Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual – Corporate Careers
Photo courtesy of Northwestern Mutual.
Welcome to I Love My Job, the series where we hear from real women who really love their jobs. In this edition, we sat down with Susan Pearson, the Assistant Director of Field Multicultural Marketing at Northwestern Mutual, whose path to this position has been full of dedication and passion.
In 2020, Pearson, like many others, was laid off from her former company due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, Pearson was a mother to a third-grader and high-schooler and trying to navigate virtual schooling and work during the pandemic — so she decided to make a commitment to herself.
“At that time, I decided that it was best if I only applied to jobs that I really wanted to work at,” shares Pearson. So, instead of jumping at the first opportunity, she waited for the right one. “If I was going to go back to work, I wanted to be sure that it was something that I can be passionate about, somewhere that I can make a difference, an impact and grow,” she tells us. And Pearson ended up finding that opportunity at Northwestern Mutual.
“This was the only job that I applied to during the pandemic,” Pearson tells us. And not only did she get the position, but she's loved working at Northwestern Mutual during her (so-far!) “10 amazing months” at the company.
In the video below, Pearson shares more on why she’s loved working at Northwestern Mutual. We also provide lightly edited highlights from the video discussion in the following article.
The most exciting thing is the work that I'm doing around SARE, which stands for Sustained Action for Racial Equity. Our CEO founded and chaired this initiative as an accelerator of the 15-year Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) journey that we've been on.
SARE primarily focuses on closing the racial wealth gap in the African American community. When I was being interviewed, SARE was one of the things that they had mentioned was going to be a lion's share of the work that I was going to be doing. And I was like, “sign me up!”
It’s been Incredibly exciting with the amount of people that are committed to this effort, not just myself, but collaborating with other departments and other people who are just as passionate as I am about this work. I would say this is probably the highlight of my time here at Northwestern Mutual.
I appreciate their commitment around career development and empowering different segments of its employees. The overall level of collaboration with colleagues, as well as the amazing relationships that I have with my boss, and their boss and their boss' boss, is absolutely awesome. I think that it all stems from the culture that Northwestern Mutual is trying to build, and it trickles down to the bottom where everybody's following those same principles.
The space that I'm given to develop. I'm empowered to do the work that I've been hired to do at my pace while being given the space to figure things out and run with it when I can.
And, to me, that has to be probably the most empowering part of working at a Northwestern Mutual: the growth that I've seen even within myself in less than a year.
We have many benefits, and one of them is around time. We are all busy, [...] but, every so often, I need to take a step back and just breathe for a little bit. My management and my leaders are so okay with that, which is important. Everybody encourages me to maybe not go so hard sometimes or maybe log off a little bit earlier today…. I appreciate that flexibility and that, despite all the work that needs to get done, it is important for my leadership that I also take care of myself and don't burn out.
Use their voice. We all have a voice, sometimes it’s quiet and sometimes it's loud. We all have opinions and important ideas to share that can change things. Trust yourself that if you're coming up with an idea, it's worth sharing. Be courageous and step out of your comfort zone from time-to-time and do things that you wouldn't have ordinarily done. I think that is the best way to take control of your development.
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Check out other posts in the ‘I Love My Job’ series: