MetLife's Crystal Beach shares her career experiences

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Career insight and guidance from MetLifes Crystal Beach

Career insight and guidance from MetLife's Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach has been with MetLife for over four years. Here she shares her unique post-graduate experience in hopes that it will inspire recent grads as they forge their own professional paths.

Crystal is a Senior Product Consultant for MetLife in the Group Benefits Disability Products organization. She helps to create new disability products and services and manage existing disability products in MetLife's portfolio. The products she supports help people pay their bills and maintain their lifestyle while going through the birth of a child or a medical challenge like cancer or a surgery.

Crystal grew up in Durham, North Carolina and went to UNC Charlotte for their Architecture program. It turned out that being an Architecture major wasn’t for Crystal, and she transfered to Appalachian State University where she studied Finance as well as Risk Management & Insurance. Crystal graduated with a BSBA in Finance and Banking after four and a half years.

What did Crystal picture herself doing after college?

"I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after college because I had a variety of interests growing up," says Crystal. "Some of which were fashion, volunteering and business. Then, a drafting teacher who saw my creative ability encouraged me to study architecture in college but ultimately, my affinity for math and business led me to work in finance."

Crystal's first job was as a volunteer for a Youth Advocate at an organization called Question Why, which later turned into a paid position. She advocated for the rights of her peers and for a cause that was really important to her — tobacco prevention. Crystal got to travel regionally as well as educate and empower other youth advocates to speak out in their communities against Big Tobacco. She also got to speak in front of the school board where she lived, sit on an action committee at her high school and ultimately help make her school system 100% tobacco free, which she's incredibly proud of.

What did Crystal wish she knew about career development when she started out?

"I wish I knew that it’s not just about the tests that you take to get the letters behind your name," comments Crystal. "Yes, the knowledge that you gain is helpful but ultimately, you never know where your career will take you and what was important then may not be important now. Career development is also about figuring out which skills you need to be successful in your field. Identify what those are and then revise them with someone who’s had tenure in that field and keep track of your development as you progress."

How does Crystal approach networking and career growth?

"I meet as many people as often as I can in order to learn what they do and how it relates to my job," says Crystal. "This gives me a better understanding of my role, my career trajectory and how to increase my success within the organization."

Crystal states that the opportunity for career growth is all around — new experiences present themselves every day and it’s up to us to embrace them. Just know that career progression typically isn’t a straight line and a lot of times, it’s the unexpected opportunity that checks your assumptions about what you thought you wanted and leads you to true career growth.

How does Crystal ensure she continues to learn and grow professionally?

"I block time out on my calendar for career development activities such as listening to webinars, watching TED talks, using our internal learning site and reading publications like the Harvard Business Review. I frame new assignments as opportunities — whenever I am presented with something that I haven’t done before, I almost always say YES! I don’t think of it as another thing I have to do, instead, I think of it as an opportunity that was given to me and I want to figure out how excel at it," says Crystal. 

Lastly, she participates in several Diversity Business Resource Networks at MetLife which allow her to be exposed to and work with people in different parts of our organization on different types of projects. 

Crystal's critical dos and don’ts for starting a career on the right track...


  • Listen first — when you enter a new environment, take time to understand the dynamics. You might be compelled to challenge the way things are done but you’ll have more impact if you’ve studied your team and culture first.
  • Keep an open mind. You might not love what you do at first or you might be given an assignment that scares you but forge ahead anyway, say thank you and give it your best shot.
  • Recognize that everyone is different, we all have different strengths and there is great value in that. Take time to meet with everyone on your team within the first two weeks on the job — this will help you lay the foundation for strong relationships that can help you be more effective in your role.
  • Stay positive — it’s easy for negativity to spread. Foster positivity and it will go a long way with your colleagues.


  • Talk behind your teams’ back. You’ll spend forty or more hours per week with them, you will need to count on them for something in the future and having a positive relationship is critical for success.
  • Be jealous of others and what they have accomplished. When someone is successful, congratulate them — it shows great character and team spirit.

How does MetLife support Crystal's own views on work culture

Crystal believes there are a number of key elements that are really important to her:

  • MetLife is a large global company with lots of opportunities for career growth — since I’ve been at MetLife, I’ve worked in six different roles. I could spend my whole career here if I wanted!
  • MetLife is also very supportive of Diversity and Inclusion and we have several Diversity Business Resource Networks which allow employees to engage in topics that are important to them.
  • MetLife Foundation encourages employees to engage with and support our local communities.
  • I have flexibility in my schedule and work environment which allows for better work-life blend.

Join MetLife for an exciting career 

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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