Chris M. Mendoza explains why a robust diversity strategy is smart business at MassMutual Financial Group
Even before the release of the 2010 census results, MassMutual Financial Group recognized the changing face of diversity in the United States and the growth of the Hispanic population- and was rising to the challenge. The company has made diversity and inclusion a corporate priority and created a robust strategy to meet the needs of a diverse market. “Our agencies need to be reflective of the different cultural and ethnic communities we serve around the nation,” says Chris M. Mendoza, assistant vice president of multicultural market development for MassMutual. Here are four examples that show this philosophy in action.
1. Trendsetting Research
MassMutual places a big emphasis on learning about its policyholders, and the company is increasingly becoming a go-to resource for the latest statistics about Hispanic families and business owners alike.
The company’s 2011 Stale of the American Family study found that 47 percent of Hispanic financial decision makers say that investing and financial planing should be a higher priority for them, compared to only 33 percent of all respondents. About 41 percent have delayed purchasing big items such as cars and houses due to the recession, compared to only 28 percent of all respondents. Almost half of Hispanic respondents are part of the “sandwich generation”-adults who have both children and aging parents to care for – compared to 29 percent of all respondents. At the same time, 78 percent of Hispanics say it is important to them that their children aren’t burdened by taking care of them when they get older.
“Our propriety research shows that Latinos seek quality information that will allow them to make intelligent decisions to protect their families and businesses and preserve their legacy for future generations,” says Mendoza, who holds a doctorate degree in business administration and is a published author on Hispanic business owners.
MassMutual is also preparing to unveil the results from an industry-leading study that focuses on the financial needs of diverse and women-owned small businesses.
2. Community Connection
Having updated knowledge about the communities it serves isn’t enough for MassMutual. The company purposefully connects with local Hispanic communities by sponsoring Latino oriented organizations such as chambers of commerce and other groups.
3. Supporting Education
MassMutual helps its policy holders plan for the future, and like many Latino families, believes strongly in investing in the educational future of young people. MassMutual, through its Multicultural Scholars Program, provides scholarships to diverse college students who may not be able to attend college otherwise. This year, the company will award more than $135, 000 in scholarships to students, Mendoza says.
In addition, the company says it is the first in the insurance industry to offer free life insurance through its LifeBridge program to families who qualify economically to help fund education. “In the event that mom or dad isn’t around, MassMutual will pay $50, 000 toward their children’s educational expenses,” Mendoza explains.
4. Recruiting Top Talent
Hiring financial-services professionals who understand the market, culture, and language is an important part of MassMutual’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“We believe that everyone should be provided the information they need to purchase a MassMutual policy,” Mendoza says. “When you call our customer service center you will find that we can answer the phone in almost 60 different languages. Diversity helps us understand our clients’ needs better, ultimately helping protect and preserve the interests of our policy-holders.”
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL
Getting to know Chris M. Mendoza
What tech gadgets can you not live without?
You’ll find the CNN app on my smartphone, in addition to lots of blog content that I read. I also have the Kindle app on my iPad.
What are you reading on your Kindle?
I’m reading three to four books, one being StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.
What is one of your greatest strengths?
Being a good listener.
How do you like to relax?
I enjoy spending time with my wife, 14-year-old son, and 11 -year-old daughter. We like to travel to visit family and friends.
To learn more about MassMutual’s Hispanic financial service professionals, visit massmutualcareers.com.
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.