Have You Met?

As we continue to celebrate women executives who make a difference in the community, Patricia Doss, Managing Partner of New York Life, is a noteworthy honoree and is someone who has successfully thrived in the Corporate World.

Ms. Doss’ company, New York Life Insurance, has always been known as a company that provides women with equal opportunities. New York Life began hiring women as agents in the 1880’s during a time when the presence of a woman in a business office was frowned upon.

New York was one of the first companies to insure a woman. In fact, Susan B. Anthony, one of history’s most famous women, was a New York Life policyholder, as well as other famous women of that time such as Helen Keller and Ziegfield Follies actress Fanny Brice.

Patricia Doss joined New York Life in 1981 as an agent. After five years in that position, her career took off running when she became a member of management. In 1990, Patricia worked in the Houston office until her job brought her to Denver in 1999.

Patricia is highly regarded in her industry for her leadership and also does her part for the community by serving on the Board of the Denver Metro Chamber Foundation, the Advisory Board of the CU Denver Business School - and she formerly served on the Board of the Red Cross.

Patricia is proud of her company for their commitment to charitable giving. The New York Life Foundation is the major vehicle through which the Company channels its contributions to national and local non-profit organizations. The foundations selects areas of special priority, and the current focus for the Foundation is, “Nurturing the Children” which is aimed at helping young people. This initiative focuses on, “safe places to learn and grow; educational enhancement; and mentoring.”

Patricia is a charming, delightful, dedicated “go-getter” with both feet on the ground. She is looking forward to doing some “exotic traveling” with her significant other someday. With a sense of humor, Patricia Doss says, “I’m turning 50 soon, and I can’t wait to get my AARP card in the mail!”

Your company enjoys one of the best reputations in the industry. How has New York Life stayed on top for so long? Our integrity and our dedication to humanity. We are really passionate about helping our clients. We are still a mutual company - not a publicly-held company. We do not have stockholders so we are uniquely in line with our policyholders, so we can make financial decisions that match the products that they are purchasing such as life insurance, college savings plans, retirement plans. They may be 20, 30, 40 years down the road, and we do not have to make short-term quarterly financial decisions to please stockholders, and I believe that really has helped us maintain that edge.

Hasn’t New York Life been awarded several recognitions for its programs designed to help employees achieve work/life balance? Yes, one of the distinctions given to us was the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” award for our commitment to helping employees care for their families as well as attaining professional success.

What’s the best advice you have for a woman who wants to advance in the business world? That’s a big question. I think you have to figure out what’s important to you in life; is it traveling? Being at home? It comes down to ultimately where you want to be, and you have to focus every day on your long-term goals.

There is no shame in just surviving in your early career years; it’s like a golf game, some people are going to play a better game, and you can’t be down on yourself if you are getting off to a slower start.

People just quit too soon; they just give up. I think you have to be tough. My business is not for everyone. We all know people in financial services who started in this business and then quit. What kept me in business were my clients. I promised them the products they were buying were the best for their situation at the time, and I would be there to help. I couldn’t face my clients, and my community, if I’d quit and didn’t stick with it.

What do you think is the greatest problem our country is facing today? I believe that the two party system we have right now is not serving the majority. There is danger in the far right and the far left. When people talk about issues, there are fewer suggestions on solving problems and more and more just denigrating the other side. It causes apathy. There is also a lot of misuse of the media by our politicians; it’s very polarizing, and it doesn’t speak to the common man.

Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself for the future? Save more money!

Who would you like to trade places with for one day and why? Hollywood’s Power Lady, Sherry Lansing. She’s glamorous; she was a woman in a very male dominated industry; she made it though, and she is well thought of by her peers. She’s slowed down right now, and she’s happily married. She called the shots in Hollywood for a long time.

What social or charitable event do you enjoy attending? There are several: “Girls Night Out,” for Girl’s Inc. “Celebration of Success” for the CU Business School. I am Co-Chair for the Chamber’s program called “Access Denver” which is a two-day cram course for transferred or promoted executives who have just moved to town. It made such an impact on me when I first moved to Denver. The “Do at the Zoo” is fun, and all of the DCPA events too. I attend a charitable function at least once a month. Oh, and there is something else I plan on doing every year, and it’s so fun, “Llamarama” for St. Anthony’s Organ Donation Program. It’s a three-mile race, and you have a real live llama on your team.

How do we get more people involved in charitable giving? I think it’s through mentorship. You need to know someone who can help you get involved, unless you have unfortunately lost a loved one to cancer and become familiar with a group like Hospice, etc. Sometimes we are involved because of such circumstances, and it becomes a passion. It took someone helping me by inviting me to charitable events and holding my hand and showing me how to become actively involved.

What do you consider the worst form of misery? Cruelty in all forms.

When you were a little girl, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? I wanted to be the first woman Supreme Court judge. So, I was out of a job when I was a senior in high school with Sandra Day O’Connor’s appointment.

What is one thing nobody knows about you? Sometimes I prefer the company of animals.

What are you most disciplined about? Hitting production goals. It’s fun to win!

If your life were a movie, what actress would best play you? Glenn Close.

What do you like most about living in Colorado? I love the fact that Denver welcomes newcomers with open arms. Also, you can really make a difference in Denver through your charitable work and through volunteering. It’s just amazing to me – other cities seem much more closed – and Denver is wide open; I love that - and I love the weather, and I love that I have a herd of elk in my yard.

What is the best advice your Mom/Dad ever gave you? My Dad who is now deceased said: “You can be whatever you want to be, because, baby, you’ve got It!” He was my best friend and mentor, and I still miss him.

What’s coming up in the future for Patricia Doss? Since I’m turning 50, I’m looking at 10 more years or so before retirement. Then I hope to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I’m looking forward to living “the good life!”

What is something you would still like to learn to do? I do want to get my law degree. I went to school with the intent to go to law school, but started working after graduation instead. I want to help with tort reform. I think class action law suites, etc. are holding businesses blackmail, and it is hurting our ability to better compete globally.

What would you most like to be remembered for? To be remembered for my kindness and for the lives I’ve touched and that I helped to make a difference.