Chelsea Koester always has been interested in technology. She loves finding out how things work from start to finish and, as a kid, would take apart recycled VCRs just to understand how each piece worked with the others when she put them back together. Today, she applies the same curiosity to studying source code or creating automation at MetLife. It has been a long journey from deconstructing VCRs to working as an Incident Response Analyst, but Chelsea has learned priceless tricks and professional tips along the way.
Keep reading to learn how working in cybersecurity at MetLife gives Chelsea not only the chance to continue researching and learning, but also the opportunity to grow in her career and help people by keeping our customers' data safe.
Hi, Chelsea! Thanks for chatting with us today. To start, we thought you could tell us about the professional experience that has had the biggest impact on where you are today.
Hello! Of course. Being accepted into the MetLife Technical University Professional program has had the largest impact on my career. I gained so many valuable skills and certifications during that program. I also have a cohort of peers across MetLife to lean on. Because of the MTU Pro community, I was able to meet with my Pro cohort members in Cybersecurity to prepare for the interviews for my dream job I currently have in incident response.
Excellent. Could you describe how empathy helps drive success in your current role at MetLife?
In a diverse workplace, empathy is critical to working with people from many different backgrounds and cultures. For example, I frequently train people where English is not their first language. Having empathy towards their situation allows me to communicate a process. I encourage them to utilize translation tools and use chat rather than dealing with the social anxiety of coming off mute.
That's great. We also know practicing inclusivity is important to you, and the practice of providing equal access to opportunities and resources is important to your team. Could you speak to the value that inclusivity brings to your work?
Yes, inclusivity is critical to a healthy team, and I believe MetLife's focus on diversity and inclusion helps us serve our customers better. Ensuring all voices are heard leads to the highest level of innovation and process improvement. Prioritizing diversity brings in an even wider perspective and can only strengthen the teams' perspective on their work and the customer. It is important the diversity of a company reflects its diverse customer base -- How else can we ensure we are supporting our customers as best we can?
We couldn't agree more. Speaking of change and innovation, adaptability often is critical to business success. Could you share an example of how you embrace change in order to stay current and grow our business?
The cyber landscape changes daily. As an incident responder, I need to research new threats and vulnerabilities to stay ahead of the bad guys and keep MetLife and its customers safe. We, incident responders, must embrace this sense of urgency when it comes to change so we're always prepared for anything.
Thanks, Chelsea. Lastly, what single piece of advice has had the biggest impact on your career trajectory?
"The answer is always 'no' unless your ask." This piece of advice has helped me speak up for myself and my ideas. I also have discovered that the answer is usually 'yes' when I thought it would be a 'no.'