Get to know your fellow VYPers in this recurring series of Q&A sessions with some of the Valley’s top young professionals.
This month, meet VYP board member Dan Mullen, a financial services representative for MassMutual Financial Group who works from the company’s Scottsdale Office. Dan is a native of St. Charles, a western ‘burb of the Windy City, and in his work at MassMutual provides a broad portfolio of individual life, disability income and long-term care insurance protection; asset accumulation strategies; and financial products and services for families, businesses and institutions.
1. Prior to joining the MassMutual team, you successfully transitioned your career from management positions in the food and hospitality industry to manufacturing to financial services. What lessons have you learned?
Positive change is a good thing, and it’s important to take advantage of new opportunities as they come your way. I think it takes time to “figure out” what your passion is these days, and that’s OK, but make sure you’re 100 percent committed to the task at hand.
2. How is your work at MassMutual rewarding?
I’ve always tried to be a positive influence on others and enjoyed helping others, and that has been rewarding for me. My work is rewarding in many ways: I could be working with a recent retiree, a millennial who is planning for the next 30–40 years, or a business owner looking to protect his or her company and employees. We all face challenges in our personal and professional lives, and overcoming those challenges and staying focused on the goal will get you to the next level.
3. How can you help advance the leadership skills and career of young professionals as a VYP member and VYP board member?
Being a part of VYP for almost three years, I am connected to so many other young professionals outside my industry and am able to learn from them and the challenges they face. Learning from them and being able to help them or connect them to another VYP member who can help is a great asset that this group provides.
Good leadership and communication skills are often perfected by working with a mentor, and that is what VYP has provided for me, and I enjoy returning the favor to other members as well. I am honored to be a part of the VYP board.
4. What career advice has been shared with you that you would share with your fellow VYPers?
Begin with the end in mind. Always continue to educate yourself, and never give up.
5. You are an active volunteer with many community organizations. How has this helped shape you professionally?
Community service and philanthropy have always been important to me, and I enjoy giving back. For me, it’s fulfilling on a personal level to the extent that I can be a part of making a difference in someone’s life. Working with the Emerging Leaders at Phoenix Children’s Hospital has been an excellent experience so far, and I’m excited to see our group expand in the future.
6. How have VYP members helped you in your professional endeavors?
Chamber and VYP networking events have fostered both personal friendships and professional relationships, and I see that continuing to grow. Talking with VYP members, finding common ground, seeing a situation from a different viewpoint has helped me tremendously.
7. When you consider the Chamber VYP membership, what gives you optimism about the future of the Valley?
Phoenix as an economy has a lot of opportunity, and it’s a great place to be right now. Whether it’s the GPCC Phoenix Forward initiative or the increase in young professionals starting their career or a small business, VYP has an enormous potential for growth moving forward.
8. What is something your fellow VYPers would be surprised to learn about you?
After graduating from the University of Iowa, I moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where I was a ski instructor for two years.
9. A cabin in the mountains or an umbrella on the beach?
A cabin in the mountains. I’ve always loved the mountains. I lived in a mountain town after college, and I hope to have a vacation home in a ski town in the future.