Accomplished executive Orysia Meyers offers advice for success.
Story by Eddy Hoyle
Orysia Meyers recently retired from her second career as senior regional vice president of Nationwide Insurance. She was responsible for all activities that drove profit and loss in the Central Atlantic Region, including oversight of several hundred personnel and several thousand independent sales contractors. She transitioned to a consultative role in 2017 prior to her retirement. In her first career, she was a practicing attorney. Meyers earned her law degree from Widener University in Delaware and her bachelor’s degree at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, Minn.
She hails from, well, everywhere. Her family relocated frequently due to her father’s career – East Coast, West Coast, Montana, you name it. Meyers is a first generation Ukrainian and a self-taught artist. Her first projects were painting Ukrainian Easter eggs as a child. She and her husband, Jeff, became permanent residents of Hilton Head in 2017. Their daughter, Stefanie, also is an attorney. Here are her tips for success:
Keys to Success
1. Be “insanely inquisitive”
“Knowledge is a powerful tool that keeps the brain muscle flexed,” Meyers stated. It’s empowering to learn not just your role, but also how other areas in your company operate and what to take away from their successes. Learning what your competition is doing is a must. In both law and insurance, Meyers had assignments that required research and learning that often ended with opportunities. She said, “Prioritize, but learn!”
2. Please don’t … send in the ‘Clones’
A leader should build a very diverse team that is different from you, Meyers explained. “When everyone looks like you and thinks like you, you miss a diversity of perspectives.” Inclusivity and diversity builds a better data pool that is much bigger and helps to broaden your perspective as a leader and helps you learn new things.
3. Be nimble and ready to change
Business and industry change at a rapid pace today due to technology, so you must have a willingness to look from a different perspective. “Change can sneak up on you, so be ready to pivot,” Meyers said. “Know changes will come, so ask how can you play a role in this new environment.”
4. Communicate wisely
Technology allows us to communicate quickly without hearing or seeing people. “The peril is that when you aren’t looking someone in the eye, it’s easier to be blunt or unkind. I believe in being direct and letting people know where they stand, but remembering a human quality, empathy, in which I try to stand in the recipient’s shoes. Be kind, open and honest.” When there are disappointments or bad news, be open, transparent and give regular updates.
5. Meyers’ rules to live by:
Find your passion. Your job should give you such joy that you’re giddy driving to work on Monday. + In every role and assignment “Leave more than you take and make it a better place.” + Frequently revisit your goals against where you stand. Don’t be so busy that you forget what you’re running toward. + Believe in seeking compromise. Every battle doesn’t have to be won or lost. You may be right, but that may not be what matters. + Strive for a healthy work/life balance and be clear about what you’re willing to sacrifice because you can’t turn the clock back. + Start prepping yourself for your next role. Think like a leader.