There are a lot of long-tenured employees at Progressive, which is why I joke that my colleagues were still welcoming me to Progressive after two, three, even four years at the company. At training events or in meetings with new folks, we often introduce ourselves by sharing our names, business units, and how long we’ve worked here. It’s not shocking to hear folks say they’ve worked at Progressive for 10, 15, or 20 years. But when you hear that some of our team members started 45 years ago, you learn just how genuine Progressive’s “come for a job, stay for a career” philosophy really is—and that’s what IT employee Miriam demonstrates every day. Learn more about why employee tenure matters.
Working in insurance brings opportunity
Miriam’s experience at two insurance agencies led her to Progressive. Her career began at the Campus I North building in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1976. She started in underwriting providing customer service and has built a 45-year career at Progressive, 37 years of which she dedicated to IT. “What’s kept me here is the ability to grow in directions I didn’t dream of back in 1976,” Miriam said. “I’ve had the ability to explore new avenues, teach myself, and learn new things.”
Progressive supports and develops its people, empowering them to be career entrepreneurs who take ownership of their career paths (in fact, our internal development hub is called “Own It”). Approximately one-third of Progressive employees make internal job moves each year, which illustrates our growth culture. Miriam worked in the call center early in her Progressive career. She remembers those pre-headset days: “You were cool if you actually got one of those shoulder rests for your phone.” After becoming a supervisor in the call center, Miriam moved to agent licensing then accounting services. Then, a new opportunity arose.
“In 1984, Progressive was sponsoring a program called Associate Programmer Analysts,” Miriam explains. Having taken programming classes at Cleveland State University, she taught herself BASIC on a TI-99 computer and decided she wanted to become a programmer. She applied to Progressive’s program and was one of 10 people selected. Since then, Miriam’s built a 37-year career in IT… at an insurance company. “One of the things I’ve always been thankful for is anything I wanted to accomplish with my career, I could do with Progressive. I’ve been given a lot of freedom to explore new opportunities.”
Progressive opens doors for curious people looking to grow their careers and learn new things, with the added perk of doing so under one proverbial roof.
Progressive values people
Beyond the development opportunities and career growth lies a tight-knit employee community. Miriam has experienced first-hand the support of the Progressive family above and beyond her work. Just three weeks after she rang in the new millennium at the North Building with teammates on the Progressive Y2K Project, her home burned down in an electrical fire. She and her family—including her golden retriever she saved while barefoot on a 22-degree night—made it out safely. After spending some time in the hospital because of frostbite, Miriam returned to what felt like a “big, warm hug” at the office. “The Progressive family really rallied around me. I can’t express it. Everyone was so generous and wonderful during that time.”
Miriam’s personal loss and her time in IT translated to a new perspective on the meaning behind her work. “What we do as an insurance company hasn’t changed: we still talk to people, we still write policies, we still settle claims,” she said. “But how we do it has changed dramatically. If you want to be working for a company that’s using technology to serve its customers as effectively and efficiently as they can, you’ll find that at Progressive.”
Progressive’s culture thrives as our business grows
Miriam explains that there’s something special about working at Progressive. “It’s the people. That hasn’t changed. The support for the LGBT+ community has been very important to me, too.” Miriam and her wife have been together since 1993. Today, Miriam sees her grandkids every day, lives five miles from Disney World, and still enjoys the work she does. In her words, “Truly, I’m living my best life!”
Imagine what people who start their careers at Progressive today will be able to say about the experiences they’ve had and the work they do five, 10, or 45 years from now.