Becky Schroeder may no longer be in school, but she still considers herself a student of marketing. Passionate about writing and marketing, she likes to study many companies and brands for ideas she can use in her job as vice president of marketing at ITC.
'So much about marketing is continually changing,' said Becky. 'You can't expect the same tactic to always give you the same results.'
Born and raised in Texas, Becky joined ITC in 2011 after working in the public relations and accounting industries. I talked with her about her journey to the industry and more. This is the way Becky Schroeder works.
Vice President of Marketing at ITC
How did you get into the insurance industry?
Five years ago I was looking for my next marketing challenge and adventure. I found the job listing for a marketing director at ITC and applied. I have not once regretted the decision to join ITC and be part of this industry.
What is it you like about the industry?
The passion. Every single person I have encountered in this industry has passion for what they do. Whether they're an agent, carrier or vendor. At ITC we make a difference in the lives of our agents, which helps them make a difference in their clients' lives. That has incredible meaning and makes me feel like something bigger and more important than myself.
One word that describes how you like to work.
Current mobile device
Dell Precision laptop. Up until three or four months ago, I worked on a desktop. I switched to a laptop and love how much easier it is for me to work remotely when I need to. Like when I have a sick kid.
Project(s) you're currently working on
a. Early planning stages for ITC Agent Conference 2017. (If you're an agent looking for a conference that you'll get a lot out of, I promise you want to come to Agent Conference.)
b. Updating our training videos.
c. Continue looking for ways to improve our marketing strategy.
Accomplishments you're proud of
I don't know that I can pick just one. But being named an Elite Woman in the industry by Insurance Business America is certainly on the list! Some other things I'm incredibly proud of: implementing consistent, clear marketing strategy for ITC and the impact that has had on us and our customers; moving to a city where I knew no one to pursue my dreams of a graduate degree and living in Boston
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
1. Start taking a step back from the day-to-day marketing tasks so I can focus on the bigger picture and working more on the marketing strategy and direction for the company.
2. Raise awareness for ITC in the industry and our belief that we all need to work together for the future success of the independent agency channel.
Aside from your phone and computer, what gadget or app can't you live without and why?
1. Twitter - I've been on Twitter since 2007, and it is still by far my favorite social media network and one of my preferred ways to spend my free online time. If you forced me to choose between Facebook and Twitter, I will always choose Twitter.
2. Trello - We use Trello to keep track of our projects in the ITC marketing department. I absolutely cannot live without it. I love being able to go in and add comments to a project, give an update, assign a new project, etc all in one place instead of having to send a ton of email.
3. Pocket - I come across a lot of articles but don't always have the time to read them in the moment. I can easily save an article to Pocket for reading later whether I'm on my phone or at my desk. I love being able to add tags to articles so I can organize what I save to Pocket.
4. Feedly - I subscribe to the RSS feeds of many blogs. Instead of going to each individual blog or getting a bunch of emails, I can check all my favorites in one place. Much simpler.
5. Dark Sky - My favorite weather app. It gives me a 10 minute warning whenever it's about to rain. That warning has saved me from a wet seat many times.
Describe your workspace.
A laptop with docking station and two monitors. After switching to a laptop a few months ago, I don't ever want to go back to a desktop. It's so convenient and easy to work from anywhere if I need to. Also, right now my desk is covered in stacks of paper though I'm working to reduce the chaos.
How do you manage your to-do list?
A combination of Trello, tasks in Outlook and a handwritten daily list. I love my handwritten list and don't think I'll ever give it up. There's something incredibly satisfying about crossing something off my list when it's done. I try to write my to-do list for the next day before I leave work in the afternoon. If I don't, it's the first thing I do in the morning.
What's your best time-saving tip or hack?
Don't be constantly in your email. If I'm in the middle of something I need to focus on, I will ignore my email. I don't go so far as to close my Outlook. But I will minimize or block it so I can't see my inbox. When I'm done or ready for a break, that's when I check my email. This of course means I often get asked if I saw an email 15 minutes after someone sent it.
What is your best everyday habit?
I have two everyday habits that I think are important to my productivity. One is reading. I scan headlines every day. Industry news as well as marketing news. The world is changing. I like to stay up to date on what's going on in our industry so I make it a habit to read every day. Being aware of what's going on in my industry as well as in marketing makes me a better marketer.
The second habit is daily stand up meetings with my team. These stand ups allow us to reassess priorities and check in regarding what we're working on and what may be keeping us from moving forward. We are better able to keep projects moving forward because of these stand ups rather than waiting a week to discuss what's going on.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
Balancing daily marketing project needs with the greater marketing strategy and analysis. Plus, staying organized. I'll clean up my desk and my inbox and declare I'm going to stay organized. I always start with the best of intentions, but I inevitably put some paper on my desk or don't file some emails with a promise to myself to get to them later. And then I do a little more another day. And a little more. Until I end up with chaos on my desk. Or an inbox that needs to be cleaned out.
How do you decompress?
Playing with my two girls, watching some TV with my husband, reading, cleaning. But, my favorite way to release stress is to workout. Whether it's running, yoga or Bar Method. Some sweat therapy is the best for my mental health and maintaining a good stress level.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Early morning before everyone gets up is the only time during the day I have to myself. I get up early to get a workout out in, enjoy some coffee and relish the peace and quiet of being the only one awake in the house.
Who are your business idols and why?
I admire several people, but these are the ones that come to mind first.
My parents. I respect their work ethic, their integrity and their determination to always do the right thing no matter how hard.
Marissa Mayer. She's the CEO of Yahoo and has young children. I think she's incredibly smart and tough. I mean, what else is there to say?
J.K. Rowling. Some might not consider her a businessperson, but she is highly creative and brilliant at building and maintaining her brand. She did not let rejection stop her. She believed in herself and in her dream, and her perseverance led to her success. Plus, she's a phenomenal writer.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Anticipate. This is a lesson I learned as a kid from my parents and also in my professional life. I once had a boss who told me to not just bring him problems but to bring him solutions. I didn't have to bring him THE solution, the one we would actually do. But he taught me how important it was to think through the problem or question and bring my ideas to the table for how we might handle the situation. I feel like I've learned more about marketing and business through this process of thinking through solutions on my own rather than relying on someone else to tell me the answer.
What would you be doing if you weren't working at ITC?
I would be doing marketing for some other B2B company.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
Anything worth having in life doesn't come easy. You have to work at it.
Swim through the wall. (This one comes from my high school swim coach. He would tell us to not slow down before we hit the wall. I still think of it often to remind myself to not slow down on a project or goal until it's done.)
What's your favorite blog or podcast?
Some of my favorite blogs: Seth Godin, Marketoonist, Social Media Examiner, Without Bullshit, The Verge, Gaping Void.
Some of my favorite podcasts: Freakonomics Radio; Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; The Longest Shortest Time; The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe
What do you listen to while working?
Sometimes music. Sometimes the noise in the office. It depends on what I'm working on. If I need to focus and the office is a little noisy, the headphones go on, and the music gets turned up.
What are you currently reading?
Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt. I started listening to their podcast of the same name about a year ago, and it quickly became one of my favorites. I always learn the most fascinating things from that podcast. So I decided to read their book.
What are you watching on Netflix right now?
These aren't Netflix, but I'm currently watching season 2 of The Leftovers and season 3 of The Americans.
Who would you like to see in a future This is the Way post?
Carrie Reynolds, Stuart Ganis and Tyler Nicholson
The This is the Way blog series asks ITC employees, agents, carriers and other people in the industry how they work and to share their tips. Is there someone you want to see featured or questions we should ask? Tweet us or leave it in the comments below.