Spreading Her South Jersey Wings From Rowan to NJM
Tara’s academic and career journey was deeply rooted in Atlantic County.
She grew up in the borough of Folsom, attended nearby Hammonton High School, and graduated from Rowan University with a degree in English Literature. She intended to become a teacher.
Working full-time as an assistant manager at a Blockbuster Video store while commuting to Rowan provided a dual learning experience. Tara was barely older than the high school students she supervised at Blockbuster.
“It was a great managerial experience, and I found I enjoyed training people,” she said. “It also taught me to multi-task and develop a work/school/life balance.”
Tara enjoyed attending Rowan University and appreciated that it was so close to home.
“I was fortunate to have a great educational foundation at Rowan,” said Tara. “My English professors were exceptional. The one I remember most is Dr. Porter. She welcomed opposing viewpoints in a way that allowed us to find common ground. It helped mold me as a leader. I’ve incorporated the same approach on my teams and have found that it fosters trust and builds strong, lasting relationships.
Rowan’s “Career Day” enabled Tara to meet representatives from NJM Insurance Group. She never considered an insurance career but found NJM’s representatives informative and easy to talk to. After a brief stint as an administrative assistant elsewhere, she changed her mind and applied to NJM.
“NJM is one of the largest employers in Hammonton, and I knew several high school classmates who were building careers there, so I decided to apply,” said Tara.
She began as a customer service representative, earned her insurance producer license, eventually became an underwriter, and started training other NJM employees.
“Meeting strong role models within the company helped me realize that this could be a meaningful career,” Tara said. “I started to progress into positions that allowed me to leverage my strengths and education.”
In addition to training, she got involved in numerous other projects, such as business process improvements and collaborative coaching initiatives. She also helped lead a pilot program on effectively onboarding new NJM contact center employees, which was adopted as a permanent program last January.
As she ascended professionally, Tara worked with supervisors to help them develop their employees. NJM recently recognized Tara’s hard work with a promotion to Administrator in the Personal Lines Contact Center in NJM’s Hammonton office. Although she never became a schoolteacher, Tara’s still teaching.
“There is a lot of adult learning throughout a career, and I really enjoy answering questions from new employees about NJM’s culture and helping them grow in their careers,” she said.
Tara still has fond memories of her time in college, where she met her future husband, Joe.
“Rowan allowed me to spread my wings, meet new people, gain new perspectives, and test myself,” she said. “My four years there taught me how to reach my full potential and owe a lot of my drive and determination to the skills I gained as a student.”
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