Angelina Albano joined New York Life in 1989 and currently serves as Vice President of Institutional Annuities and Head of Structured Settlements. She was instrumental in helping launch the Structured Settlements business, which provides tax-advantaged income annuities for personal injury and workers’ compensation claims and has $11 billion in assets under management.
Below, Albano shares her career path, development, and advice from her 33 years with New York Life.
What has been most rewarding about your time here?
I’ve had many rewarding experiences at New York Life but being part of a business that helps injured people gain financial independence is at the top of the list. Unfortunately, unforeseen tragedies can happen in life, and being part of a company that provides financial security and peace of mind to those who need it most is inspiring to myself and the entire Structured Settlements team. New York Life not only does the right thing for their clients, but for their employees too. And, as a leader, I’m grateful for the opportunity to help pay forward what I’ve learned and received from New York Life.
How do your role and department fit within the organization, and what are some of your main responsibilities?
Structured Settlements is one of four businesses within Institutional Annuities and, along with the other lines of businesses, we extend the New York Life brand to institutional markets while contributing to the Company’s strong earnings. A key part of what we do is educating our consultants on the company’s value proposition – our financial strength and mutual form of ownership – which aligns well with the long-term needs of injured victims. That’s the business side of it, but internally, it’s about setting a good example, building a strong culture and, equally important, finding ways to make people feel empowered and excited to work at New York Life.
What are you hoping to accomplish in your role?
I want to continue to grow this side of the business and further cultivate relationships with our consultants through meetings (virtual and in person) and events. I would also like to get more involved in New York Life’s DE&I efforts, and mentor those who are just starting out in their career at New York Life.
What do you wish you had known when you first started your career?
I wish I had understood the value of expanding my network and taking more time to meet people throughout the company. I’ve since learned the importance of building meaningful relationships and the impact it could have on my professional development.
I also wish I had known the importance of developing a professional roadmap and being strategic about the steps needed to reach my goals. Don’t wait for opportunities to be handed to you. Be proactive, identify gaps, and recommend solutions to fill those gaps. Produce innovative ideas. If you don’t do it, someone else will. Being proactive is not only a wonderful way to get noticed, but it also helps you to feel that you’ve made a difference.
I like to tell others not to get too comfortable in their current role and not to be afraid of change — the onus is on you to take your career to the next level
Has mentorship been a part of your journey? If so, how has this helped your career?
I’ve had a couple of informal mentors who have helped me gain a broader perspective on my career aspirations. Learning about their experiences and how they have navigated through their career has had a strong impact on my career trajectory. There are a lot of great leaders at New York Life that are willing to help guide you and offer insights that can help broaden your perspective and support your development. Take advantage of those relationships!
You previously led the Employee Engagement Committee for Institutional Annuities and now lead the Marketing Committee. What is involved in leading committees like these?
I'm responsible for setting the direction for the committees and at the same time, I try to bring out the best in individuals. Whether it’s through engagement activities or marketing efforts, it’s important to include everyone’s strengths, talents, and ideas and incorporate them into creating collaborative and effective teams
Similarly, you were also a participant of the Women Unlimited LEAD Program. What would you recommend women and allies do to empower women and support the advancement of their careers?
Yes, the Women Unlimited LEAD Program was a 12-month leadership development program to help women transition from managing to leading. I would encourage women to speak up and let their voice be heard. Also, be prepared and raise your hand to fill any gaps there may be on your team or in the business. Sharing your perspectives, showing initiative, and taking ownership will help you to differentiate yourself throughout your career.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years. A leader at New York Life once told me, “It’s easy to get caught up in your day-to-day tasks, but if you want to progress in your career, you should step back and think about what you and your team can do to have a greater impact at New York Life while fulfilling the company’s mission. And, as you’re developing a plan, you absolutely have to think strategically, but don’t push your tactical skills aside. If you don’t have your tactical skills, you won’t be able to implement your strategic goals and vision.” That advice has always stayed with me.
What are you most excited about at New York Life?
This is my second year taking over the Structured Settlements business, so I’m excited to accomplish the goals I have set and find innovative ways to further the business and empower my team. I’m also excited about being part of a company that has a strong history of living up to its promises as well as having a strong surplus to weather economic uncertainties. And, because of our financial strength and our commitment to living up to our promises, Structured Settlements fits in well with what New York Life is all about.
On a personal level, my son recently started working in Office of General Counsel, so I’m looking forward to watching him grow as he begins his journey with New York Life.
For those potentially looking to join New York Life, what is the one thing you would want them to know about the organization?
At New York Life, we pride ourselves on our culture, diverse perspectives, and supporting and empowering our employees while delivering our mission, core purpose, and values to our clients.
Outside of New York Life, what is something that excites or motivates you?
I’ve always loved boxing and two years ago, I joined a boxing gym. The feeling I have after a workout or sparring is like nothing I have ever experienced. I’ve learned so many disciplines such as power, speed, endurance, and mental focus all of which keeps me going back!
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