Suzanne is the Head of Modeling in the Consumer Markets Division at Pacific Life.
I like to think I am just getting started with my career and hope to have a long journey ahead, and maybe my response in a decade to two will be a more entertaining read. For now, I’ll keep it short and sweet and to the point, three points in particular: education, hard work, and good communication.
From a young age, my parents instilled in me and my siblings the importance of a good education and hard work, and they made several sacrifices to ensure that we received the best education they could afford. Migrating to the U.S. as a young adult and entering college as an international student from halfway across the world taught me very quickly the importance of being a clear communicator.
A typical day for me looks like several project meetings where most of my time is focused on making decisions that pertain to changes in timeline, resources, and budget. I also spend a good part of my week making sure I am communicating to management on the progress of our projects and team activities with a key intention of highlighting areas where we need their support. Finally, I spend a lot of my week meeting with key stakeholders (Actuarial, IT and external consultants) invested in the success of our projects and helping them get the necessary support to achieve their goals.
The biggest challenge of my role is leading my team through the transformational projects that are inflight at Pacific Life. Transitioning to a new way of working and doing things brings with it a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding what’s next. Leading through uncertainties means sometimes making decisions with incomplete information and trying to ensure we balance the right priorities. My personal mantra through this perseverance and taking one day and month at a time.
I am a strong believer in setting boundaries and not spending too much time fretting about balancing the various facets of my work and daily life. As a working mom, my work and daily life are interconnected and achieving a perfect balance is challenging. Setting boundaries around family time and self-care, however, is a lot more achievable for me and how I measure my happiness. As an example, a good day for me is a mix of a workout (maybe two if I am lucky), one or two sessions of deep work (90-minute blocks of focused work) and sitting down for dinner with my family. I love working for Pacific life as we have embraced a lot of flexible practices such as hybrid working, Rejuvenation Days, and Monday afternoon quiet time, to name a few.
Pacific Life has supported my career growth and development by giving me opportunities to participate and lead high-profile work projects and providing me access to coaches and mentors. I highly encourage anyone who is reading this: if you don’t have a mentor, look around for someone you admire and ask to meet with them ever so often to get their advice on work- and life-related issues. I am greatly supported by all my mentor relationships, and I am truly grateful for this environment that Pacific Life has fostered.
A lot of things! Mostly typical things like short weekend trips, cooking and spending quality time with my husband and son. Some more meditative practices for me personally are getting in a long run, doing hot yoga and my weekly ritual of cleaning my house.