“More than a partnership, this is an opportunity to positively impact our associates, their families, and our community.”

Marsha Graesser
Marsha J. Graesser
Director, Culture and Talent Development

A national leader in Learning and Development, Marsha Graesser is the Director of Culture and Talent Development for WoodmenLife, one of the nation’s largest fraternal benefit societies.

Their partnership with Bellevue University started in 2017 when the unemployment rate in the Omaha metro area was less than 3%. WoodmenLife, like most other companies, was challenged with recruiting and retaining top talent. “The partnership with Bellevue University was a strategic initiative to build an internal pipeline of leaders and critical positions by providing an amazing education benefit,” according to Marsha.

“Our employees are interested in education. This partnership makes it possible.

“Early in the partnership, we surveyed our associates and learned that 76% without a bachelor’s degree agreed that ‘more education and training would help me understand and manage people and processes better.’ Fifty-three percent of those who already had a bachelor’s degree agreed that ‘a master’s degree would give me the knowledge I need to be an effective senior manager.’ The initiative is targeted at WoodmenLife Associates who are committed to career aspirations and personal education goals. Clearly there was interest.”

Marsha relates these examples:

  • A single mom completing her bachelor’s degree in hopes of modeling the way for her young daughter, as well as investing in her career aspirations.
  • A senior-level IT leader completing his bachelor’s degree and currently working on his master’s to acquire the skills and knowledge to excel in his role.
  • A U.S. Marine Veteran ready to build her cybersecurity skills and knowledge for future opportunities.

“We are a learning organization that provides opportunities for growth and leadership.

“WoodmenLife’s philosophy on helping associates further their education and earn their degrees is simply part of the fabric of our culture and leadership. We are committed to creating an environment where everyone can do their very best work and bring their whole self to work. Our culture supports a growth mindset and inclusion, and, for some, this includes furthering their education and earning their degrees.”

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