Originally from Brazil, Liliana Canedo has a Master’s degree in Finance. Although her dream had been to work for the Federal Reserve Bank in Brazil, she failed the incredibly tough test for 1 point. Her weak subject? English! So she decided to come to the U.S. to study the language and go back to Brazil to retake the test. But things turned out differently than she planned when she met a Cuban man who later became her husband.
How did you decide to follow your current career track?
Searching for a job in my field in the US with no experience here was very difficult. Thousands of resumes sent out and no answers back. When I got married I become a New York Life (NYL) client. One day talking to my agent, he recommended me for an interview with the company to become an agent and I fell in love with the career opportunity. Today I’m a Corporate Vice President for Agency that supports Latinos getting their new careers as agents or partners and helping them to succeed.
What advantages do you have as a woman in the insurance industry and how you leverage those advantages?
In the insurance industry you work helping families or business to protect their financial future. You need to access their needs, concerns and priorities. The advantage of being a woman is that you can relate better to other women and understand their concerns and what they want to achieve and better help them plan for their future. It is a strong trust relationship.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your field and in your job?
The biggest challenges are, first that most people (Latinos even more) don’t understand the importance of planning for the future and protect their families. And second, most of people don’t see how great and fulfilling career this could be.
What do you find the most satisfying part of your work?
Helping others grow in their careers. It is very satisfying to see your coaching helped brand-new agents or partners become very successful in their careers.
What advice do you have for other women who work in male-dominant fields?
The women working in a male-dominant environment should speak their language and behave like one of them. Of course we need to work harder to proof ourselves, but we should never be intimidated by the gender. Work like there is no difference.
Give us an example of how you’re personally helping other women advance professionally or fulfill their career goals.
I’m constantly working with women. When I become a partner I had a unit of 16 women that became very successful agents. In the Home Office on my current role I head the Latina Opportunity program. I help recruit new Latinas to be agents; help current Latina agents to succeed and promote them to partners. Also help our Latina Partners to move into Senior Partners and Managing Partners.
Could you mention one or more women who have helped you get to where you are now?
Jane Conti is the head of the Women’s and Cultural Markets for NYL what we call Target Markets. From the time I started as an agent she supported me through my career as a mentor. I always look up to her for advice.
You can reach Liliana Canedo:
Office number 212-576-4632