Lauren Kitson is the Digital Strategy Director for Hartford Funds. She is responsible for leading the development of the firm’s advertising, social media, and podcast initiatives to drive engagement and promote brand awareness and consideration.
Here is what Lauren had to say when we asked her about best practices for navigating your career journey:
GenHERation®: How did what you studied in college prepare you for your current role?
Lauren Kitson: I majored in psychology. I have always been fascinated with the human mind. As part of my studies in college, I had to take behavioral psychology classes. Those classes got me interested in the psychology behind decision making. In my current role, I do marketing and advertising, and everything we do is about influencing. We attempt to understand consumers’ needs and encourage them to take action. When I was in college, I didn’t know that I would be working at Hartford Funds, but I discovered what I liked and developed analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills, which have allowed me to succeed in my current role.
GenHERation®: How should you best position yourself when applying for an internship or job if you do not have all of the necessary experience?
Kitson: When I started here 18 years ago, I had no experience in financial services. I also had no professional experience running corporate social media accounts. Be confident and curious. Ask questions and be open to learning. Be clear that you are willing to put the work in and figure things out on your own. Oftentimes, I feel like being a good fit for the culture of a company is more important than having years of experience. Anyone can learn about an industry or a tool, and resources are always changing in an industry, so it is more important to always be resourceful, curious, and resilient. I would hire the resourceful and curious person with no experience over someone with 10 years of experience and none of those traits.
GenHERation®: What are three ways you can step outside of your comfort zone to grow personally or professionally?
Kitson: First, ask questions. I emphasize this because a lot of people are afraid to ask questions because they think doing so makes it look like they don’t know what they’re doing. No one knows everything! Asking questions shows you are interested and helps build relationships. Second, try something you have zero experience in, but find interesting. For example, I manage our podcast. I had no experience managing podcasts, but I listened to a ton of them, so when the opportunity came up to run our podcast initiative, I raised my hand. Since I had good relationships, my manager let me try. I did my research, planned, and prepared, so I could put my best foot forward. Third, make connections. Reach out to someone who displays a behavior or characteristic that you admire and see if they can have a brief conversation with you. You never know what will come of it.
GenHERation®: What is one skill that is important to possess no matter what industry you pursue?
Kitson: Good communication. I don’t just mean public speaking. I mean the ability to clearly communicate your goals and ideas. Good communication is key for negotiation, building relationships, and influencing others. It goes for writing a concise email to pitching an idea that requires funding.
GenHERation®: How can you best navigate uncertainty?
Kitson: I prefer certainty, but what has helped me the most is planning for what I can control. What’s outside my control, I have to let go. Prepare and plan for what you can, but be ready to pivot. A friend told me there will always be a curveball. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
GenHERation®: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Kitson: Trust your gut. I think this is hugely important. I talk to my kids about this. In business and life, your intuition helps you make the best decisions for yourself. There is too much noise. Tune it out. Let your own feelings inform your decision. Always come back to your gut.
Lauren Kitson is the Digital Strategy Director for Hartford Funds. She is responsible for leading the development of the firm’s advertising, social media, and podcast initiatives to drive engagement and promote brand awareness and consideration. Lauren joined the organization as an Assistant Director, eBusiness in 2004. Prior to joining the company, she worked for Gyro Worldwide as an Advertising Account Manager. Lauren is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors and is FINRA Series 6 and 63 registered. Originally from southern New Jersey, Lauren attended The College of New Jersey where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in marketing. She currently lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, with her husband and their two children.