Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day (IWD), a global holiday that recognizes women’s incredible achievements, raises awareness, and encourages others to advocate for gender equality across the world.
At Bindable, we’re committed to making our team more inclusive by increasing representation from diverse backgrounds. In fact, one of our company values is “Diversity makes us better.” We understand that we must embrace diversity today to provide a better future for all.
Our commitment to this is reflected in the team we’ve built – our own executive leadership team is more than 50% women. On this IWD, we wanted to share some of what these women bring to our team and show how they’re #BreakingTheBias (this year’s IWD theme) at Bindable and beyond. Read on to see what valuable insights our women leaders have to share on this special day.
What led you to where you are today?
Risa Pecoraro, CPO: It’s been a circuitous and evolutionary journey, but one that I’m glad I took! The job I have today wasn’t something I even knew about in college. But I’ve always been open to doing things in my career that might be unfamiliar to me. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong, I tend to focus on what I do know and what I can control in the moment, and then learn and adapt as I go. I’ve always been willing to take risks, be persistent, and show resilience, pushing the envelope when necessary to advocate for myself and grow my career.
Because of this, my managers were able to see my true potential and trust that I was willing to work hard to get a job done right, even if I didn’t necessarily have the experience. This launched some huge and varied opportunities for me at companies undergoing big growth. Being open to experiences that don’t necessarily fall under my job description has enabled me to explore different areas of business and pursue what excites me. I’ve been able to build my career by pushing myself, accepting challenges, and enjoying the journey.
I’ve come to realize that work is what you make of it. Yes, having a robust resume may help you get noticed, but we shouldn’t limit what people are capable of because of what’s listed on a piece of paper. As a woman leader at the crossroads of insurance and technology, I want people to know that you’re capable of a lot more than you could ever imagine; I strive to inspire others to take ownership over their own paths as well.
What kind of company culture creates a place that welcomes and attracts women leaders, especially in such a male-dominated industry like insurance?
Cassie Larson, SVP, Strategic Execution: Actions speak louder than words. While many organizations may talk about their dedication to promoting equality in the workplace, it’s hard to believe them without seeing action. Organizations who are genuinely invested in women equality will have easily accessible proof points that show their commitment.
Glance over a company’s executive staff – if there isn’t a woman on the team, how can that organization say that they’re seriously committed to women’s equality in the workplace? Beyond that, organizations that have implemented diversity at all levels are clearly more committed to increasing equity and inclusion more broadly. Having employees with varying backgrounds and experiences – both professionally and personally – only enriches the workplace. Especially at Bindable, our differences are what make us stronger and allows for a more thoughtful and intentional approach to our work.
Finally, organizations that holistically enrich the lives of their employees are those that foster more inclusive environments. For instance, mentorship programs and opportunities for educational enrichment proves that an organization cares for its employees’ longtime wellbeing. Companies that are committed to volunteering and giving back to their communities also show that they’re not just focused on the bottom line. Holistic approaches to life and work set the tone for a more positive work environment.
What does this year’s IWD theme “breaking the bias” mean to you? How do you try to break the bias in your own professional and personal life?
Jean-Marie Lovett, President & COO: There are many biases that exist for women in the workplace from what they wear, to how they handle pressure and, if they are parents, how they can balance the responsibilities of motherhood and work. It is important to recognize that there may be unique circumstances for women, and they should be considered with understanding rather than negativity.
Personally, I have purposefully tried to remove the barrier between work and home life and talked openly about the struggles and joys that I have experienced in my own family. I have also shared stories of the many times when I am the only woman in the room. As a leader, it is important to be transparent and share these experiences to normalize them for future women leaders and to inspire them to accomplish their own goals.
Breaking the bias does not happen overnight. But if we, as a society, can commit to acknowledging that biases against women do exist and continue to have open conversations about this, we’ll come to a better understanding of how we can collectively do more to overcome these barriers.
Who or what has had the biggest influence on your success? What advice can you give other women who are building their careers?
Jocelyn Getson, Chief Growth Officer: I think the biggest influence on my career has been the people I’ve encountered throughout it. I try to surround myself with people that challenge and push me to be a better version of myself – both personally and professionally. When I look back on my career, the times I’ve grown and learned the most are when someone I respect, like a manager or mentor, challenged me to take more risks and push myself beyond my comfort zone. The fact that someone I admire would have enough trust in me to go to the next level gives me the confidence to try something new or reach for the next rung in the ladder. That’s how I try to inspire my own team even today.
Taking risks is necessary for growing. If something makes you uncomfortable – public speaking, presenting to leadership, writing, networking – don’t shy away from it! Embrace the challenge of doing something that doesn’t necessarily come natural to you. You never know, you might start to like it! Don’t ever become too comfortable or complacent in a job (or life); you’ll be doing a disservice to yourself. By seeking out opportunities beyond your comfort zone, you’ll not only open yourself to new experiences, but you’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process.
Are you interested in joining a team that is committed to #BreakingTheBias? Check out our open positions today!