For Carolyn Tran, her parents' drive and determination inspire her GEICO career

If you've ever gotten a quote on GEICO.com, paid your bill online or taken advantage of the voice assistant on the GEICO Mobile app, odds are you've experienced Carolyn Tran's work. During her more than 10 years at GEICO, Carolyn has led teams who design and test the user experience on GEICO.com and the GEICO Mobile app, and she was recently promoted to director of customer experience in our new planning center.

"We bring the customer's voice to the table, eliminate friction points and set the right priorities to get the work done," Carolyn said when commenting on the goals of her new role.

Managing projects for some of GEICO's most critical applications may sound like a daunting task; however, Carolyn draws inspiration from her own family when approaching her work and her GEICO career.

"My parents both left Vietnam by boat as teenagers, not knowing how to swim," Carolyn said.

It was the beginning of a harrowing journey to safety that would allow them to pursue a life with more opportunity. Carolyn's mom was rescued by an Italian cargo ship and her dad was taken to a refugee camp. Later, their journey would bring them to the Chicago suburbs—their new forever home—after a local church sponsored them to come to the United States.

While making it to the U.S. can certainly help open more doors, Carolyn noted it also comes with a new set of challenges. For her parents, they now resided in a foreign country where they did not speak English and had little familiarity with American culture.

"It was their drive and determination that inspired me," Carolyn said when talking about how hard her parents worked to start a new life. "They had to balance working part–time jobs and taking ESL courses so they could learn English and adapt to life in the U.S."

Carolyn also credits her parents for placing a great deal of emphasis on education, as her and her brother were both first–generation college graduates. During her time as a student at the University of Illinois, Carolyn first discovered GEICO.

Like many other associates, her first experience with us was completely by chance. "I was waiting in a really long line to talk to another company at my college career fair, and the line happened to snake around in front of the GEICO booth," Carolyn recalls. "A GEICO recruiter pulled me aside and said you can learn a little more about GEICO while you wait."

The more Carolyn learned, the more she fell in love with GEICO. Not long after this initial meeting, she joined our IT team as an Emerging Leader. After rotating through and managing several user experience teams, Carolyn offers the following advice to associates looking to lead complex projects.

"A lot is unknown and many times we don't know how the customer will react," Carolyn said. "You need to remove opinions from decisions and experiment. Don't be afraid to fail! You're only failing if you're not learning and constantly iterating."

More importantly, Carolyn reminds project teams to keep things in perspective and remember the end goal—building a better GEICO for our customers and associates. "We're all one family and collaboration is key."

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 28 million vehicles in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. A member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies, GEICO employs more than 43,000 associates countrywide. GEICO constantly strives to make lives better by protecting people against unexpected events while saving them money and providing an outstanding customer experience. Along with personal auto insurance, commercial auto and personal umbrella coverages are also available. Homeowners, renters, condo, flood, identity theft, term life, and more coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, LLC. Visit geico.com for a quote or to learn more.