“Be gentle to yourself and your expectations.”
With Jamie Landers, Senior Director of Product Management
It’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes we spread ourselves too thin and need to reach out.
In this edition of Women in Leadership, CMT’s Senior Director of Product Management, Jamie Landers, shares advice for working parents, how her passion for people and process led her to CMT, and how her hobbies help her decompress.
Our interview has been edited for length and clarity.
CMT: I know you’re busy, so thank you for joining me today. To start off, can you tell me about your role as Senior Director of Product Management?
Jamie: I am the product owner of all of our claims solutions for our customers. So what does that mean? That means that I have regular meetings with our dedicated full-stack engineering team who are responsible for building, maintaining, and enhancing our awesome products that make the claims process more efficient for our auto insurance partners and their customers.
I am always collaborating with our cross-functional partners, so data science, analytics, marketing, design, and sales. We’re talking about product health, customer feedback, and product innovation.
I also get to meet with industry partners, thinking through new product opportunities, and partnerships for CMT in the auto claims space. I really love how collaborative my role is. At heart, I am a people person, so collaborating with our customers on innovative solutions that improves their customer experience, and drive claims efficiencies really does bring me joy.
CMT: How did you get to where you are today in your career?
Jamie: It has been a fun ride getting here, I can tell you that much. I’ll give you the short version. I started out consulting out of college. I was very eager to work hard and pay off my student loans and learn as much as I could. That firm specialized in aviation and I got to travel around the world for projects with airlines, airports, and aircraft leasing companies. Those first seven years, I definitely learned a lot and it really helped me understand what direction I wanted to take my career in.
I really learned that my passion was for people, process, and communication. With that as my north star, I moved to Liberty Mutual in their personal auto claims strategy team. For my almost four years there, I really learned the importance of change management for large front line organizations that handle auto claims.
I got to focus on Liberty’s call center for auto claims intake and their salvage group. I really loved partnering with their front line organization, from their leadership, to the individual contributors. Learning from their empathy and the nuance of claims handling was really an eye-opening opportunity for me.
That experience at Liberty Mutual led me to CMT. This experience really broadened that passion for auto claims strategy, to developing innovative products for those same organizations. I love working with claims organizations across the industry which has been an awesome privilege.
CMT: You have a full-time job and you’re a mom. Can you tell us about your experience being a mom and working your full time job?
Jamie: Before having kids, I really admired working parents, but I don’t really think I understood what was going on behind the scenes. It’s definitely been eye-opening. I can say that I am very thankful for CMT’s hybrid model and our family-oriented culture. So working from home really allows me to optimize the time I get to spend with my daughter and my ability to hit the ground running for meetings before 9:00 AM if I have to.
Also, that family-first culture is really reassuring. So on many of my Zoom meetings there is a little toddler hand waving ‘Hi, hi.’ People welcome it, which is encouraging, but truthfully sometimes it is challenging.
My boss or my peers have covered many client calls. When I see my cell phone and I see it’s daycare calling, at the end of the day, I need to make sure my daughter is okay. And if I need to pick her up that’s what I need to do. So I appreciate the coverage from the team and the balance there. But I think it makes me being a full-time employee and mom, it makes me appreciate both more. I cherish the peaceful moments at my desk, of productivity, and partnering with my peers. And then I really look forward to picking her up at the end of the day to start our evening routine.
CMT: How do you integrate being a mom and employee?
Jamie: Being a mom is just so core to who I am now, it’s almost hard to describe. It really makes me smile that my whole team and peers know my daughter’s name, they know what she’s up to, and a really special shoutout to my husband here. Our partnership really enables both of our successes. What does that look like on a daily basis? We triage both of our meetings at the beginning of the day, who’s doing pickup, drop off, how do we make everything work, so we’re able to strike a balance so that we both can be career-focused but it’s definitely based in partnership.
CMT: How has CMT set you up for success to have a family and be a mom?
Jamie: First of all, I would love to thank CMT for the generous maternity leave policy. I think having that time up front, A to recover, and B to adjust to being a mom with a newborn, is a challenge in itself. Those first few months are not easy and having that time at home is critical. I think that is great and now being able to work from home when we need to and to have flexible hours, if I need to leave at 4 to go pick up my daughter, I can sign on later and wrap up the work I need to do to make sure I set tomorrow up for success is really what I need to make both my career and my partners career, successful.
How do you decompress and manage stress?
Jamie: It’s definitely an important thing to know how to tackle. I think three things come to mind. First, to make sure I have a fresh to-do list. Starting out Monday morning knowing what my priorities are for the next week in order. Next for me is always making sure I have time to exercise. I love my Peloton and I find the teachers hysterical and my step-sons always look at me because it’s right behind the Xbox and they’re like ‘why is she laughing while working out?’ But it really does bring me joy. Third, I love to cook. It feels like it grounds me when I can make a nice home-cooked meal, not always needing to do takeout. It’s not something we always have time to do during the week so that’s definitely a creative outlet for me on the weekends.
CMT: What’s a piece of advice for women out there who are moms or want to become moms?
Jamie: Anyone who’s thinking about having kids or who has kids, the biggest piece of advice is to be gentle to yourself and your expectations. I think striking that balance between work and family is challenging and it continues to ebb and flow, depending on where you are in your career. Sometimes I have really exciting work opportunities that I am traveling for and yes, I will miss my family, but I have to think that my daughter will be even more excited to see me when I come home.
It really takes a village. And knowing when to ask for help is really important and not to be afraid of that. For me, it’s also really important to set clear expectations with my husband on how we’re dividing and conquering parenting while both working full-time. That’s definitely a special art and science so we do our best but be kind to yourself and be supportive of your partner.