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Season 2 Episode 3
The Transformative Impact of Women in the Workforce with Joan Woodward

RESOURCES   ❯   The Marketing Rapport Podcast 3-8-24

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Marketing Rapport, host Zora Senat sits down with Joan Woodward, the executive from The Travelers Institute. They dive into the intricacies of navigating a successful career path in the fast-paced world of business and leadership. Joan shares her personal journey, revealing how strategic career moves and a willingness to embrace change have shaped her professional life.

The conversation offers valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities women face in the corporate world. Joan provides practical advice for young professionals on seizing opportunities, advocating for themselves, and the importance of lifelong learning. Her stories from Capitol Hill to the corporate suite illustrate the power of resilience and adaptability.

Listeners will come away with inspiration and actionable strategies for career advancement. Joan’s experiences underscore the importance of mentorship, networking, and personal development in achieving professional goals. This episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to make their mark in their career.


Joan Woodward, President, The Travelers Institute
  • Name: Joan Woodward
  • What they do: President
  • Company: Travelers Institute
  • Noteworthy: From Capitol Hill to Goldman Sachs, Joan pioneers at Travelers Institute
  • Where to find them: LinkedIn

Key Insights

  • Empowerment through Self-Leadership Joan Woodward emphasizes the importance of being the CEO of one’s own career. She argues against waiting for opportunities to be handed down by HR and instead advocates for taking ownership and initiative in one’s career progression. Joan stresses that success and advancement are the results of proactive self-leadership, not external intervention. This insight is crucial for professionals at all levels, encouraging them to actively shape their career paths through strategic actions and self-advocacy.
  • The Role of Excellence and Value Recognition Joan shares her philosophy on the significance of excelling in one’s current role before seeking the next opportunity. She underlines that understanding and articulating the value one brings to their organization is paramount. This approach ensures individuals are not just participants but key contributors in their workplaces. Joan’s advice serves as a roadmap for professionals aiming for career growth, highlighting the importance of excellence and value recognition in achieving professional objectives.
  • Navigating Career Transitions with Confidence Reflecting on her own career, Joan discusses the challenges and strategies of navigating significant industry shifts. From public service on Capitol Hill to leading initiatives at Goldman Sachs and the Travelers Institute, her journey exemplifies the courage to embrace the unknown. Joan’s experience underscores the importance of confidence and adaptability in career transitions, offering valuable lessons on leveraging one’s skills across diverse roles and sectors.

Episode Highlights

The Leap from Public to Private Sector
Timestamp: [00:08:00]

Joan discusses her transition from working in the public sector on Capitol Hill to entering the private sector with Goldman Sachs. This change was marked by her involvement in developing the Roth IRA, which led to her recruitment by Goldman Sachs despite her initial doubts about her qualifications for Wall Street. This part of the conversation highlights the unpredictability of career paths and the importance of seizing opportunities, even when they seem out of reach.

“I wasn’t a math whiz. […] I just looked at myself in the mirror and said, ‘I’m not going to get this opportunity again. And what’s the worst that can happen? I’ll fail, and I’ll go back to Capitol Hill.’ So, I took that job, and I ran and built a global kind of entity.”

Embracing Career Evolution
Timestamp: [00:24:58]

Joan emphasizes the importance of loving your job and not settling for merely liking it. She reflects on her career trajectory, noting the significant changes in societal attitudes toward career progression, highlighting the shift from long-term positions to a more dynamic career landscape. This insight encourages young professionals to seek out roles that genuinely fulfill them.

“You have to be in a job that you love. […] Be in a job that you love because you spend more time in your job with your colleagues than you do outside of your job.”

The Role of Mentorship and Learning
Timestamp: [00:25:53]

Joan discusses her approach to mentorship within The Travelers Institute, emphasizing the mutual learning experience between herself and her younger colleagues. This part of the discussion showcases the importance of staying open to new ideas and the value of intergenerational learning within organizations.

“They teach me a lot about society. […] I view it as a two-way street that I really want to listen to and learn from young people.”

Balancing Professional Ambition and Personal Life
Timestamp: [00:12:49]

Joan shares personal insights into managing a demanding career while raising a family. She talks about the challenges and strategies for maintaining a balance, including the support of her spouse and the decision to prioritize what matters most. This part of the conversation sheds light on the complexities of work-life balance, especially for ambitious professionals.

