At first glance, Pat Brzozowski's life may appear to be a
contradiction. She describes herself as a thrill seeker. She likes sky
diving, bungee jumping and is even considering wing walking – yes, on a
flying airplane. If it's an extreme sport that makes your palms sweat
and your heart race, Brzozowski is probably willing to give it a try.
And yet when she's not seeking an adrenalin rush, Brzozowski has
managed to be successful in a business that thrives on minimizing risk
- the insurance industry. For more than 20 years, Brzozowski has been
part of "The Rock" – The Prudential Insurance Co. of America.
Her seemingly contradictory career and recreational pursuits have
one thing in common – high energy. She brings a level of energy to her
job that explains why she exhibits those thrill-seeking tendencies when
Currently the director of diversity for Prudential's women's
strategy, Brzozowski is on the road 80 to 90 percent of the time. She
works with all of Prudential's 51 field agencies across the country
seeking to find ways of recruiting and retaining women in the financial
services arena. While women represent only 25 percent of financial
advisers, it is projected they will possess 60 percent of personal
assets by the end of the decade. Whether inheriting wealth from their
parents or from a spouse, Brzozowski said research indicates women like
to work with women thus explaining her current job focus.
Before her most recent assignment, Brzozowski served in another
high-energy post for Prudential, that of regional manager for community
relations. For more than a dozen years, Brzozowski was charged with
making sure Prudential was a good neighbor in the communities it
served. She led by example, serving on as many as six different boards
in the community at the same time, including being president of the
Women's Center of Jacksonville
One of the other boards to benefit from her expertise was the UNF
Alumni Association, of which she was president from 2000 to 2002. She
recalls her service as a time when the alumni association was moving
away from being a strictly local organization to a national group. She
was proud to be the first female president of the first national alumni
board. She was also instrumental in raising funds for the Alumni
Association's Endowed Scholarship and qualifying it for matching funds
under the state's Business Ethics program.
Her involvement in UNF started at the graduate level in the Coggin
College of Business. (She received her bachelor's degree from
Charleston Southern University in 1988). In pursuing her MBA,
Brzozowski points to the support she received from then-dean Dr. Earle
Traynham and faculty member Dr. Jeff Michelman. She remembers the night
class at UNF when she was walking through the hallway and stopped at a
television to listen to news of the bombing of Bagdad. As a member of
the Air Force Reserve, she said she knew she would be getting a call to
return to active duty. The call came the next day. Trayham and
Michelman were especially supportive, she said, in allowing her to
continue in the MBA program when she returned without having to reapply.
The military was a significant chapter in Brzozowski's life. She
enlisted in the Air Force Reserves as an aeromedical evacuation medical
technician in 1983. She received her officer's commission in 1988 and
was activated for duty during Operation Desert Shield/Storm.
She resigned from the Reserves in 1992, the same year in which she
earned her MBA. In 2002, she received the Outstanding Alumni Award from
the Coggin College of Business.
In the intervening years, Brzozowski's love of excitement has
extended to UNF. She is an enthusiastic supporter and avid fan of the
University. Perhaps her love for UNF is best evidenced by the fact she
returned twice after having to drop out of school because of military
service. "Its reputation for excellence and its high level of
accreditation were the two things that sealed the deal for me."
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