Employee spotlight – Karla Naujokat is not a farm girl from Wisconsin, but she will bring the cheese(y)

Karla Naujokat had a good laugh when she received a promotion early in her insurance career. She was raised by a strong-willed single mom from Wisconsin who instilled positive values and a sense of humor. Karla had moved to California, and her boss must have assumed that everyone from Wisconsin knows something about farms. Karla wound up handling all the farm business for the small, family owned agency for several years, growing her knowledge about insurance and insurance systems before moving back to Wisconsin to be closer to family.

As she gained experience, Karla discovered that she loved the systems part of insurance better than sales. And she was good at it. Throughout her long career, Karla made a name for herself in learning, developing and launching Policy Administration Systems (PAS) and training users once the system was up and running. When Velocity Risk Underwriters was looking for an operations manager for their large commercial department, two executives reached out to Karla on the same day. The job was perfect. It allowed her to live in Wisconsin to be close to her mom, and travel to Velocity’s various locations in Birmingham, Nashville and Chicago as needed, while launching a new system to help streamline Velocity’s large commercial policy processing.

Praveen Reddy, Chief of Operations, and the large commercial team were impressed with how well Karla integrated with the existing project team and her ability to jump in to help get the new system launched effectively, all during busy season. “Karla brings an extensive depth of knowledge in the commercial insurance space, and we look forward to her continued contributions in our next phase of process improvements,” stated Reddy.

But it was Karla who was impressed with the team. She had never witnessed a team spirit quite like Velocity’s. On the last day of April 2019, the Birmingham team was working late to finalize a large batch of pending policies. When they finished, rather than head home, they reached out to the Chicago team and helped them complete their work. Everyone celebrated at happy hour that evening, and Karla sent a note to her mentors about the great company.

“Karla brightens any room with her energy and her laughter,” stated Carolyn Parker, Chief Underwriting Office of Large Commercial. “She spends most of her time between the Birmingham and Chicago offices, and each office misses her when she’s away. She makes learning fun and is always helpful, no matter where she may be or how much she has on her plate.”

In her free time, Karla enjoys watching and playing sports. She’s participated in 52 running events, including 3 marathons, and most have been for charity. Karla was quick to point out that she enjoys the social part of running much more than the running part. She believes many world problems can be solved between footfalls. The stay-at-home order has been tough, but she’s found a way to stay connected through online classes from her gym, running six feet apart from her friends and many virtual happy hours.

Social distancing for work has been equally difficult, especially on the operations side. She finds that everyone who supports operations (and technology) needs to be available almost all hours of the day as team members struggle with children and spouses at home, and the teams supporting them must work odd hours around these flex-time schedules. Karla is grateful that Velocity has been extremely adaptable during such a challenging time.