“If you’re an ambitious person, marry an opposite. Because thank God my husband was there raising kids and I was traveling the globe. […] But know where you are in your career and your life.”

Top Quotes

[00:18:46] Joan Woodward: “Opportunity is not a guarantee for success. Your success is not guaranteed once you’re given an opportunity. […] So I advise people to raise your hand and volunteer for an opportunity.”

[00:20:07] Joan Woodward : “No one’s going to make your career happen for you. No one in HR is going to make your career happen. So make it yourself. Be the CEO. Take ownership of your career. Right? And some people look at me and say that’s too scary. I can’t do that.”

[00:21:32] Joan Woodward: “Be excellent in the current job you’re doing okay? So know what value you’re adding to your company or to your organization and be valuable in your job. Don’t be mediocre. Be excellent. And then you deserve that next promotion or the next opportunity.”

Full Transcript

Joan Woodward: [00:00:00] Be the CEO of your own career. No one’s going to make your career happen for you. No one in HR is going to make your career happen. So, make it yourself. Be the CEO. Take ownership of your career. Right? And some people look at me and say, “that’s too scary. I can’t do that.”

Tim Finnigan: [00:01:00] Welcome to the Marketing Rapport. I’m Tim Finnigan and I lead Product Marketing at Verisk Marketing Solutions, which is a business unit of Verisk, and we specialize in consumer data and insights. And our goal is to drive better profitability and productivity in the advertising ecosystem.

Since it’s Women’s History Month, the theme for today’s podcast is recognizing and celebrating the vital role of women in business, and women that are making history today. So joining me on The Marketing Rapport podcast is our Chief Commercial Officer Zora Senat. Welcome to the Marketing Rapport.

Zora Senat: Thank you, Tim. I appreciate you sharing your stage with me. I’m happy to be here.

Tim Finnigan: So, Zora, you’re, since you’re hosting today’s episode, why don’t you give us a little insight on what you have in store for us?

Zora Senat: I invited Joan Woodward of Travelers Insurance and the Travelers Institute to join us this week to share a bit of her own story, which I heard late last year. She has navigated a very interesting [00:02:00] career, and she also shared some great advice for women who are looking to level up and take risks in their own careers.

My favorite thing she said was “you need to be an expert in your current role to ask for that next job.” That’s something I wholeheartedly believe in. I love that she drove that home on the podcast.

Tim Finnigan: Great! Well, you’re the perfect person to host this episode because, in my opinion, you have reached expert status in everything that you do. So, I can’t wait, and I’m looking forward to listening to the episode.

Zora Senat: Awesome. Let’s get to the episode.

Zora Senat: Hello, podcast listeners. My name is Zora Senat. I’m Chief Commercial Officer here at Verisk Marketing Solutions. We are a business unit within Verisk specializing in consumer data and insights solutions for marketers.
I am joined by a very special guest who I get to introduce to you today. She’s someone I was only recently introduced to myself. We met at a women in insurance leadership [00:03:00] event here in Chicago. She’s quickly become someone I both admire and aspire to be as effective as in my own career.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce Joan Woodward. Joan, thank you so much for being here today.

Joan Woodward: No, thanks so much for having me. What a delightful thing to do.

Zora Senat: And happy new year! Can I still say ‘happy new year’?

Joan Woodward: Absolutely.

Zora Senat: All right. Well, I’m going to read your bio a little bit. Listeners: Joan is Executive Vice President of Public Policy for Travelers and President of the Travelers Institute, which she established as the company’s thought leadership and public policy platform.

She joined Travelers in 2008 following 10 years at Goldman Sachs, where she was the founding Executive Director of the company’s Global Markets Institute. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Joan worked on Capitol Hill for 12 years as Deputy Chief of Staff for the U. S. Senate Finance Committee and Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

She also worked on the House Budget Committee [00:04:00] under Chairman John Kasich. Joan serves on the Board of Directors of PLUNK. That’s a real estate analytics platform, and the United State’s Chamber of Commerce Foundation. She’s Vice Chairman of the Board of the Rand Institute for Civil Justice, and member of the President’s National Small and Medium Enterprise Export Council.
She has received a number of awards and recognition over the years. Joan, we are honored to have you. Thank you so much for joining our podcast. And where can we find you today?

