National Hispanic Heritage Month
An interview with Yanela Frias
President, Prudential Retirement at Prudential Financial
How important is it for you to be a role model for the upcoming generations of women in the retirement industry?
I have two daughters and it’s important to me that women lead by example and know they can achieve whatever they want. I often speak about the challenges that women face with regard to financial planning. I have been an advocate on the implications of longevity improvement and savings behavior, the importance of building emergency savings cushions, and the value of including income solutions in retirement plans. This is where I get my energy and I hope that I’m making an impact when I speak with women across the country.
Can you tell us about your career journey? What were some challenges or difficulties that you had to overcome?
As I began working early in my career, I recognized it was critical (and uncomfortable) to take risks. About eight years ago, when I was Head of Finance for Prudential’s annuities business, I paused to reflect on my career and realized I really enjoyed the business aspects of the role and wanted to move in that direction. My specific goal was to someday lead a business. It felt like a risk to step away from finance which was where I was comfortable, but one I was willing to take, and fortunately, Prudential took a chance on me.
How difficult was it to find mentoring opportunities in the retirement industry?
I was fortunate throughout my career and was given mentoring opportunities both in the retirement industry and in other businesses. It’s important to lean on other people with different experiences so you can recognize and develop the talent you have within. Also, as I have had different roles throughout the organization and built relationships, I have focused on maintaining and carrying those relationships forward.
What changes do you hope to see for women in the retirement industry in the next 5 – 10 years?
I hope that we continue to see new opportunities and growth for women. This industry has been predominantly male-oriented, particularly in the advisor space. We are now seeing a shift there and I hope that continues. I would love to see more women leading retirement businesses across the industry in the next 5 – 10 years.
How do organizations like WIPN move the conversation forward for women in the retirement industry?
I am a supporter of Prudential’s Women Empowered networking group, which helps more women gain the skills and knowledge needed to aspire to successful sales careers. I have always been a well-known advocate for talent mobility over my 22-year career. I hope that organizations like WIPN and others will grow and continue their success allowing women to gather their energy, find support, and learn from each other.