working at Nyl
New York Life | January 11, 2024
New York Life recently hosted a career panel and networking session featuring women leaders from the company’s data science, technology, and venture capital teams – all fields that have traditionally struggled with lower percentages of female representation.
The session offered a panel discussion with Amanda Gallagher, Managing Director and Global Head of Client Data & Tech Solutions, New York Life Investments; Mary Louie, Director & Data Scientist for the company’s Center for Data Science & Artificial Intelligence; and Dina Samra, Director of Business Development, New York Life Ventures. Katie Kirts, Director of Global Technology, New York Life Investments, moderated the conversation.
Panelists shared how they tackled different roles over the courses of their careers, reflected on the challenges and defining moments that shaped them, and gave advice on how to make career pivots. Lessons shared included:
1. Making the Pivot
The panelists' ability to combine technical concepts and strategic business value developed as they took on various roles and projects throughout their careers. But how were they able to make that switch, and how did they navigate the transition?
Samra reflected, “I recently pivoted from a career working in startups. The lesson I learned being inside a large enterprise is that both startups and corporations want the same thing: to grow.”
Gallagher added, “New York Life values internal mobility. When you prove yourself in one area, people are more willing to take a chance on you. And there’s value in being a beginner. When you try a new thing, you are more graceful towards yourself to fail and learn. Have courage and take that jump.”
2. Authenticity and Balance
In discussing the challenges they have faced during their careers, the panelists focused on two key lessons: authenticity in the workplace and maintaining work-life balance.
Event participants were encouraged to be leaders that are authentic as opposed to attempting to emulate the style of someone else and to take time for themselves to maintain stability.
3. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable
As Kirts highlighted as moderator, a common theme among the three panelists was their ability to "connect the technical dots," communicating complex topics to different audiences and stakeholders in an effective way.
Louie and Gallagher both have roots as technical practitioners, being a data scientist and software engineer, respectively. For them, growth has come through broadening their perspective in unexpected ways.
“You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” explained Louie. “That’s where the growth occurs.”
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