Joan Woodward: Great to be with you! I live and work out of Washington, D. C. So that’s been my base camp for 35 years now.
Zora Senat: What inspired us to extend the invite was your story. As someone who works closely with clients in the insurance industry, every conversation I have is about managing and minimizing risk.

You, in your personal and professional life, you’ve taken some big risks. You’ve changed industries, not once but several times. You’ve gone from public sector to private [00:05:00] sector, D.C. to Wall Street, to Travelers where you are today. So that’s what I wanted to talk about was I just wanted to let you share your story. How did you get started? And, and let’s start at the beginning, like what were you like earlier on in your career?

Joan Woodward: Well, I’m definitely the same person that I was earlier on in my career. I’m just a lot smarter, more, I guess, attuned to listening and learning. I’ve had a great journey and I’ve had some wonderful opportunities in my life. We could talk about them, but, you know, starting in government was a real foundation for me to understand how governments work, how, you know, industries work, how industries work with government and that partnership that was so critical.

Government can’t do it alone and certainly corporations can’t do it alone and small businesses are the backbone of the country. So you have this trifecta, of, you know, larger companies, fed by vendors that are from small companies, and the government there to support the industries. And, you know, I was going to say not interfere with the industries, [00:06:00] but to be that cushion, right, in supporting our industries so they can thrive in the global economy.

So, I’ve seen it from all different perspectives and I’m very blessed. To have the career that I was able to have, I took a lot of risks and some didn’t pan out, you know, and some worked and I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve certainly failed along the way. And as long as you learn something, I think, you know, I’m a lifelong learner.

I love to read. I love to, you know, absorb information. And that’s what I try to do with my audience and my clients and my customers and agents and brokers is try to share information in a, you know, non-partisan, unbiased way so people can make their own decisions about factual information.

Zora Senat: Could you share a little bit about these transitions? How did you, how did you make the transition from the public sector government into the private sector?

Joan Woodward: Yeah, so as you said, I worked on Capitol Hill, both the House and the Senate, for 12 long years. They’re like dog years. I mean, it’s really hard work working on Congress. Then one day I was [00:07:00] developing the Roth IRA with Senator Bill Roth from Delaware, the other senator for Delaware for 30 years alongside Biden was Bill Roth.

A very humble man. And in creating the Roth IRA, I had the opportunity to work with a lot of Wall Street companies and Wall Street investment houses, you know: where should the cutoffs be in the Roth IRA? Should the income limits? Who’s going to incent behavior to save more for retirement? Where is that sweet spot of tax policy?

And so working with those investment houses, investment banks, for many years, this didn’t happen overnight. Goldman Sachs came knocking on my door one day. They said “Hey, we’re going to start a Washington equity research operation, and we think you’re the perfect person to run it and to start it.”

And I was looking at them saying: “Look, I’m a government person. I don’t know anything about Wall Street.” And they’re like, “No, no, no, you’re our gal. You’re our gal.” And I said, “You know what?” I said to my husband, we had four little children at the time. “Okay.” And so taking on a global job, was really intimidating to me.

And [00:08:00] again, I wasn’t a math whiz. I just looked at myself in the mirror and I said, “I’m not going to get this opportunity again.” And what’s the worst that can happen? I’ll fail, and I’ll go back to Capitol Hill. So I took that job and I ran and built a global kind of entity. The first five years was equity research for institutional investors.

So, what’s happening on Capitol Hill and how should investors think about their portfolio? I was able to pass the Series 7 and Series 63 exam. So I was a certified investment analyst. And I loved my job! Then the CEO at the time at Goldman Sachs, Hank Paulson, who later turned out to be Treasury Secretary in the Bush administration, he asked me to take on another role at Goldman Sachs, which is to start a new organization, a global think tank called the Global Markets Institute.

And so building on what I learned to build the equity research operation, I turned that over to my deputy, gladly, very capable guy, still there today. And then I took on this other role of starting a think tank, a public [00:09:00] policy, informational, educational platform so governments around the world could understand how efficient, transparent capital markets/Goldman Sachs operate and how they add value to society.

