By Hansford Johnson
Director, Human Resources
Enterprise Diverse Talent Sourcing & Engagement
Managing your career can be an arduous task, but a very necessary one. While managing one’s career is a priority, I find that many people will exhale after landing a job, settle into it and then stay in that job even after years of frustration or doubts about their career path. Who says you have to stop pursuing a “career” that is meaningful, gratifying and has some semblance of what you dreamed of or dressed up as during Career Day in elementary school?
There is something powerful about transferring what is in your head, what you dream about and what you envision, to what is on a piece of paper. A study done by Dominican University psychology professor, Dr. Gail Matthews, shows that those who write out their goals are 42% more likely to achieve their goals. You know what is even more powerful than writing down your goals? Following through with them. And it all starts with how you see and manage the 50 or so hours you spend working each week. I don’t have the exact answer because we are all uniquely different, but I hope these three principles can serve as maintenance or help you start managing you career – I call them The Three P’s of career navigation.
Passion is what gets you going. It is that “thing” you do until your brain hurts. It keeps you up at night, and then you wake up only to do it again. Steve Jobs famously said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” The best way to accomplish this is by starting with your passion. Otherwise, you will waste a lot of time trying to find it.
Now you are probably asking yourself, “How do I find it?” Again, I do not have a “one size fits all” answer, but you can start with these questions:
Often, we hear the words “passion” and “purpose” used synonymously. However, I like to think of passion as the catalyst and purpose as the totality. If passion is what gets you started, then purpose is what keeps you going. If we organize our life around our passion, we can turn our passion into our story, and then turn our story into something bigger – something that matters and is purposeful. The concept of purpose can be difficult, however here are some building blocks to figure it out:
The Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” If passion is your “what” and purpose is your “why,” then preparation is your “how.”
However you define success, and whichever ladder you choose to climb, it’s inevitable that you will face some adversity and setbacks in your professional pursuits, but it should not be for a lack of preparation. Here are a few tools that have helped me along the way:
Put your career in the right perspective. Breaking your career plan down into small action steps will keep your focus on your passion and your goals. Your career is a journey with many inflection points. Put pen to paper, begin with an end in mind, and start by figuring out your what (Passion), why (Purpose) and how (Preparation).
Here are a few more resources to help you figure out your what, why and how:
Hansford Johnson is Director, Human Resources for Enterprise Diverse Talent Sourcing & Engagement Strategies. Hansford has over 15 years of experience in human capital management and higher education leadership. He serves as the diversity and inclusion subject matter expert focused on the execution of targeted enterprise-wide diverse talent sourcing strategies.
Whether it be working on team projects with bottom-line impact, networking with senior leadership, or experiencing professional development workshops and events, there are many opportunities to take advantage of as a Travelers intern. We sat down with three interns who are spending their summer with us. Read on to hear about their first-hand experience under the umbrella.
Myron Adamson of Boston, Mass. is participating in a Bond & Specialty Insurance internship at Travelers this summer.
Adamson is currently studying Mathematics at Bunker Hill Community College. When it came to an internship at Travelers, Adamson says it was, “the perfect timing of the perfect opportunity.”
“I was ready to take the next step in my insurance career—earn an internship for growth and development at a prospective employer in the P&C sector, get a feel for their work culture, and develop relationships there,” Adamson says.
Adamson came across Travelers while networking at the 2019 CPCU annual conference, where he met a representative from the company who mentioned opportunities for the Underwriting Professional Development Program (UPDP) internship program. He kept an eye out for the position opening, applied, and is now working on the Commercial Surety team.
Although his role involves learning the insurance products offered, familiarizing himself with the enterprise, and delivering on individual and team projects throughout the summer, Adamson says his personal goal is to use these experiences to better himself as an underwriter.
“To this end, I deem this internship a professional evaluation experience that continues to make me more aware of who I am now while also indicating who I need to become, and how I may make those changes,” Adamson says.
A few years after moving from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Manchester, Conn. in 2014, Rubaiya Sultana attended Eastern Connecticut State University where she is currently studying Labor Relations and Human Resource Management.
This summer, Sultana is working with Travelers’ Talent Acquisition team, learning about the full cycle recruitment process. She came across the internship opportunity after attending an information session hosted by a member of the University Relations team.
“I always heard great things about Travelers from its current employees and former interns, but when I did my own research about the company, I just fell in love with their corporate ethics, employee benefits and the Travelers Promise – the commitment to take care of our customers, communities and employees.”
Sultana says her goal this summer is not only to learn about the recruitment process, but also to network with individuals from the company to, “add knowledge and value to the work that I do and enhance my growth as an aspiring HR professional.”
Travelers Risk Control intern Bach Tran grew up in Vietnam, attended Virginia Tech to earn a BS in Civil Engineering, and now currently attends Roger Williams University studying Construction Management.
While searching for a summer internship, Tran connected with a Travelers representative online to learn more about the company. After applying, he landed a spot as an intern in the Risk Control organization.
Tran says the opportunity to explore the insurance industry was exciting. “I had no experience in that field and was very curious,” Tran says, “The opportunity to learn more about construction risk exposures and how contractors can improve their safety plan really interested me to apply.”
