comes together: the math, the theory, the programming skills, the business challenge, that can be very gratifying to bring all those together and apply your skills to real-world problems.”
Are you a data scientist or a future data scientist considering an insurance career? Listen to the full podcast to learn more about the intersection between data science and insurance at Travelers.
Join our technology & analytics talent community to receive job alerts.
Let’s Get Moving
The power of supporting parents and caregivers isn’t just a movement – it will get you moving. For many of us, self-care continues to be a top priority. Travelers’ Working Parent & Caregiver Resource Group introduced its latest event with excitement, focusing on employee balance through mental and physical health for everyday living. Employee Joelle Rees walked our parents and caregivers through a 20-minute ‘Balance of Opposite Forces’ class that included strengthening, stretching and meditation right from the comfort of our home office!
Say Hello to Joelle Rees, your ‘Balance of Opposite Forces’ instructor
Joelle Rees is one of our talented employees in our Claim Operations organization out of the Ontario, CN office. Joelle was on the Canadian National Gymnastics Team and competed internationally for Team Canada. In 2000, she competed as a Junior in the Pan American Games in Brazil and in 2001, she went to the World Championships in Ghent, Belgium. After her gymnastics career, Joelle worked for Imagination Entertainment and was an Acrobat in Cirque De La Mer at Sea World in San Diego.
Joelle’s passion for the arts led her to continue her journey in teaching and coaching. She has taught both competitive and recreational dance as well as coached gymnastics and sports aerobics to children for many years. Joelle is a certified personal trainer, working with adults and designing sport-specific programming for children. In addition to instructing the ‘Balance of Opposite Forces’ class, Joelle has hosted virtual dance parties for the children of the Working Parent & Caregiver Resource Group.
The Power of Travelers is Us
It is because of passionate people like Joelle that this voluntary organization can provide a supportive environment for parents and caregivers. At Travelers, we are all committed to helping our employees be healthy and productive in every aspect of life. The Working Parent & Caregiver Resource Group is just one of the many resources available to all employees and temporary employees at Travelers. Some of the additional resources include:
If interested, learn more about our exciting career opportunities here.
Yafit Cohn is Travelers’ first Chief Sustainability Officer, responsible for leading environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts across the company. Under her leadership and through extensive research and comprehensive conversations with investors and senior individuals across the company – we identified 16 drivers of sustained value, which are discussed on our sustainability website. Each driver contributes to our long-term value, and each is essential to our ability to remain competitive and deliver on the Travelers Promise.
What does sustainability mean to Travelers?
Travelers takes a holistic view of sustainability; we believe that a company’s long-term value creation depends not only on its financial strategy but also on the way it manages various economic, environmental, and social factors.
We recognize that our long-term success requires that we do three things successfully:
Why is it important for Travelers to put a greater focus on these efforts?
Customers, employees, and prospective hires have been showing greater interest in sustainability-related information. For us, it’s a no-brainer. Showcasing our drivers of sustained value is key to explaining our core belief that our long-term success depends not only on our business strategy and competitive advantages but also on keeping our promise. Only by faithfully keeping the Travelers Promise will we earn the support of key stakeholders essential to creating shareholder value. And only by successfully creating shareholder value will we earn the resources we need to keep the Travelers Promise. One is not possible without the other.
How will Travelers track and quantify the success of our sustainability efforts?
Our success will be apparent when our stakeholders appreciate Travelers’ deeply rooted recognition that long-term success depends on a commitment to all stakeholders. For us, sustainability is not a branding exercise — it’s how we conduct business and create shareholder value.
Kimberly H., Senior Sales Executive at Travelers, went in for a routine colonoscopy in January 2021 and left the appointment with the news that she had stage 4 colon cancer.
“I remember waking up and finding out,” Kimberly said, “I was shocked. These things always happen to someone else, never to you. I had been healthy my entire career.”
In 2019, Kimberly’s doctor had recommended she get the scan the following year as typical proactive health protocol. With the COVID-19 pandemic in full force in 2020, Kimberly pushed the appointment off. When her doctor found out, he urged her to go in 2021. “I called my doctor right after I found out the news and thanked him,” Kimberly explained, “If he hadn’t been so professionally demanding, I probably would’ve put it off for another year.”
Doctors quickly discovered that the cancer had already spread to Kimberly’s lungs. She underwent two surgeries to remove as much as possible and was assigned six months of chemotherapy post-op. “I was fortunate to only have to go through six months of chemo,” Kimberly said, “I saw stage 4 patients who were assigned 12 months ongoing. I had bought two wigs thinking I’d lose all my hair. I didn’t. I was lucky in many ways.”
Kimberly was on medical leave for nine months during treatment and is now in No Evidence of Disease (NED) status, also called remission. She is back at work, assisting Travelers’ agents and doing what she loves.
When asked how she stayed resilient during that time, Kimberly smiled. “My team and insurance industry partners were amazing,” she recalled, “They sent me cards, flowers, emails, prayers, meals – an overwhelming amount of support. Halfway through my chemo treatments my husband said we needed a bigger refrigerator to hold all the cards!”