So bringing up women in different countries around the world, giving them the economic opportunity. I ran that for five years and loved it. Sorry, it’s a little bit of a long story. Then I was called one day by the CEO of Travelers at the time, Jay Fishman. So I’m going to stop there.

That’s how I got to insurance. And of course, I said to Jay Fishman at the time, “I know nothing about insurance. I’m not your gal, right?” I said that twice.

Zora Senat: I’ll sneak in a question there: when you were making these transitions into the, the unknown into areas of uncertainty, what did you do to kind of maintain your confidence and empower yourself to keep making these moves, to keep learning new things and keep trying new things?

Joan Woodward: [00:10:00] Yeah, you know, confidence is tough because, especially for a woman, I’ll say that out loud, confidence is tough because if you exude confidence in your persona, right, that’s a really good thing. And I think a lot of women have a hard time with self-confidence, right?

“Can I do that job? Am I good enough? Should I even apply for that job?” Because look, there’s five ingredients of that job, and I only have four, right? Of the required, you know, job description. There’s five bullet points on this job description on the job I might apply for. I only got four of them, so I’m not going to apply, right? And so that’s a mistake, that we don’t have confidence in ourselves to learn new things as we go.

And I think a lot of people want to support women in diverse populations in the insurance industry. So, one, I say to everyone out there who has a job opening, make sure you have a diverse slate of candidates, that’s what we try to do internally. And then, take a chance [00:11:00] on someone, right? They may not have every ingredient in the job, but on the other flip side of the coin, I’m going to say to some folks out there who might struggle with the confidence, have the confidence in yourself to go for it.

And again, if you don’t get it, just the interview process that you go through is very valuable. You learn a lot through that process.

Zora Senat: A little personal question. So, I’m a mom too. I’ve got two little boys at home. I’m on the earlier end of things, a three and a five year old, but there’s, you know, there’s things that you can do to help build your confidence professionally. But then suddenly you get home at the end of the day and it only takes a few words or a bad, a bad afternoon to kind of strip away that confidence in your personal life too.

So what was it like kind of being, being a mom and also, you know, stepping into the, into these new avenues professionally?
Joan Woodward: You know, it’s a pendulum and you can’t be too hard on yourself [00:12:00] either. So, you know, sometimes the pendulum swings and I’m more of a work/employee focused person. And the pendulum swung many times in my life back to being just a mom. And so just, just remember where you’re sitting, right? If you’re sitting at home, be a mom.

Kids do go to bed at some point. You can go back to being that employee and log on later at night. But I try to be present when I’m at home. It was very hard because I’m an ambitious person and I did have four kids, who are all adult now and turned out just fine, you know, somehow they turned out just fine.

But, you know, I have two girls, two boys, and the girls look at me and they’re like, “Mom, you are a role model. You inspired me to, you know, strive for excellence.” And so, you know, you may be feeling like “I’m not that good of a mom.” And I certainly felt that many, many times. And the other advice I have is marry up.

Marry someone who, you know, if you’re an ambitious person, marry an opposite. Because thank God my husband was there raising the kids and I was, you know, traveling the globe. I had a global job at Goldman Sachs and that was really tough. [00:13:00] But he was a tremendous support and infrastructure for our family.

Know where you are in your career and your life. And, you know, I’m a person that liked to farm out jobs. So, you know, I had someone cleaning my house, even when we probably couldn’t have afforded it. Wou know, my cars were dirtier than they should have been.

So let things go that don’t matter. You know what I mean? And focus on the things that really do matter.

Zora Senat: And I would say your boys are probably looking up to you as a role model too,but amazing to have a working mom doing what you were doing, at that young age, to aspire to. That’s, that’s awesome. Let’s fast forward to your time now at Travelers. So you’re in the insurance industry.

What was the opportunity that, that drew you over to Travelers and, and what were the, the interesting problems that you arrived in the building to fix?

