Featuring Raquel M. Lorenzetti, Senior Accountant, Corporate Accounting, Liberty Mutual Insurance
Monday through Friday, Raquel M. Lorenzetti is a senior accountant at Liberty Mutual Insurance. But on the weekends, she is a first lieutenant and company commander in the U.S. Army Reserve with responsibility for 120 soldiers at Fort Devens.
“Joining a Fortune 500 company that understands and supports my army obligation was important to me,” says Lorenzetti, who, with the recent launch of Valor@Liberty, Liberty Mutual’s military and ally employee resource group, has been connecting with people at the office who have also served in the armed forces and share similar experiences. “Being a member of the military is a privilege and it is a community that means so much to me.”
Corporate America and the military actually have a lot in common, she says, and she takes every opportunity she can to mentor military veterans and active duty service members on how they can parlay their military experience into a successful business career. Here, she shares the four skills she honed as an officer in the Army that she uses daily in the business world:
1. Decision making
While business executives do not commonly face the same life-or-death consequences as military leaders, success in both worlds requires a strong decision-making process, where you are thinking things through and planning for unintended results. “You can make all the decisions in the world in advance, but you need to be able to adapt and adjust your rhythm when things happen in real time,” Lorenzetti says. You also need to have the character to do the right thing even when no one is watching.
2. Communicating and collaborating
Lorenzetti’s favorite military motto: One team, one fight. “Rarely does anyone accomplish their goals without help,” she says, “and while there are times in the military when we may need literally to burn bridges, metaphorically it is never a good idea.”
To gain buy-in or to form a coalition, communicating across diverse cultures, ranks and tenure is key. For Lorenzetti that means, “harnessing your team’s diverse experiences and points of view and then articulating it all cohesively.”
3. Assessing risks and rewards
In the Army, it’s stressed that “the risks associated with mission success come with rewards and incentives,” Lorenzetti explains. But you have to be smart, e.g., you wouldn’t take a big risk for a small reward. For someone like Lorenzetti who embraces the risk/reward culture of the military, a career in insurance, which is all about risk, couldn’t be more ideal.
4. Project and team management
Lorenzetti swears by the military’s backward planning process: “When planning for a large event, we look at milestones 90, 60 and 30 days out and what we need to do to accomplish them. The same methodology can be applied in business.”
But when it comes to managing people, there is a skill from the office that she uses with her Army Reserve unit. “The military does not go looking for ways to reinvent the wheel,” Lorenzetti says, laughing, “but sometimes there is an opportunity to make a small change.” Adopting Liberty Mutual’s management system that emphasizes coaching and continuous improvement, she rearranged her “platoons to create new leadership development opportunities and provide certain individuals with additional responsibilities.” She adds: “The unit now functions more consistently and efficiently.”