In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting women’s achievements throughout the month of March. The women’s history theme for 2023 is, “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” With this in mind, we are taking time to celebrate and recognize the stories of some of our own women leaders at Longbridge Financial.
The latest feature in our “Ladies Who Lead” series is Longbridge Wholesale Underwriting Manager, Jennifer Allen. We met with Jennifer to discuss what this month means to her, how to excel in a male-dominated industry, and the advice she has for her younger self.
Q: What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
A: Each year, Women’s History Month gives me the opportunity to not only reflect on my own accomplishments as a woman, but also on what other women have achieved, both past and present. I tend to take for granted how different it is to be a working woman today than what prior generations encountered. I’m grateful for the progress we’ve made.
Q: Which women’s stories throughout history need to be heard and supported more?
A: I think all women’s stories need to be heard and supported. Everyone has their own challenges in life they have overcome and those should be celebrated. Sometimes it’s not just about hearing a woman’s story, but truly listening and understanding her unique perspective. We can all learn from each other.
Q: How could you contribute your wisdom, expertise, or ideas to empower other women?
A: One of the best ways I can share or contribute is to be available and lead by example. I have a great relationship with my team and those types of relationships take work. We are here for one another through the highs and lows.
Q: What is one piece of advice to all women who are juggling between home and work?
A: Balancing my work life and home life is one of my biggest challenges. I try to allow myself grace. If I have a tough day at work, I might not get to the laundry or other household chores. The good thing is the chores can wait to be tackled on another day.
My advice to women trying to find this balance is to separate work from home as much as possible, so you can enjoy those moments without distraction. I try to pick a few nights a week to plan something to do uninterrupted with my family. Some weeks it’s as simple as making dinner together or having a movie night. But simple doesn’t mean unimportant.
Q: What advice would you give women struggling in a male-dominated industry?
A: My advice is to figure out what motivates you to come to work each day and to do your best. For me, it’s the team of people I support. Having such a great team of underwriters behind me helps me focus on supporting them, which makes any struggle I encounter that much easier to deal with.
Q: How can women find mentors?
A: If you see a trait in someone you admire, reach out and ask them how they do it. Mentors can be male, female, managers, and peers. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and start the dialogue. Most people, especially good mentors, are happy to share their knowledge and wisdom with others.
Q: What do you think helped you get so far in your career?
A: I think I have gotten far in my career by being self-aware. When I am in a challenging situation, I try to look within to see what I could have done to change the outcome. I can only control myself and, without being able to control others, being self-aware allows me to grow and evolve, not only as a leader, but a person. Self-awareness also allows me to be open to constructive criticism, which opens the door to great conversations and growth opportunities.
Q: Do you believe you have achieved everything you wanted to?
A: I am happy where I am in my life currently, but I know I have so much more ahead of me. I am excited to see what else awaits me, both professionally and personally.
Q: What would you say to your 20-year-old self?
A: You don’t need to be perfect! It is okay to make mistakes or fail at something. When I fail at something, I tend to take the experience and an opportunity for learning and growth. Some of my biggest failures have changed the way I structure my workday and have had a lasting, positive impact on my leadership approach.
Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your perspective with us and for being an outstanding leader!
About Women’s History Month
Celebrated annually throughout the month of March, Women’s History Month dates back to 1981 when Congress authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982, as “Women’s History Week.” It wasn’t until 1987 that, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Alliance (NWHA), Congress and the President proclaimed March as Women’s History Month.
Since then, presidents have annually proclaimed the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” This recognition honors the contributions and achievements women have made throughout American history.
The women’s history theme for 2023 declared by NWHA is, “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” To learn more about Women’s History Month and this year’s theme, visit https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org.