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VP, Illustrations

At Northwestern Mutual, we are strong, innovative and growing. We invest in our people. We care and make a positive difference.

What's the role?

The VP Product Management - Illustrations, will play a critical role in defining the vision for the digital tools and systems used by field and the home office to build a holistic customer experience. This role is responsible for owning the tools, processes, and operational aspects of the NM Illustrations systems. This will include developing new product illustrations, changes to existing illustration systems, and monthly updates to key leadership and field partners. The successful candidate will have previous expertise in the insurance industry and will work closely across business functions that will include sales, marketing, legal, compliance, technology, and risk management. This role will also ensure that all regulatory requirements are implemented for the illustrations' tool.

The individual will be responsible for the vision for Illustrations and leading all aspects of the prioritization and decision-making framework to make sure the system is successfully implemented and integrated to drive improved field and client experience. They will produce and maintain an implementable roadmap (based on feasibility) and align journey, product and business teams around releases. VP Product Management will work in a highly collaborative fashion horizontally across home office and field with various teams and partners to ensure alignment with strategy, to gain input on benefits and outcomes, and to assess feasibility, complexity and cost, and partnering on priorities and releases. They will be accountable for ensuring Illustrations backlog is constantly groomed by the team.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Define the strategy for digital product and collaborate with others cross-functionally to ensure the financial and user satisfaction goals are met. Keeps the end user’s experience in the center of their decision making.

  • Accountable for developing multi-year roadmaps for digital products through collaboration with business, technology and Field (i.e., advisors) partners.

  • Defines users, builds and maintains user stories, and develops and prioritizes functional requirements for new or revised features or improvements.

  • Works with broader product team to groom, prioritize and sequence feature backlog to deliver predictable and on time outcomes

  • Ensure NM’s CX strategy and goals are supported by the product and that the product goals and strategy do not deviate from that of the business.

  • Leads all aspects of the development and maintenance of an appropriately prioritized backlog of user stories for implementation according to business value or return on investment. Understands both the engineering and business side of the product released and is ultimately responsible for representing the end-user’s needs.

  • Responsible for the product and product features from start to finish. Key decision maker on priorities and design decisions and works to ensure that all partners are aligned. Inspects product progress and has complete authority to accept or reject work done. Elaboration of Epics, Themes and Features can be presented into user stories that are granular enough to be achieved in a single sprint.

  • As a leader crafts the future by encouraging an engaging environment that places employees closest to their customers and cultivates accountability and development. Breaks down barriers so individuals and teams can be accountable and responsible to do their best. Aligns employees passion to business value outcomes.

  • Exhibits the following proficiencies: accountable for high quality, value driven work that drives business outcomes; places the user in the center of decision making, teams up and collaborates for speed, agility, and innovation; embraces continuous learning, is curious, embraces ambiguity, voices opinions; and takes personal accountability

Bring Your Best! What this role needs:

  • Bachelor’s degree in related field required, Master’s degree preferred.

  • 10+ years’ experience as a leader in digital product management, including experience in B2B and B2C applications, software or technologies.

  • Proven success with Illustrations systems

  • Deep Risk Product knowledge (sales through service)

  • Demonstrated results with planning, defining and launching successful large-scale digital products and product portfolios

  • Excellent customer service intuition; demonstrated success in inventing creative and user-friendly digital products.

  • Demonstrated knowledge of the financial services industry.

  • Demonstrated ability to form relationships, gain confidence and work collaboratively with colleagues and leaders at all levels across the company to identify and resolve issues.

  • Experience with and adopts agile methodologies.

  • Enterprise view; skilled at blending subject areas in pursuit of a mission.

  • Key knowledge of the principles and methods of managing organizational change and leading others through change.

  • Metrics and data analysis skills to develop, supervise and make data-driven decisions based on value delivered against strategic outcomes.

  • Strong negotiation and decision-making skills, and ability to execute in ambiguous conditions or circumstances.


This job is not covered by the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Required Certifications:

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We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.


We’re excited about the potential people bring to Northwestern Mutual. You can grow your career here while enjoying first-class perks, benefits, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.