We all have those moments when we look at our lives and ask, Is this where I want to be? Am I happy in my job? Do I have the career I thought I would? Is my work impactful?

Seema Sheth, Teresa Knear-Bell, Andrea Smallwood and Leah Dozer all asked themselves those same questions. Their answers brought them to Northwestern Mutual.

Northwestern Mutual’s 160-year history in the financial services industry created a foundation for each of them to find success, flexibility and meaning.


“I want to make a difference. I see young adults struggling to understand basic financial principles. I see marriages and families where the stress of financial manners is impacting the relationship. I know the positive impact a financial plan can make to ease anxiety and create hope. That’s why I chose this career,” says Seema Sheth, a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual.

According to Northwestern Mutual’s 2017 Planning and Progress study, 8 in 10 Americans are financially anxious and that’s affecting their physical well-being.  “We’re making a real difference in real people’s lives – our neighbors, professional acquaintances, family. It’s a pretty heartwarming feeling,” said Andrea Smallwood, who is also a financial advisor with the company but has worn many hats in the firm since her start in 2010. “I fell in love with Northwestern Mutual when I was an intern in the recruiting department. I connected with the people, the culture and the company values. I believe in the value we provide, and I knew this would be a fulfilling career that I could feel good about,” she said.

Teresa Knear-Bell joined Northwestern Mutual nearly 23 years ago and has been committed to serving families and businesses throughout Southern Indiana and Louisville. “While I have always enjoyed working with business owners, families and professionals, through my time with the company, I discovered how fulfilling and how passionate I am about assisting families with special needs. It’s important for me to help them plan and implement strategies so that their financial needs are met.”

For many advisors, like Leah Dozer, a personal experience inspires them to pursue a career in financial planning. After losing her mother to breast cancer as a late teen and her father in her early thirties, Dozer realized she had a strong desire to protect others. “I’ve seen the impacts of life changing events on families – both good and bad.  I’ve heard the excitement and relief in a client’s voice when they see their financial goals are possible.  I’ve also experienced the not so great moments when a client has experienced a loss or heard bad news.  Because of our work, families will be prepared for what may come their way.”


Workplace satisfaction and happiness are most often tied to office culture, and Northwestern Mutual strives to foster a culture of inclusion and support. Kathy Scott, Chief Financial Officer of Northwestern Mutual – Louisville, said she is “proud to be part of an office culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.” Scott is also proud to be one of the three women on the six-person executive leadership team at Northwestern Mutual. “Many years ago, when I was exploring a career move there was something about Northwestern Mutual that kept tugging at my heart. We all feel empowered here. It’s a unique and special feeling,” Scott said.

For financial advisors Sheth, Smallwood, Knear-Bell and Dozer, Northwestern Mutual offered something seldom found together – autonomy and support. “Anything entrepreneurial can feel scary, but the guidance and milestones Northwestern Mutual provides along the way give you the confidence to know you’re on the right track and can grow to that next level,” said Sheth. Recognizing the value gained from her own Northwestern Mutual mentors, Sheth is growing into a leadership role within Northwestern Mutual by building a team of women to mentor and develop.

“From day one, I was impressed by the support my peers and colleagues provided me. It’s amazing to see the level of dedication our team puts into helping one other succeed.  It’s not only the development program but the hours spent listening and working with each person to ensure they have the knowledge and tools needed to be the best version of themselves,” says Debra Davidson, Chief Operations Officer with Northwestern Mutual-Louisville.


Having the luxury to design her life the way she wants to live it is what makes the difference for Knear-Bell. “It’s that independence and freedom to make your own choices that I enjoy so much,” she said. Being an entrepreneur has given Knear-Bell the flexibility to dedicate time to other interests, like refereeing soccer and practicing Tae Kwon Do.

For mothers of small children, Smallwood and Dozer also value the flexibility the career provides. “As a parent, I am constantly chauffeuring my daughters to v

arious practices, games and birthday parties,” Dozer said. “But at Northwestern Mutual, I design my own schedule for my own business, which enables me to truly be in the moment for my family and really, isn’t that what life is all about?”

Interested in joining the team?

Northwestern Mutual offers a career where changing someone’s life for the better can also be life-changing for you – personally, professionally and financially. To learn more about a career with Northwestern Mutual, email Elizabeth Rivers or visit www.northwesternmutual.com/careers.