New York Life: A Creative Approach to DE&I

As the largest mutual life insurance company in the US, New York Life has been advising policyholders on investment decisions for more than 178 years.

Toptal’s Chief People Officer Michelle Labbe spoke with Kathleen Navarro, New York Life Insurance’s Senior Vice President and Head of Human Resources Business Enablement on The Talent Economy Podcast.

Kathleen Navarro leads New York Life Insurance’s integrated diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and manages the HR business partners, strategy and analytics teams. During Navarro's tenure, the company has received broad recognition for its inclusion efforts, including being named one of the Best-of-the-Best Corporations by the National Business Inclusion Consortium in 2022.

Navarro has held a range of roles in finance, strategy, and operations since joining New York Life Insurance in 1994. She has been recognized as a Top 10 Champion of Global Diversity by DiversityGlobal and was included on the Top 50 Chief Diversity Officers list issued by the National Diversity Council.

Some Questions Asked:

  • New York Life Insurance is a mutual company owned by policyholders without outside investors. How does this ownership model affect your talent strategy and company culture? 11:30
  • Employees are increasingly looking for flexibility and balance in their jobs. With three days in the office and two at home, what sort of impact has your hybrid model had on hiring and employee happiness? 19:29
  • New York Life Insurance was one of Seramount’s (formerly Working Mother Media) “100 Best Companies” for 2022 and listed as one of its “Best Companies for Dads.” How has New York Life Insurance created such a supportive culture for working parents? 29:50

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • What has made Kathleen Navarro want to stay at New York Life Insurance for nearly 30 years. 
  • Why The Dave Thomas Foundation recently listed New York Life Insurance as a 2022 Adoption Advocate.
  • How New York Life Insurance maintains consistency across a distributed and independent workforce.


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