As for the next generation, my son has no interest in the military or flying currently. But he is going to be an accountant, so I am extremely proud of him. My daughter, Rosalie, might go into Space Force. She also loves coding.
As a family, we have had our challenges. My youngest, Scarlett, was born with physical and mental disabilities. She had a diagnosis of hydrops fetalis at only 20 weeks gestation.
This changed our lives forever. Exposure to the world of unique needs brings about empathy, understanding and at times financial struggle.
I rejoined Civil Air Patrol in 2017 and rejoined the Minnesota Army National Guard in 2021. Due to my break in service, over 10 years, I had to go through combat training, followed by Warrant Officer School. One driver for rejoining the Minnesota Army National Guard was Tricare (military medical insurance) for Scarlett, including assisted living.
But maintaining good mental health is ongoing. It is like having a scar. It does not really heal; you just learn to live with it. Talking to people helps, especially people who have been in the same circumstances I have. Making special time for my family, rejoining the military, staying active and creating relationships with others we meet at special needs programs has helped.
Bringing experience and a diverse background to Securian Financial
I came to Securian in April 2020. My life experiences include a close encounter with erupting volcanos in Sicily, Hawaii and Saipan, a hurricane on the East Coast, tornadoes, civil war, revolutions, war zones, fires and floods. But I had never taken a new job during [a] pandemic, until then!
At Securian, I think of myself as a leader of people. Over a decade ago, I made a concerted effort to switch from being an individual contributor. I thought I could really influence people in their lives, mentor people and provide growth opportunities. I currently am the Director of the Cybersecurity Governance and Risk teams here at Securian.
One of the best things about the jobs here are the people. Leadership supports our mission (and us) here at Securian. We help create secure futures through our products and services. There is also the flexibility of a good work-life/balance working a hybrid schedule.
I appreciate the diversity and inclusion at Securian. It is an important topic. Only with the most diversity will we solicit the best ideas. Having varied backgrounds avoids ‘group think’ and allows for sharing of diverse ideas from a unique perspective. This has always been key to me as I grew up in the military with a varied group of people from all levels of society. As a director, my teams are diverse. What matters to me is that they are the best at the job. I hire from the largest pool of candidates, without bias, who are the best qualified.
There are a multitude of angles to my life, but I can be who I am at Securian. My leaders have supported me to rejoin the Minnesota Army National Guard. They said knowing my family situation, they thought it would be a good move for me and my family. I have never had leadership respond to me that way, so I nominated him in for an award: the Patriot award, by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
“Be You. With Us,” an outreach term that is a part of the Securian mantra, promotes a welcoming work environment. It is a phrase that speaks to diversity and inclusivity by encouraging individuals to bring their unique perspectives and identities to a group or organization. It suggests that everyone’s contributions matter and that a diverse range of perspectives is beneficial. It is encouraging people to be authentic and true to themselves while being a part of a group.
Securian embodies this ethos with not only its words but its continued actions with organizations like Associate Resource Groups, and the Servicemember Associate Resource Group. Cumulative life experiences shape our lives; we can learn from everyone’s strengths. I am honored and proud to be a part of this organization.