An ath­letic ap­proach

Digital Insurance - - CONTENTS - By Peggy Bres­nick

As VP and chief au­dit ex­ec­u­tive at Jack­son Na­tional Life In­sur­ance and North Amer­i­can in­ter­nal au­dit di­rec­tor at Pru­den­tial plc, Stacey Sch­a­bel fo­cuses on ex­am­in­ing and eval­u­at­ing the key ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­cesses sup­port­ing the North Amer­i­can op­er­a­tions. Her or­ga­ni­za­tion helps pro­tect the in­surer's as­sets, rep­u­ta­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity by assess­ment and re­port­ing on the over­all ef­fec­tive­ness of risk man­age­ment, con­trols and gov­er­nance pro­cesses. Sch­a­bel joined Jack­son in 2005 and stepped into her cur­rent po­si­tion in Jan­uary 2013. While her po­si­tion deals with data, num­bers and facts, it's Sch­a­bel's peo­ple skills and team-cen­tered ap­proach to man­age­ment that help her ex­cel in her job and set her apart as an in­dus­try leader. It's easy to see how Sch­a­bel evolved her lead­er­ship style. A life­long ath­lete, she grew up par­tic­i­pat­ing in sports like basketball and soccer. To­day, she plays in a women's soccer league year-round, en­joy­ing the chal­lenge and ca­ma­raderie. Sch­a­bel brings the dis­ci­pline, drive and co­op­er­a­tion re­quired to win at sports into the work en­vi­ron­ment. The re­sult is a team of pro­fes­sion­als who are ex­cited by their work and who like to come to the of­fice. “It takes a lot of per­se­ver­ance to be suc­cess­ful in sports,” Sch­a­bel ex­plains. “You'll never be per­fect at any sport you play, but you can over­come chal­lenges and reach your goals with a lot of hard work and per­sis­tent ef­fort.” Sch­a­bel man­ages her team as a co­he­sive or­ga­ni­za­tion and fo­cuses on sup­port­ing each team mem­ber. What she finds most ex­cit­ing about her po­si­tion is nur­tur­ing and en­abling her staff's growth and learn­ing, or as she calls it, “con­tin­ual peo­ple de­vel­op­ment.” “I like to help peo­ple learn and take on chal­lenges they didn't nec­es­sar­ily think they could do, while de­vel­op­ing great pro­fes­sion­als for the busi­ness,” she ex­plains. “Peo­ple on my team may not stay in in­ter­nal au­dit for­ever so we want to en­sure ev­ery­one un­der­stands all the as­pects of the busi­ness, and have gained the knowl­edge, ex­per­tise and skills to be very suc­cess­ful, no mat­ter where they go from here.” Sch­a­bel also meets one-on-one with team mem­bers at least quar­terly. She also holds an an­nual Strat­egy Day, where her team brain­storms its strat­egy for the year, dis­cussing in­ter­nal au­dit brand­ing, per­sonal de­vel­op­ment, communication and re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment. The team then for­mu­lates an en­hance­ment plan sup­ported by var­i­ous work streams. There are al­ways on­go­ing staff de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives in place on Sch­a­bel's team. “We're never go­ing to stop fo­cus­ing on find­ing great op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple to learn and grow,” she says. “At the end of the day, it makes us happy, en­gaged and suc­cess­ful.” Sch­a­bel cred­its her suc­cess to a men­tor who helped her find a way to mon­i­tor and ad­just her work and life goals. She reg­u­larly iden­ti­fies her per­sonal and pro­fes­sional goals and con­tin­u­ally as­sesses how she's pro­gress­ing in meet­ing them. To­day, as part of her per­for­mance plan­ning re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, Sch­a­bel men­tors her own team mem­bers, help­ing them set in­di­vid­ual goals. Many peo­ple haven't yet thought about what will make them happy in their per­sonal and pro­fes­sional lives so it helps to take stock in what they have and where they want to go, she ex­plains. “Each team mem­ber makes a list of what he or she want to ac­com­plish per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally, and we work to­gether to de­velop a plan to help them achieve their most im­por­tant goals,” Sch­a­bel notes, adding that the list needs to be fo­cused and lim­ited since goals change ev­ery year as pri­or­i­ties shift. Al­though she stays busy with work, fam­ily and friends, Sch­a­bel likes to vol­un­teer in her lo­cal com­mu­nity as much as she can. Since she stepped into her cur­rent role, she has com­bined vol­un­teerism with team build­ing ex­er­cises for out­reach ac­tiv­i­ties that in­clude work­ing at the Greater Lans­ing Food­bank. Sch­a­bel ad­vises her staff to sup­port one an­other to grow their lead­er­ship abil­i­ties and make a dif­fer­ence. “Take the time to talk about your ex­pe­ri­ences with oth­ers,” she says. “It ben­e­fits the or­ga­ni­za­tion, and it ben­e­fits you.”

Stacey Sch­a­bel VP and Chief Au­dit Ex­ec­u­tive, Jack­son Na­tional Life

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