It wasn’t just the emotional support that assisted Kimberly during this difficult time. It was the financial support as well. “Long-term disability is a benefit that you never think you will use,” Kimberly said, “I was so grateful that I had it. I didn’t have to worry about my job or my income while I was out. I could just focus on my health.”
Travelers’ comprehensive benefits program offers short- and long-term disability coverage, medical, dental and vision plans, paid time off, 401k Savings Program with company match and so much more. “The company has been great to work with,” Kim reflected, “During my leave, they reached out and helped me understand the LTD process, file paperwork, and even connected me with cancer support groups after treatment. I am one of the biggest advocates for our benefits package. I’m so thankful for my colleagues, my agents and for Travelers.”
Since 2018, Travelers has hosted more than a dozen military fellows through the Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) Corporate Fellowship Program. HOH is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation program devoted to connecting service members with career opportunities that lead to on-the-job experience and, in many cases, full-time employment.
We are excited to introduce you to one of our fellows, U.S. Army Col. Glen Chancellor, who participated in our 2021 fall HOH Fellowship Program cohort.
Glen is beginning a new chapter in the civilian corporate world after his 34-year career, serving in both the active and reserve components. While at Travelers, Glen split his time between Bond Underwriting and Talent Acquisition to create a hybrid experience that will tap into his human resources and recruiting background as well as his business and insurance experience.
“Because I enjoyed working in and had a good understanding of the insurance industry, I chose to look for opportunities that would incorporate my military and civilian work experience in a position that would be meaningful and rewarding,” said Glen.
During his military career, Glen served in many roles, most recently with the U.S. Army Cadet Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky. There, he was the primary advisor responsible for all aspects of commissioning Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Cadets into Army National Guard officers for all U.S. states and territories.
Previously, he served in the Army National Guard in a Reserve status and worked full-time in property and casualty insurance as a Loss Control Inspector and Premium Auditor.
Glen learned about Travelers by participating in the American Corporate Partners Mentorship Program. His positive mentee experience helped him learn about our inclusive workplace culture and provided networking opportunities that led him to his current HOH role.
“When the time came for me to apply for the Hiring Our Heroes Fellowship, Travelers was the first and only company that I requested to sponsor me as a military fellow.”
While on our team, Glen provided valuable insight into military recruiting efforts and engaged with military members and spouses during virtual career fairs. He shared various opportunities that suit those transitioning into civilian careers.
“Travelers is much more than insurance sales. While sales are vital to keeping the business opportunities growing, most current openings are in business operations and directly connect to military occupations and skills.”
In addition to helping make the transferable skill connection, identifying skills as a military member and matching them to a role is only part of the equation. According to Glen, marketing those specialized skills while connecting with employers is also key.
“Veterans have many skills that most non-veteran populations have never developed. Many employers desire that talent to enable their workforce to achieve the company goals. Learn to ask for help in connecting with employers and endorsing those talents that you bring to the table.”
If you are interested in connecting with a member of our team, join our military talent community.
In this Power of Travelers Is Us video, you will meet Jhavier L., a Software Engineer at Travelers.
While he understands and values the importance of sharing his authentic self at work, it has been a journey to grow his comfort level. He attributes his Travelers managers and mentors for guiding him along the way.
“Being earlier in my career, I don’t want to overstep or make anyone feel uncomfortable and I’m trying to kind of like find the space between which parts of myself should I leave at home,” Jhavier says in the video. Throughout his career under the umbrella, his membership of the Travelers Pride and Allies Diversity Network facilitated mentor relationships that encouraged him to be more open with his team.
“[My mentor] is teaching me that you bring your entire self to work. So I think the true benefit of Travelers as a whole, even outside of the diversity networks, is that you still have spaces on your day-to-day job with your main team where you can feel comfortable and share who you are.”
Within an inclusive community and with the guidance Jhavier has received, he has found Travelers to be a company where he can grow his technology career and a workplace culture that invites all unique ideas, perspectives and people to the table.
“[My mentor] has helped me to understand the importance of being seen and visible so that people would have more respect for your identity in different spaces.”
Watch the full video to hear more about Jhavier’s journey.
For working parents and other caregivers, finding a balance between the priorities of work and family is a constant challenge. Over the past couple years, many working parents and caregivers have been particularly challenged to keep up with their personal and professional responsibilities. Employees with young children may still face issues finding childcare due to current health concerns or limited availability.
During these challenging times, having the support of colleagues and access to resources has never been more important. Our Working Parent and Caregiver Resource Group provides a forum for employees to network, share tips and resources and show support for each other as they strive to balance their personal and professional commitments. Some of the support and resources include:
The Working Parent and Caregiver Resource Group was established in September, 2020 as a result of the pandemic and currently has over 1,300 members. This voluntary resource group is led by a team of selected employees to foster a supportive environment for parents and caregivers. All Travelers employees and temporary employees are welcome to join.