Tracey Vasile, Inspirational Leaders [Part 1]
Tracey Vasile, Inspirational Leaders [Part 2]
In this two-part conversation, Tracey explains why it’s important that people know their leader always has their back, how she empowers her team to achieve more than they think is possible, and how Verisk’s supportive environment enables people to thrive. Watch the videos above, and continue reading for the video transcripts.
TRANSCRIPT [Part 1]
How do you and your team work to improve the client experience?
Like all client-facing parts of our organization, the client engagement team is incredibly focused on improving the client experience. We have the unique opportunity to do so as a team that fits— what I like to term—in the “middle” of Verisk. We don't represent a line of business. We don't represent a business unit. We represent Verisk to our clients.
As we all know, Verisk is a large, complex organization, [with] many parts and pieces, [and] a lot of great work happening. We consider it our role—and often get the opportunity—to bring those different parts and pieces together to create an even better experience for our clients, and in turn, a better experience within Verisk as well.
That communication and collaboration that we've had the opportunity to facilitate in our roles have an incredible impact on our clients.
How do you empower your teams to strive for excellence?
To empower a team to strive for excellence, I typically follow these four premises.
First and foremost, set clear goals and objectives. People need to know what they're striving for and what success looks like.
Second, always be available to provide guidance, coaching, and support. Knowing that you're there to share with them your expertise, your knowledge, [and to] talk through a situation is an incredible feeling for somebody to have when they're dealing with difficult conversations as well as good situations.
Third, always believe in them—even when they don't believe in themselves. Sometimes, just that belief that you have in them can allow them to overachieve what they thought was possible.
And fourth, make sure they know and believe that you'll always have their back. No matter what. That's incredibly important as you have folks in your team striving for excellence because there are going to be those speed bumps. There are going to be some failures along the way. And knowing that you're going to be there as their coach, as their leader—to support them through both the bad situations as well as the good—is a very strong motivator to your team.
TRANSCRIPT [ Part 2]
What are three things you look for when hiring?
When I'm hiring somebody for a role on my team, there are really three things that I look for.
First and foremost is skill and will: the ability to do the responsibilities of the role, and also the desire to do so—and to do them well and to overachieve on expectations.
The second is a fit with the culture of our organization. There are stellar candidates out there that could do the role incredibly well but might not thrive in the environment here at Verisk. And it's important to realize that during the interview process.
And the third one, which is one that I've learned over time, is to trust your gut. You are where you are in the organization because of what you've accomplished and how well you have done. And you will know in your gut whether somebody is going to be a good fit for the role on your team and have a successful career here.
What advice can you share on starting a career?
I often get asked for advice from folks just starting out in their career and I typically share four thoughts that I have for folks just at that point in their lives.
First, don't be afraid to ask. Ask for the promotion. Ask to get involved in a project. Just ask to learn. I always say, the only dumb question is the one you don't ask. And I use that philosophy in my work life as well as my personal life. And I've also found that even when the answer [that] comes back is “no,” that it's an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to get even better.
[The] second piece of advice would be to be your authentic self. You're going to come into contact with a lot of people and you'll learn a lot from them. But regardless, take in all those learnings, and still be true to who you are. I found when I tried to be somebody that I wasn't, I did not achieve or overachieve.
Third, be okay with taking risks. Be okay with failing. And I know that, [as] somebody that grew up in a house where anything below a “C” was unacceptable, that is really difficult to take to heart and live by. But some of my biggest failures have presented the biggest opportunities to learn and to grow.
And when you're in an environment here at Verisk, people support you. Even when you start working on something that maybe doesn't come to fruition, they're there. And you know, there will be times when you try something, and you succeed. But if you had been so afraid of failure, you wouldn't have even tried it.
The fourth is to seek out a mentor: one that you're comfortable with, one that will challenge you, [and one] that will tell you when you're doing things right and when you could do things better—and things to think about in terms of how you want to improve. But that level of comfort needs to be balanced with honesty and transparency in order for you to get the true benefit out of that relationship.