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Financial services CEOs share their career insights with interns

Securian Financial, Thrivent and Allianz CEOs meet the next generation of their workforces

by Jessica Gross, financial reporting intern, Securian Financial

A virtual Q&A session and breakout discussions held for more than 100 interns across the three companies offered a fun and valuable experience for all involved.

Chris Hilger of Securian Financial, Terry Rasmussen of Thrivent and Walter White of Allianz shared their insight into interns' questions about careers, leadership, the financial services industry and more. Interns described the event as inspiring, energizing, insightful, unique and impactful. They especially enjoyed hearing the personal stories and career advice from the CEOs. 

Career advice from the top

You always learn a lot when you can talk with a CEO, and this event proved that. I found their career advice to be the most beneficial part about the afternoon – specifically, to be a continuous learner no matter your role or responsibilities. They pushed us to be curious about our work, always ask questions, continue learning new skills and always strive to improve the abilities we have. 

Chris encouraged us to develop our weaknesses and run toward the challenges of that journey while being unafraid to fail. Terry reminded us that you can learn so much from your mistakes, and everyone will make them. Walter encouraged us to revel in being a beginner, enjoy where we are and learn as much as we can in the situations we’re experiencing as interns. He encouraged us not to be tied up in where we are headed, but to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. 

Industry collaboration is key

I also learned how collaborative the financial services industry is. When asked about collaborating with competitors, the CEOs stated that they have a shared purpose of helping people and protecting families, which makes it easy to work together. The financial services industry is large and has many opportunities, so it’s beneficial for companies to work together and learn from one another. 

Facing challenges, opportunities and uncertainty

COVID-19 has brought numerous challenges, and the CEOs shed light on how it has affected how they lead. They all acknowledged that it’s tough to lead in a time of so much uncertainty. With all the accelerated transformation that happened, especially in the switch to working from home, companies and their employees were forced to embrace new technology, be flexible and commit to lots of learning. 

Change that would usually take months or even years to implement was taken on in about a week, creating new challenges but also new opportunities for collaboration and teamwork. This was difficult, but all three companies successfully continued serving their customers, community and employees during this uncertain time.

A unique internship experience

The panel is just one of the many ways that Securian Financial has made this virtual summer internship special. Through their creativity and innovation in this work-from-home environment, Securian created many events for us interns to grow, learn and connect. The CEO panel discussion is one such event that has helped me grow as a professional, student and person.

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Jessica Gross is a Securian Financial employee and thus has a financial connection to Securian Financial. Her statements were given freely.

DOFU 8-2020