Jodi Greenspan is not someone who will wait to be asked. Extra work? She’ll take it. The work no one wants to do? She’ll volunteer. A problem? She’ll solve it. It’s a mindset that’s served her well throughout her career, propelling the former English teacher from a maternity fill-in position on The Hartford’s corporate communications team to becoming the chief of staff for the company’s claims and operations organization.
Her role is laser-focused on daily internal and external communication details, but Greenspan has a penchant – and talent – for finding unique ways to support others and create company-wide programs offering mentorship, job placement and equitable opportunity. Examples include overhauling and leading the company’s selective three-year Accelerated Leadership Experience, which guides rising leaders within the company. She also helped create the Claims Apprenticeship Program, offering associate degree graduates a two-year, on-the-job training program that leads to placement at The Hartford (a program which earned federal recognition).
But that’s not even all. She also helms the claim’s organization Communication Corps, a group of communication coaches who are available to review and edit internal and customer-facing messaging – everything from emails to PowerPoint presentations. “We all know about the future skills that will be needed as automation increases. So what's left? It's capabilities like communication that are so critical,” Greenspan says.
Seeing the legions of employees Greenspan has inspired and mobilized, we thought it was time to turn the tables and ask her about her inspiration, mentorship and leadership insights.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I always like to say I have the best job in the world. So sorry, everybody else! [Laughs] I truly do believe that.
The job I have now [since April 2014] was created for me, so I try to never take that for granted. How many people can say they get up every day and love the work that they do and feel fulfilled?
Have you had mentors throughout your professional life?
I have to say: my experience shows more what not to do than what to do. I mentor dozens of people – not exaggerating – but I never had a mentor myself. That's not advisable. It takes a village and everyone needs support. I'm now a very passionate advocate for mentorship and sponsorship.
What’s the best professional advice you’ve received?
Always try to leave a place better than you found it.
It's about looking for those proactive ways that you can be of help, regardless of how small or big your job is. I still try to think of my work that way every single day.
Do you have any insight for leaders today when it comes to heading up remote and hybrid teams?
We've been doing [hybrid work] for years in Claims and what I love about it is that it creates inclusion and reinforces a level playing field. I think everyone just needs to lean into it.
And I think we've all probably gotten enough coaching about this, but it’s important to be as flexible and adaptable as possible. Adaptability is one of the critical skills of the future.
What’s your leadership superpower?
I’m going to ask my team! [Greenspan’s team responded with a host of enthusiastic comments, including the following:]
- Making everything understandable.
- Empowering those who work for you.
- Getting people to think differently by asking important questions.
- The ability to relate to people and deliver tough messages without [someone] feeling attacked.
- Always delivering creative solutions.
We want to talk about what inspires you as a business leader. Lightning round!
- What are your top go-to podcasts?
I'm terrible – I do not like podcasts. Everyone always asks. I have no patience for podcasts. But when I really need to focus on something difficult, I listen to concentration music on YouTube.
- Tell us about books or other media that have influenced your career.
I have two books about writing that are my favorite. One of them is Stephen King’s On Writing. It's a tiny little book. It's a fast read; he's a genius. The other is Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear by Dr. Frank Luntz. It's brilliant. He talks about failed marketing campaigns and incredibly successful ones and explains why they did and did not work. Words are kind of my thing. At work I say #WordsMatter. The words and syntax we choose are critical to change management and effective communication.
- Are there any organizations or causes you feel passionate about?
I like to support the arts because as much as I enjoy my corporate world, art is so important to our civilization and to the soul. Jewish causes are very near and dear to my heart, and I am also on the board of Capital Community College in Hartford. They are working hard to change people’s lives and give them economic stability and a career pathway. They do incredible work.
Brought to you by The Hartford. The content displayed is for information only and does not constitute an endorsement by, or represent the view of, The Hartford.
Information and links from this article are provided for your convenience only. Neither references to third parties, nor the provision of any link imply an endorsement or association between The Hartford and the third party or non-Hartford site, respectively.
The Hartford is not responsible for and makes no representation or warranty regarding the contents, completeness, accuracy or security of any material within this article or on such sites. Your use of information and access to such non-Hartford sites is at your own risk. You should always consult a professional.