Joan Woodward: So I’ll pick up on my journey again: I was very happy at Goldman Sachs, [00:14:00] although it was definitely a strain on the family, me having such a global job. So I was sort of looking for a domestic company, but I really didn’t want to leave. I really didn’t know much about insurance. And so I honestly thought Travelers was mostly a personal lines business.
I didn’t know about the commercial and the surety and the, you know, bond and specialty aspects of it. So when I learn more after a few dinners and lunches with not only Jay Fishman, the CEO at the time, but our current CEO, Alan Schnitzer, who was Chief Legal Officer and Vice Chairman of the company, they were both visionaries and they had a strategic plan for the company.
Which absolutely panned out with flying colors over the last 16 years that I’ve been here. I’ve watched it grow and it’s incredible, the internal family feel, the culture that we have at Travelers. People stay here 20, 30, 40 years. And there’s a reason for it. And so I like the culture. I felt very much at home.

And again, I looked at myself in the mirror and I said, “look, this is an opportunity. You could certainly take a pass.”But I [00:15:00] loved the energy. All the people that I talked to, and I talked to many people before I joined, I think that it’s really important to understand what their vision was. I knew I could build a think tank, because I’d done it before, no problem there.

But you have to get buy in, you have to get buy in from business leaders, you know, and the people who are making the money. The P&L people look at, you know, having an entity that’s non-revenue producing, and we’ve all been in these roles, or maybe not. But you know, marketing, HR. You know, legal. These are not P&L roles, so certainly a think tank, building a public policy reputation enhancing platform.

We knew there would be some benefits to having a thought leadership platform, you know, built through the brand. I think it’s turned out better than anyone, including me, expected. So it’s been, it’s been a fun journey. Again, the business folks that I’m working with, they’re wicked smart. And I’m learning every day about the business, and it’s really been a fun journey.
Zora Senar: Do you mind just for the [00:16:00] layman in the room? It’s funny. I just began my career in insurance a couple of years ago when my company was acquired by Verisk. So for, for the layman listening to our podcast here, tell us a little bit about the Travelers Institute, what it is and, and who it serves.

Joan Woodward: Yeah, so again, we’re a very small team and I leverage the industry expertise across the 30,000 people at the company. We have several pillars and platforms for our thought leadership. For example, in personal lines, we do a lot around distracted driving and raising awareness through our Every Second Matters campaign.

Also, now we’re coupling our distracted driving and our auto safety awareness with telematics. And so we’ve partnered with Cambridge Mobile Telematics, which is our telematics provider for IntelliDrive. And we talk about auto safety. We talk about all sorts of things that are now embedded in cars for safety reasons and cutting down on those fatalities.

Our platform [00:17:00] is for raising awareness, that’s with Personal Lines. With Bond Specialty, we have a whole platform around raising awareness about cybersecurity risk. So cyber threats exploded during the pandemic. And so through our Cyber: Prepare, Prevent, Mitigate, Restore program, we go out and educate agents and brokers and customers around cyber threats, which of course then leads to buying a cyber insurance policy.

And that’s, you know, critically important there. On the business insurance side, we have a number of programs as well. Disaster preparedness for home and business. So we’ve have a partnership with IBHS, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, to talk about new products in the market to make their homes safer.

We also have a partnership with Habitat for Humanity. And building safer houses through their fortified build program. So, it’s through these public partnerships, and public private partnerships, raising awareness around these platforms that we have, through the [00:18:00] Institute. So, it’s partnering with our business leaders in their respective businesses.
And then rolling out a thought leadership platform. So, we do symposiums, we partner with universities and researchers, you know, M. I. T. comes to mind for example for our distracted driving and autonomous vehicle program with telematics.

Zora Senat: Wow. That is quite a full plate for such a small team, but it sounds like you’re doing amazing work. I heard on stage at the, at the digital insurance event a little bit about some of the, the programs and initiatives you’ve spearheaded to accelerate professional opportunities for women.

I was really impressed. Do you mind sharing one or two of those examples here for our listeners?

Joan Woodward: I mean, I believe it’s all about opportunity. And so opportunity is not guaranteed for, you know, for success. Your success is not guaranteed once you’re given an opportunity. So if you’re sitting back at your desk saying “I don’t have any opportunities for showcasing my skills” kind of [00:19:00] maybe across platforms across different business units.

It’s not guaranteed. So I advise people to raise your hand and volunteer for an opportunity, okay? Say to your boss, “I want to work on X, Y, and Z project,” okay? And so if your volunteerism is not recognized, ask for an opportunity. So first volunteer, and if you’re not given that opportunity, directly ask for an opportunity.

