Not all jobs come with the opportunity to help people plan for the future, prepare for life’s challenges and find peace of mind. But after a decade of crisscrossing the country (and the globe), in roles at Starbucks corporate, a modeling career in Los Angeles, producing a documentary in D.C., even a stint in South America, that’s exactly what Seema Sheth found at Northwestern Mutual.
Closing a gap
Sheth says it was an “epiphany” in grad school that put her on the path to Northwestern Mutual and becoming a Financial Representative. “I believe financial literacy is a real challenge for so many people. I saw a need to help people become more educated and empowered about their personal finances,” she says. “I wanted to build a scaffold that gave people control and confidence when they go to bed at night.”
Not sure where this thinking and her entrepreneurial spirit would lead her, Sheth reconnected with her former teacher, Chris Brice, from her days as a student at Kentucky Country Day. “Even when I first met her 15 years ago, it was clear Seema had a gift for communicating with people. She also has exceptional leadership skills and a passion for her community,” says Brice, chief development officer at Northwestern Mutual’s Louisville office.
In one of Brice’s classes, high school students, including Sheth, learned how to set up a community foundation and to act as a board. They were tasked with everything from raising capital, to determining a cause to support, to making good investments with donor dollars.
Sheth says the lessons learned from that course still influence her today. “It’s one of those few classes that taught you real life skills,” she recalls.
Sheth emphasizes it was the entrepreneurial aspects of the role that made it appealing. “I liked the independence of starting and running my own business, but I also wanted the benefits that come from a company with a long-standing tradition,” says Sheth. “Anything entrepreneurial can feel scary, but the guidance and milestones they provide along the way give you the confidence to know that you’re on the right track and can grow to that next level.”
Defining success on your terms
Both Brice and Sheth agree that there’s not one single profile for success in the financial industry. “There’s a great diversity of people here and no two people are the same,” says Brice. “We really emphasize discovering what success looks like to you and determining how you want to build your brand.”
Sheth adds: “The work we do with families and professionals is a game changer. It’s as much about understanding values and lifestyle goals as it is finances. So it’s important to lead by example. The Financial Professionals at Northwestern Mutual spend lots of time outlining their personal values and their vision for the future. I’ve never worked with an organization that has put so much emphasis on personal development and goal setting. It’s refreshing to be part of something bigger.”
“I feel proud to work for Northwestern Mutual. I love being back in Louisville, reconnecting with old friends and helping my clients achieve financial security.”
And she’s wasted no time getting involved with many local organizations including the Junior League of Louisville, the Young Professionals Association of Louisville (YPAL), the Young Professionals Opera Patrons (YPOP), and the Girls IdeaFestival (where she was recently a featured guest speaker).
While Sheth didn’t always envision herself in such a role, she’s found it offers many of the perks most young professionals are seeking in their careers. “I knew that the mission of the company was critically important to me– but I also wanted a modicum of control over my life,” she says. “I wanted to have the flexibility (when the time comes) to be present for kids and family. I also wanted to have the opportunity to be involved in the community, personally and professionally.”
To learn more about working alongside Seema Sheth and the Northwestern Mutual team here in Louisville, email Elizabeth Rivers.
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Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries. Life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits are issued by The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM). Seema Subhash Sheth is an Insurance Agent of NM and a Registered Representative of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (securities), a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA (www.finra.org) and SIPC (www.sipc.org). Products and services referenced are offered and sold only by appropriately appointed and licensed entities and financial professionals. Not all products and services are available in all states.