Jane Casten

Positive, Perseverant, and Proud

Jane CastenJane Casten has found the positives in the challenges of her life and work. Clearly an empath, Casten says it can be very difficult working in Claims because of the volume of sadness you see every day.

But the way she sees it, there’s always a chance to make a difference in someone’s life. “Claims is talking to someone about their worst moment, and the way we do that matters. Being able to make an impact on someone’s life is huge for me.”

Start in insurance

Casten started her work in insurance as a single mom. She was fortunate enough to meet people who encouraged her to stay with the insurance industry. But it was when she joined Grinnell Mutual that insurance became more than a job.

"Once I started at Grinnell Mutual, insurance became a career and enlightened me in so many ways," said Casten. "I was fortunate enough to have great leaders and peers around me, supporting me, welcoming me."

Casten's role at Grinnell Mutual also sparked her passion for leadership. Her supervisor encouraged her to find a mentor within the company. She has since been promoted into her current role of claims director.

Role as a leader

Her philosophy — the ability to make an impact on someone’s life — guides her in her leadership of a highly varied team. Casten leads claims representatives from all different backgrounds with diverse levels of experience who work from various locations, pandemic or not. With no hesitation, she responds that these people are the best part of her job. She calls herself “a resource.”

Casten is also a leader in her Grinnell, Iowa, community, working with the S.H.E. Counts organization, whose mission is empowering young women in Poweshiek County. The organization holds after-school tutoring for young students, encourages female entrepreneurs with their “Lunch and Learn” events, hosts hygiene product drives, awards scholarships to first-generation college students, and more.

Annually, the S.H.E. Counts fundraiser on International Women’s Day is a big hit in the community.

“Women’s Day encourages empowerment for women and mutual support from men, adding to the perspective that we can learn from each other,” says Casten. A mom of an adult daughter and three teenage boys, she says that the biggest way she contributes to a more gender-equal world is by raising the next generation right.

Wellness is a priority

Wellness at Grinnell Mutual is another area of interest for Casten. As a Wellness Ambassador, she encourages co-workers to be physically active, log their water intake, choose healthier options, and keep in touch with the status of their mental wellbeing. “COVID-19 and winter have created a little bit of a superstorm, so we have to check in with ourselves and with each other.”

For fun, Casten enjoys gardening, going to concerts, and traveling. Her bucket list trip is Bora Bora. “I want to be in a hut over the water where someone brings me breakfast in a canoe,” she says earnestly.

Overcoming challenges

Casten has many reasons to be proud. When asked what she is most proud of, she first mentions her kids. “I learn more from them than they do from me sometimes. One of my sons has autism, and he has overcome so much. We like to get out of our comfort zone, we’re big goal-setters, and he has reached so many goals.” Another source of pride is her team, who she says has handled this very tough year with extreme grace. 

Finally, she says she is proud of herself. At every challenge in her life, she has taken control and lived bravely. From a leap-of-faith move to a new state years ago, to raising her four children, to leading a team through a year of record change and challenge, Casten has always chosen to focus on the positives.

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