Jean-Marie Lovett has some important advice for future Women of FIRE: Don’t get discouraged.
“I will say that when I started … I remember going to conventions and looking at the panels, and there were never women,” she said, recalling the early days of her career. “That can be discouraging and it can be discouraging when you’re faced with that in meetings. Don’t get discouraged. Believe in yourself and embrace the fact that you’re changing things and you’re making a difference in that particular industry. And don’t be discouraged to be a part of that industry, too.”
Her advice comes from hard-won experience. Lovett’s career has spanned several traditionally male-dominated industries, including the student loan business. Today, she heads up MassDrive Insurance Group, which seized the opportunity to become the Bay State’s first digital marketplace for auto insurance.
“Insurance is an interesting space,” Lovett said. “It’s innovating a lot right now and it’s exciting to be a part of the changes coming to the space.”
Paul Pennelli, MassDrive’s chief marketing officer, couldn’t say enough about her.
“She’s a great leader,” he told Banker & Tradesman. “She’s very ambitious, very driven, and she’s smart. And those are all qualities when pulled together make a great leader. And she’s a great collaborator, she’s supportive, she’s inquisitive, and she always is driven toward the goal. She’s always mission-driven to identify the right goals and seek out a framework to help get the team there.”
Today, the native New Yorker lives in Roslindale with her husband and kids. When she needs to de-stress, she reads or runs, and she especially enjoys a women’s alumni book group that meets once a year.
With years of leadership experience now under her belt, Lovett finds joy in mentoring other women in their own careers, coaching former colleagues and fellow Colgate University alumni alike.
“I love to work with anybody, but particularly women, young in their careers who are seeking advice about any number of aspects, whether it’s a particular role or industry, whether it’s a startup or well-established company,” she said.
Among her other words of wisdom for future Women of FIRE, she emphasized the importance of liking your colleagues.
“Make sure you work with people you enjoy working with every day,” she said. “Sometimes it really doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. If you enjoy the people you work with, it really makes all the difference.”
Pennelli, who nominated Lovett for a Women of FIRE award, echoed that sentiment.
“It’s a well-worn trope, but it’s true. Particularly in a startup environment, you spend a lot of time with the people you work with,” he said. “You’re stuck with these people, but in the case of Jean-Marie, that’s a pretty easy choice.”