Think a Career in Financial Services is Not For You? Think Again

 

From top, clockwise: Nicole Bremser, Assistant VP, Diversity Recruiting Strategy; John Brown, Investment Strategy Analyst; Camille Donald, Assistant VP & Counsel; Greg Deavens, SVP & Corp. Controller

When it comes to a career in the corporate world, there are a few keys to success when seeking out a company that provides a wide variety of careers, ample opportunity for professional growth and education, the availability of top-notch mentoring, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

For high-ranking African American professionals at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), the 162-year-old insurance and financial services company offers each of these and more.

“I’ve worked for a lot of different companies, but when I got to MassMutual, I felt like I had really found my place,” said Nicole Bremser, Assistant Vice President, Diversity Recruiting Strategy. “I’ve been very fortunate in that I have been given many different assignments to learn about our business and opportunities to grow.” One of her career highlights so far has been participation in a year-long leadership training workshop in which selected employees meet monthly for intensive all-day seminars on strengthening negotiating skills, creating a personal brand, developing a leadership presence, and more.

Participants come away with three, five, and 10-year plans. Bremser started out at MassMutual 11 years ago in marketing, and in her current role, she reports to MassMutual’s Chief Diversity Officer. Working with ethnic affinity and professional organizations such as the National Black MBA Association has helped MassMutual drive workforce diversity and hire top talent.

Mentoring is important
John Brown, an Investment Strategy Analyst at MassMutual since 2012, came to the attention of company leaders through the National Black MBA Association. Brown first worked in investment banking and relocated to Japan in a real-estate private equity investing role before earning his M.B.A. from Columbia University. After graduation, Brown pursued entrepreneurial initiatives before coming to MassMutual to help evaluate and direct investments. “MassMutual provided me with an opportunity to be entrepreneurial in a newly created position within the umbrella of a large, stable, 162-year-old company,” he said. “Working with an approximately $100 billion portfolio is very exciting to me, as well as the opportunity to invest across all asset classes.” Brown credits the mentorship of Drew Dickey, MassMutual’s Deputy Chief Investment Officer, with helping him settle into his position. “The culture within Investment Management is both collaborative and supportive,” Brown said.

A business you can believe in
Other African American professionals at MassMutual said the commitment to continuous improvement, opportunities for advancement and education, and a growing focus on diversity and inclusion were all significant factors in accepting a position at the company. Camille Donald, Assistant Vice President and Counsel at MassMutual, came to the company 11 years ago after working on Capitol Hill as a lawyer for the Congressional Education and Workforce Committee. Donald started out working as a lawyer in the Retirement Services division at MassMutual and is now a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., where she educates members of Congress and their staff about MassMutual’s impact on their clients and the overall economy. “I wanted to work for a strong and stable company in the retirement space that had a good array of services to secure the fnancial future of Americans,” she said. “I was impressed with MassMutual because it was focused more on what its services could do for clients, as opposed to what clients could do for MassMutual.”

Bremser highlights five things candidates should expect from a diverse company:

  1. Has people of color and women at the board and executive level
  2. Describes its diversity policy on the company Website
  3. Has specifc departments focused on diversity (Multicultural Marketing, Diversity and Inclusion, Supplier Diversity)
  4. Sponsors events with affinity professional organizations
  5. Has employee resource groups within the company

Commitment to diversity
Greg Deavens, Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller at MassMutual, said “there is a tone and commitment” to diversity that starts with CEO Roger Crandall. “Our leadership team understands that the demographics of our nation are changing, including our base of current and future policyholders and customers, employees, and key suppliers,” he said.

“This understanding has led us to work toward building and enhancing an environment where differences are valued and used for competitive advantage.” Nearly half the members of MassMutual’s Board of Directors are now women or people of color. It also has eight active Employee Resource Groups (ERG)—company-sponsored, employee-driven affinity groups that help the company reach strategic business goals in the workplace and
community—including Passages, which is for African American employees. “For African Americans coming in, MassMutual is a great place to work if you love continuous learning and having opportunities to influence others and bring your ideas to the table,” Bremser said. “The company is constantly looking at improving our work culture, and we regularly come together to problem solve, generate ideas, and talk through new ways of doing things. As an organization, we are embracing change, and our employees are driving that change.”

To learn more about career opportunities at MassMutual, please visit www.massmutual.com/careers or contact Nicole Bremser at 413-744-5678.

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