Goosebump Moments in Your Career

Ever have a moment where you get goosebumps from an impact you’ve made in your career? For me, it came a few weeks ago when AIG’s CEO, Brian Duperreault, began his remarks at a recent executive conference by describing an initiative I started over 4 years ago, the #InsuranceCareersMovement. Brian continues to be our main champion, complimenting the hard work of a global coalition putting a fresh, authentic face on insurance as an attractive career option. He repeatedly points out the unprecedented cooperation this initiative enjoys from his over 40 years of experience in insurance. In a recent video, he reflected, “This particular movement has kind of blown me away in the sense that it has been embraced by so many, in such a positive way. I haven’t seen the cooperation at this level before.” How often do you get the satisfaction of seeing someone of Brian’s stature recognize something you pioneered, and see so many prominent CEOs join in? CEOs including Inga Beale from Lloyds, Mike McGavick from XL Caitlin, Mark Watson of Argo Group, Pina Albo of Hamilton Group, Dan Glaser of Marsh & McClennan, and many others.

While not always so publicly grand, I’ve been incredibly blessed by a career filled with unique experiences, having been part of companies that figured out how to create pivotal moments and propel their momentum forward to impact the way we run our businesses and live our daily lives. Why have I been so lucky? There are many reasons, but we’ll focus in today on two themes.  

#1: Take calculated risks and go beyond your depth. You don’t need a fully figured out plan to jump at a new opportunity. In each of my roles, there have been numerous things I’ve learned on the job. I’ve had to persevere despite the butterflies in my stomach and doubts about whether I’d be able to figure it out. One thing I’ve always done is to seek out people who are experts in what I’m trying to accomplish, and ask for advice. I’ve never been afraid to freely admit what I don’t know, which has allowed me to learn quickly from others who have gone before me. I’m on the board of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, and recently had the privilege of interviewing the first woman in our state to be State Treasurer and Lieutenant Governor, Gail Schoettler. Gail is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this March. She is so driven and inspiring, and she shared with me that “Life always finds a way if you are open-minded… As you get older, you have more people to ask for advice along with considering your own life experiences. My advice is always to get out there and experience as much as you can. Look beyond what you can learn at your job, participate with non-profits, community organizations, and other venues to expand your world view.”

#2: Create value in your industry beyond your own self-interest. The whole notion of elevating the game in insurance compelled me to find partners to build this talent initiative. My company Valen has nothing to sell related to talent recruitment or development. We provide advanced data analytics to help insurers make more informed decisions about risk assessment, pricing, customer acquisition and claims handling. Where this initiative aligns with our self-interest is in our need to reach CEOs with a vision about the importance of evolving their organizations to be more analytically-driven, and the need to recruit tech-savvy talent to make that happen. With efforts like this, there’s not a direct correlation to sales at first, and you do take a leap of faith that the goodwill being created will pay dividends once momentum builds. I credit Valen’s CEO, Dax Craig, with giving me the leeway to see it through. It’s not an easy decision for companies, because we all have limited resources and abilities to focus on the most important priorities every quarter.

For today’s #MondayMotivation, I encourage you to create a vision for your career that allows you to build a network focused on taking risks and furthering the collective good. It can absolutely create goosebump moments by enriching your own sense of purpose, contribution and impact. #MakeItHappen #You’veGotThis


Kirstin Marr, CMO of Valen Analytics, has a passion for building companies that invent leading-edge technologies to improve customers’ lives and solve the inefficiencies that exist in traditional marketplaces. As the chief brand advocate for Valen Analytics, she helps pave the way for Valen’s clients to lead the innovation initiatives required to compete in today’s marketplace. Before Valen, she ran business-to-business marketing for internet technology pioneer and market leader, ServiceMagic.com (now HomeAdvisor).

Kirstin has a long-standing commitment to philanthropy and community leadership. Most recently, Kirstin is leading the Insurance Careers Movement coalition, a grassroots initiative of more than 850 insurance organizations raising awareness of what insurance has to offer young professionals. She has been involved in several non-profits focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, among other non-profit causes.