So “I didn’t just volunteer for that, now I’m asking to work on this cross functional team as a stretch assignment. Please assign me.” A stretch assignment. I’m no longer volunteering. I’m asking. Right? And then if your ask is ignored, then I just make it happen for myself. I would go to different entities.

“Hey, hey, I want to work a project where I want to start a new project.” Right? Because I see something that could be fixed or could be done a different way. So I would go and make it happen. Right? I’m not asking permission at this point. I’m going to ask for forgiveness. Yes. And some [00:20:00] people are very uncomfortable with that and in that doing it yourself, then I say to them, “be the CEO of your own career.”

No one’s going to make your career happen for you. No one in HR is going to make your career happen. So, make it yourself. Be the CEO. Take ownership of your career. Right? And some people look at me and say, that’s too scary. I can’t do that. Right? I don’t have that self-confidence to make my own career happen.

And then you have to say to yourself, “then your career is not going to happen” because someone in HR, no one’s going to come and save you, no one’s going to come and make your career happen for you. So have your eye on that next opportunity; doesn’t have to be changing jobs, you know, to have another opportunity.That’s my philosophy.

Zora Senat: I think it comes back to if, in my own opinion. I mean, what you said about yourself early on in your career, you had a genuine curiosity to go out and learn more and being the CEO of your own career means that you’re putting [00:21:00] your, your mind, your body, your soul into becoming an expert in your craft and mastering something, which, the first ingredient, in my opinion, is, is genuine curiosity. I loved what you said there.

Joan Woodward: And on that point, we also say something, and this is…this is coming from the great philosopher Mika Brzezinski. Do you know Mika? She’s, she’s with Joe Scarborough, Morning Joe. They’re on MSNBC. She’s written several books about knowing your value. And so: you can be confident, but you have to be excellent.

Be excellent in the current job you’re doing, okay? So, know what value you’re adding to your company or to your organization and be valuable in your job. Okay, so you have to have like excellence. She’s exceptional in her job. She knows what she’s doing, right? And so, know the value that you add to your company or your organization and be excellent in your job in your current job before you go for that next [00:22:00] opportunity, because if you’re just mediocre, you can’t expect to be on a career trajectory.

Don’t be mediocre, right? Be excellent. And then you deserve that next promotion or the next opportunity. So, think about that yourself. And sometimes it’s hard to say: “am I excellent in my job? Or do I want to be excellent? I’m getting there, right?” Look, we all weren’t excellent when we started our jobs. I certainly wasn’t.

I made a lot of mistakes in my career. So ,I’m just trying to, I guess, talk to your listeners about some of the mistakes I made and some of the strategies for how to overcome them. But know your value, right? Ask for that raise if you think you’re not being paid what you’re worth. But again, know your worth know your value.

Zora Senat: Exactly. So this episode is one that we are featuring during Women’s History Month. I guess I wanted to kind of wrap things up with: You’ve given a lot of advice, so maybe this question is a bit redundant, or maybe you want to speak to a personal [00:23:00] experience, but, you know, for a woman out there who’s listening to this podcast, who might be starting her career in insurance, or not in insurance, like, what advice do you have for her, or for anyone for that matter, I don’t know that it’s specific to any gender, but let’s speak to the women out there.

What advice do you have for someone who’s at the beginning of her career?

Joan Woodward: You know, first of all, it’s tough. It’s tough to, you know, graduate college and say “what am I gonna do?” It’s tough, although it’s easier now in a hybrid environment. And you know people wearing jeans to work… like when I started, it was a suit, right? And a white shirt and a dress or a skirt. So like, wearing pants or a pant suit on the United States Senate floor was prohibited.

I could not wear pants on the Senate floor. Imagine that, right? So I want to say we’ve come a long way, baby. So I think it’s easier in today’s world, but I think it’s harder in today’s [00:24:00] world because expectations are pretty high of, you know, you in that first job. And I think everyone right now.

It gives lots of young people the opportunity to learn and to be successful, and you have to be serious about what you want to do. And so try different things out. And if you’re not successful in your first job out of college, just recognize it and move on. Right? But you don’t want to move on so many times where someone looks at your resume and says, “Oh my gosh, you can’t hold a job down.”