This summer, Tran’s goal is to gain a better understanding of the different types of construction insurance coverages, learn how Travelers Risk Control consultants communicate with construction contractors, and understand the various risk exposures and ways to improve site management.
“One of my projects is assisting consultants in categorizing on-site observations into different types of risk exposures,” Tran says, “I am learning a lot by having conversations with other Risk Control consultants, Claim professionals, and members of the Underwriting organization.”
Former Travelers EDGE scholar, Kate McCollam, sat down with our team to discuss how the program affected her education, her career and ultimately her life here at Travelers.
Kate is an FMLDP participant currently supporting Corporate Audit in St. Paul, MN. She became a Travelers EDGE scholar during her second year in college and has now been working at Travelers for 2 years and 7 months. Read more below to learn about Kate’s EDGE journey.
How long have you been at Travelers?
Two years and seven months.
How did you get involved with Travelers EDGE?
In my second year at college, I became a Travelers EDGE scholar. At the time, I was looking for qualifying scholarships and being a first-generation college student in the U.S. presented the opportunity to apply and become an EDGE scholar.
How did Travelers EDGE affect your education?
I obtained an Accounting Degree in 3 years due to the support of Travelers EDGE.
When I began to pursue my accounting degree, I started at a community college. It was more affordable; I was able to work during the day and attend classes in the evening to ensure that I was making payments towards my education and would not have to address a big debt after college.
The moment I became a scholar, I was fortunate to receive financial support that gave me the freedom to take classes at the pace that I was able to address rather than at the pace I was able to afford.
How did Travelers EDGE affect your career?
Being an EDGE scholar and utilizing the internship experience and connections that I built, helped me obtain an amazing job here at Travelers. Travelers is a driving leader in the insurance industry and to be part of that is powerful.
Tell us about your current role.
I am a Financial Management Leadership Development Program (FMLDP) participant. The FMLDP is a 3-year rotational program that offers a diverse set of assignments in financial planning and analysis, internal auditing, international finance, and corporate accounting. For my current assignment, I am working within our internal auditing function where I have the chance to work with a dynamic team of talented professionals and learn about Travelers’ control environment, governance and risk management processes.
Is there anything else you wish to share?
It feels great to be part of such a vibrant community. Working at Travelers is not simply doing your job, but rather a continuous promise to be your best self and leverage the available resources to keep getting better. It is being continuously challenged, but always having a friendly resource to ensure you feel supported. It is a place where hard work, enthusiasm and professional ethic are the key drivers of the culture and I truly appreciate that.
Company Release – 2/25/2019 2:41 PM ET
HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) has announced an innovative new benefit for its employees that takes the tough choice out of paying down student debt or saving for retirement.
With The Travelers Paying It Forward Savings Program, payments by eligible U.S. employees toward their student loans will qualify for the company’s 401(k) Plan “matching” program.
The new program will help tackle two of the biggest financial challenges Americans face today: getting out from under the burden of student loan debt and building healthy savings for retirement.
“We have the most talented workforce in our industry and benefit immeasurably from the education and expertise they bring to their work,” said Alan Schnitzer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Travelers. “Yet many of our colleagues all too often struggle to save for retirement because student loans weigh so heavily on their finances. Investing in their education shouldn’t stop our employees from investing in their future. We are promoting a standard of employee care that enables them to do both.”
According to the Federal Reserve, student loan debt in the United States reached more than $1.5 trillion at the end of 2018. Starting to save early is key to a healthy retirement fund, yet the Fed’s latest Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households noted that 41 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they had no retirement savings. The report also highlighted that 42 percent of those who attended college, representing 30 percent of all adults, have incurred at least some debt for their education.
As part of its leading benefits package, Travelers currently has a “matching” program for employee contributions to 401(k) accounts. Beginning in January 2020, when The Travelers Paying It Forward Savings Program takes effect, student loan payments will also be taken into account when determining the company’s 401(k) contribution.
Employees, including those who are not in a position to contribute at all to their 401(k) accounts because of student loans, who participate in the new program could accumulate tens of thousands of dollars in their 401(k) accounts over a decade, which could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars at retirement. That demonstrates the importance of starting to save for retirement early in order to realize the benefit of compounding returns over time.
Travelers hires thousands of employees each year under the age of 35, most of whom have college degrees and many of whom have advanced degrees.
“This program is truly life changing for those of us who are chipping away at our debt and still trying to build for our futures,” said Sasha Kashalapov, a user experience designer who joined Travelers in 2018 with a degree in visual communication design. “It speaks volumes about how a company that cares about its employees invests in their personal well-being and success.”
Blake Perry, a claim manager at Travelers, said, “In a long list of initiatives I’ve seen Travelers implement to support and invest in employees during my nine years with the organization, I believe this is among the most impactful of them all. I look forward to participating fully!” Blake joined Travelers in 2010 and has a degree in political science as well as an advanced degree in law.
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has approximately 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $30 billion in 2018. For more information, visit www.travelers.com.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190225005944/en/
Matt Bordonaro, 860-277-7014
Source: The Travelers Companies, Inc.