Instead of a ladder, Stacey describes his career as a journey. One that’s been both challenging and fulfilling. And, looking back, he has five pieces of advice for his younger self or anyone else who’s just beginning their own journey.
Julie Cosio, Senior Vice President of our U.S. Mobile business in Connected Living, joined Assurant in 1997 and has been leading our client management teams for the financial services, extended service contract, and device protection product lines since 2014.
Throughout her career and tenure at Assurant, Julie has gained rich knowledge in the business as well in professional and personal development. She recently shared her insights with us about working in the industry, how she grew into her current role, and what it means to be a leader:
How did you get your start in this industry?
Second job out of college. Hired by Assurant’s CFO. I started as a market analyst in our mobile home insurance group. I was in that job for about 6 months and then became what is now today an account executive but back then it was a client relationship manager. Worked on various mobile home insurance accounts and then we branched out our division. I was also responsible for leased and financed equipment, renters’ insurance, and things like that. I worked in that group at different levels of client management for about 9 years. Then I moved into our financial services group in 2006 and eventually lead that business until we consolidated our service contracts business in 2012 and 2013. At that point, we formed Connected Living, and I started working in the mobile space, so it’s been about 10 years in mobile. We had just launched T-Mobile when I started in CL so that is how I started in mobile and have been working in this space now for 10 years.
What do you like the most about your current role?
No two days are the same. Constant change which I like and it’s constant learning. Just when you think you have mastered a subject in our world you learn something new. I have always loved that about our company that there’s always the opportunity to learn and grow.
Who inspired you to be a leader and why?
From a female leadership perspective, when I was coming up through the ranks there were two women whom I worked with here at Assurant that I looked up to. One of them, from a professional development perspective was constantly reinventing herself. The two of them were my inspiration.
There were people along the way that helped me grow. When I first started in financial services, a management opportunity came up one of my male leaders gave me my first shot. He was always calm under pressure and able to inspire the teams and wonderful to work with and for.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome since you have been the head of mobile for Assurant?
When we reorganized at the end of 2021, we brought in two groups, legacy Assurant and legacy Hyla teams. Neither understood one other’s operations, products, and clients and so it was a big learning curve for both teams. To bring two different groups together and still manage an overall P&L for mobile was definitely a challenge. We put a lot of things in place in early 2022 to try to bridge that gap quickly from organizational structure to providing new opportunities and learning opportunities for the team. We intentionally set things up so that we could overcome that quickly.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I’m a big proponent of raising your hand when you see an opportunity that you’re interested in or that you think you would be a good fit for. I think I wish that I had done that earlier in my career. I think that kind of bravery took me a while maybe till my early 30s whereas I wish I had more of that self-confidence earlier on so that I would have raised my hand a little bit earlier in my career. That would be my advice, always raise your hand.
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