Right? You want to have a nice track record of, you know, progressive succession and building on what you’re learning. So, say you’ve had a couple jobs, and say you’re 25, 30 years old, you may have had 3 or 4 jobs. I mean, in your lifetime, you’re going to have lots of jobs. In my lifetime, I basically had, you know, 4 jobs.

And that was it. That’s probably going to be it for me. 4 different jobs. But not today, in today’s society. It’s much more acceptable to kind of spend 2 or 3 years learn something. Spend 2 or 3 years, learn something else. Until you find what you really love. You have to be in a [00:25:00] job that you love. Don’t be in a job that you like.

Be in a job that you love, because you spend more time in your job with your colleagues than you do outside of your job. It’s just a fact, right? And so, find a job you absolutely love because if you don’t love it, you’re not going to be that good at it, right? And so it’s okay to move around when you’re a younger person to find that job you love.

And then, don’t be so hard on yourself. I think women sometimes can be hard on themselves, that they’re failures. Just view each experience as a learning opportunity. But again, I go back to being excellent. Be excellent at what you’re doing, even though you may not love your current job. Be excellent at it.

Okay. And so you can find that, that next job. That’s kind of what I tell young people. And again, I have four young adult kids. So I’m going through this myself and I’m certainly learning along the way. And then I would say: be a good listener. Some of the young people on my team, they teach me and not just about technology.

They teach me a lot about society. We have a lot of webinars and I listen to my young people on my team because [00:26:00] that generation, Gen Z, Gen Y, Gen X. I mean, those are our customers. Those were our clients. Those were our employees.

And so we have to listen to their feedback. They mentor me. I’m not just mentoring them. I view it as a two-way street, that I really want to listen and learn from young people. So, if you’re in your twenties out there, you know, talk to your bosses and say, “here’s how I’m viewing this situation or viewing this problem.”

We’re trying to solve it from a different angle. And then for those baby boomers, like myself: listen to them. Listen to our young people tell us the way they’re seeing the world because we have a lot to learn ourselves.

Zora Senat: You mentioned Wednesdays with Woodward. Where can our listeners go to learn more about you, learn about the Traveler’s Institute?

Joan Woodward: We’ve hosted over 100 episodes. We started this when the pandemic hit, in the summer of 2020, and we’ve hosted 100 episodes and I break it out like this. I would say 50 percent of [00:27:00] my episodes are deep dive on insurance, the marketplace; we examine every industry that we insure. We have a lot on cyber security, a lot on other topics, we just had one on life sciences, so 50 percent of my webinars are strictly insurance.

The other 50 percent is our sweet spot, where we talk to people, individuals, about career, career development, about golf. Look, they’re insurance industry. We’re golfers, people. So, we talk about core and strength training in the off season, right? Because it’s cold out there. Not a lot of people have access to a golf course.

But what can we be doing to improve our bodies and ourselves and our minds to get ready for that golf season? We also talk a lot about personal development. I had a strategy session with Dr. Vicki Med on how to negotiate anything. How to negotiate getting your kids to eat their broccoli, how to negotiate that next job, how to negotiate a raise.

So who couldn’t use a [00:28:00] life lesson and skills around negotiation? So I say to viewers out there, if you’re not already, sign up at Takes a few quick seconds. We’ve had thousands and thousands of followers tune in every week, and we have a very large Zoom license for lots more thousands of people.

So, join us. It’s really quite fun.

Zora Senat: It is. I joined myself. I missed the broccoli episode, though. So I’m going to have to go back into the archives and find that one. Joan, thank you so much for joining us. This was a really great conversation. I’m really honored to have been able to chat with you today. Thank you for taking the time.

Joan Woodward: I want to thank you for the partnership Travelers has with Verisk. I know we’re great partners in, in making the insurance marketplace better. And you know, our employees too, we really feel a sense. I also run the Employee Community Connections campaign, which is our charitable arm,[00:29:00] for the company.

We raised almost a million dollars this year with our employees. And so, um, we love being engaged in the communities and I think it makes a healthier and a more engaged workforce. And I know our partnership with you and your company is very important. I appreciate the platform you just gave me to, to chat about my career and the Travelers Institute. So, thank you all

Zora Senat: Thank you so much. We’ll see you out there.

Joan Woodward: Take care, bye.