Prudential executive has rock-solid foundation

| September 23, 2010 | 0 Comments

Patricia Washatka, center, vice president of operations control services at Prudential in Plymouth, meets with business analyst Audie Yingling, left, and senior accounting associate Christa Aurentz. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Pat Washatka pointed to a plethora of inspirational quotes and photos in her office at Prudential Insurance Company of America in Plymouth to explain her thoughts on leading with faith.

Washatka, vice president of operations control services, noted a poster that said: “Character: Adjusting to an ever changing road while holding on to your everlasting values.”

“That sums up what it’s all about,” she said.

Washatka strives to stay true to the values she learned from her parents and her Catholic faith while she attended Sts. Peter and Paul Church and grade school in Loretto. She continues to practice that faith at St. Michael in St. Michael, where she has led many committees.

Stepping up to a challenge

When Washatka was asked to serve on another committee after the parish completed building a new church, her husband advised her to be on the committee, but not lead it.

“My problem is, I can’t say no,” she said.

She also couldn’t say no to the new position offered in October 2008 by Prudential.

“I got the privilege of selecting the people and setting the organization’s foundation,” which has a strong moral compass, she said. “It’s both exciting and stressful.”

Washatka said she has an open-door policy that allows employees to talk freely about any issue.

“I will keep it confidential or I will take action if they want me to take action,” she said. “I find that a lot of times, people just need an outlet.”

With three departments reporting to Washatka, she has to make ethical decisions every day, such as those related to staffing and equitable pay based on performance, ensuring that people have the right authorizations and following up when systems fail.

But the most fulfilling part of her job, she said, is the relationships she has developed.

When she first became a supervisor in the 1980s and was struggling with how her team was working, her boss provided some helpful insight.

“He said, ‘First of all, you have to understand that not everybody works the way you work, No. 1. And second, the way you work is why you are in this position,” she said.

Another lesson Washatka said she learned was about respect.

“I was working with somebody one on one and the person said, ‘When you talk to me like that, you make me feel stupid,’” Washatka said. “I didn’t realize I had grown impatient and had a tone in my voice when I was talking with her.”

She often shares that story with people she mentors.

Washatka said she takes the most pride in her family and the projects she has led at church.

“There’s no better place to be than at church, whether I’m there working, or playing or praying or going to Mass,” she said.

She acknowledged that, at work, the organization she created has come a long way in the past year.

But, Washatka was quick to credit her team for inspiring her: “They step up to every challenge . . . and have this positive attitude,” she said.

Biography

  • Title: Vice president, operations control services, Prudential Insurance
  • Parish: St. Michael, St. Michael
  • Spouse: Jerry Washatka
  • Children: Ellen, Billy, Nick
  • Activities: Chair of the parish finance committee, capital campaign, stewardship committee, Mass coordinator, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, mentor

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Category: Leading With Faith