‘I Love My Job’: Making a Difference at ‘One of the Most Inclusive and Thoughtful Companies’

Sponsored by The Hartford

Nicole Bacon

Photo courtesy of The Hartford.

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Fairygodboss
April 15, 2024 at 6:18AM UTC

Welcome to I Love My Job, the series where we hear from real women who really love their jobs. In this edition, we sat down with Nicole Bacon, Regional Vice President for the Construction Underwriting Division at The Hartford.

Bacon tells us that what excites her the most about her job is working with some of the best teams in her industry. “I'm a pretty extreme extrovert,” she shares, “and I find the relationship-building work that we do incredibly exciting.” Bacon also emphasizes how wonderful it is to be “inspired by and engage with talented people every day.”

But how exactly does she engage with her team? Well, Bacon emphasizes the importance of being aware of the energy she brings into a room. “As a leader within a fortune 500 company, my energy needs to be authentic, infectious, productive and thoughtful,” she explains. “The impact that we bring to our interactions has a butterfly effect that ripples through the fabric of our organization. I take that responsibility pretty seriously.”

And this isn’t the only way that Bacon makes an amazing impact. In her role, no two days are the same, and her ability to help others is always growing. “Some days, I look back on a long day of mentoring or networking or strategizing, and I think, ‘Today we made the world a little bit better,’” says Bacon. “I live for those days.”

In the video below, Bacon shares more on why she loves working at The Hartford. We also provide lightly edited highlights from the video discussion in the following article.

Could you briefly explain your role at The Hartford?

I manage a group of people that price and recommend insurance for construction projects and contractors. I've been working in this line of business for over 20 years, even though I’ve been with The Hartford for just a couple of years.

How would you describe the culture at The Hartford?

The Hartford is — by far — one of the most inclusive and thoughtful companies that I've ever worked for… It’s refreshing to work with a company that's so dedicated to their employees.

The Hartford is a huge champion for diversity, equity and inclusion, and that charge is led by our chairman and CEO. We host Courageous Conversations, which are opportunities for employees to have a respectful discussion about mental health issues, work-life balance or social injustice. This promotes an open dialogue to really understand other people's perspectives.

Our leaders are encouraged to bring their authentic selves to the workplace and to support authenticity in their teams. We have regular access to our most senior executives within the company to ask hard questions about things like pay transparency and return-to-work activities. I've never worked for a company that strives so deeply to be at the forefront of these issues.

As a Black woman working in an industry that's not always dominated by people who look like me, I know that I’ve got a real opportunity to grow my career at a company that's addressing historical glass ceilings. That was important in my decision to join the company.

What’s your favorite thing about The Hartford?

The people! We recruit, hire and develop some of the best people. I find that we really pour into our talent, and it's fantastic to work with such a talented group of genuinely kind people.

How does The Hartford support your work-life balance?

First and foremost, The Hartford supports us in managing work life-balance by listening. Employee surveys are very common here at The Hartford, and we're asked our opinions on what we need for work-life balance. The overarching response by our employees has been flexibility

As such, we've embraced a new work model that fosters flexibility, innovation, inclusion and equity by taking the best of how we operated before the pandemic and combining it with what we've learned from our time working remotely… Each of us has an opportunity to discuss our own individual needs with our supervisors.

[Personally,] I'm a wife and a mother to two fantastic little humans. I know that I need flexibility in my schedule, just as much as my team needs flexibility… And, so, we're giving our leaders and our teams the opportunity to interpret what flexibility means to them.

What advice do you have for women looking for jobs at The Hartford?

Many women have a hard time correlating their work history and skills with positions in the corporate world. But, sometimes, you need to sell that correlation for an employer.

For example, one of my very best hires started her career working as a waitress. In our interview, she impressed upon me that the experience taught her about dealing with difficult people, time management and prioritization. Her tips depended on how well she could connect with the patron and the quality of her service.

[Since joining The Hartford,] she's gone on to be one of our best performers. So, sometimes, when you're thinking about opportunities, keep an open mind and remember to share all the skill sets that you bring to the table with future employers.



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