Challenge Yourself to Take a Leap of Faith — Advice and Encouragement for Career Pivots

Sponsored by American Family Insurance

DeLisa Claude and Julie Nelson.

Photos courtesy of American Family Insurance.

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May 20, 2024 at 3:36AM UTC

Considering making a change in your career but not sure if you should? “I would challenge any woman to take a leap of faith,” advises DeLisa Claude, Legal Services Manager at American Family Insurance. “Life is too short to have regrets,” she continues, and “you can only succeed if you first try.”

Claude recently took on her own advice and achieved her goal of becoming a leader within the litigation division at American Family Insurance. As for how she made this leap, Claude notes that it was due to a combination of factors. 

First, she was able to work with leadership in the litigation department and gain divisional and operational knowledge through her previous position as a Case Administration Specialist (Paralegal). Second, she joined multiple business resource groups (BRGs) and was a co-lead for American Family Insurance’s Multicultural Business Resource Group (MBRG).

Through working in a relevant department and participating in community groups, Claude says that she was able to “gain leadership experience and smoothly transition into my current role.”

Now, after achieving her goal, Claude leads a team of 12 Legal Assistants who complete legal tasks for lawsuits that the attorneys at American Family Insurance handle. “I’m excited to be in a position to assist in the development of my team as they all strive to reach their career goals,” says Claude.

And, this is only one example of a successful career pivot at American Family Insurance. Claude’s colleague, Julie Nelson, was previously a State Planning Manager who was “looking for a way to make a larger impact,” Nelson shares. Her moment to make a big career move arose during a company reorganization. This provided “the positive catalyst I needed to consider such a bold move,” says Nelson.

To act on this chance, Nelson moved her family to a new state and pivoted to a position as a Field Planning Administrator. In this role, “my priorities are focused on supporting the Dakotas Leadership team in strategy development and execution,” Nelson explains.

For Nelson, throughout her career journey, “It was the people that made me feel comfortable,” she says. “I couldn’t believe that, in such a large organization, you could walk down the halls and leadership would know you and greet you by name.”

If you’d like more advice on making effective career leaps, or are curious about how American Family Insurance supports career development, read on…

Advice on growing and pivoting your career.

When growing your career, Nelson advises that you “trust your instincts; if you feel the change in your gut, move forward with faith.” Not only this, but it is a great idea to “work hard, let your passion shine through and do the right things for the right reasons,” she notes. If you do,  “you’ll end up where you need to be.”

Further, it’s important to learn from your mistakes, since they are important steps on your path to the career you want. For instance, Claude recalls that her favorite mistake was leaving a company that she was outgrowing to head to a new position… that was then downsized after only six months of working there! “At the time, it felt like the worst mistake I had ever made,” says Claude. However, “It led me to accept a position at American Family that I more than likely would not have entertained if I were still employed at my original company. It is one of my constant reminders that the path to my destiny is not always straight.”

Why American Family Insurance is a great place to make a career pivot.

For Claude, Nelson and many other women, American Family Insurance is the perfect place to grow your career. The company is driven by a culture of diversity, inclusion and respect, and has an outstanding commitment to racially, ethnically and gender diverse talent. As part of this, they are passionate about building opportunities for women to secure and thrive in leadership roles. (You can hear more about how they’ve helped women transition into leadership roles in this article.)

As Nelson states, she appreciates the company's support for trying “different career focuses within one enterprise and valuing diversity in thought.” “They’ve pushed me to a better version of myself,” she says.


Fairygodboss is proud to partner with American Family Insurance. Find a job there today! You can also explore careers with the company by registering for this upcoming career fair for women in tech.

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