After receiving both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Ball State University, Joanna Rogers has led an incredibly successful career in the business and technology world. For her, Ball State was a place that allowed her to learn and grow through both classroom instruction and the meaningful relationships she formed with her teachers and peers.

Time on Campus

Joanna spent time on Ball State’s campus for six years, earning a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and then a Master’s in Business Administration. During her time in undergrad, she recalled fondly the projects and people that she came into contact with. Her favorite assignment as an undergraduate was when she got to help come up with summer programming for high school students to introduce them to the world of art and interior design. Joanna also believes that it was during this program that she learned the importance of planning and prioritizing, lessons that her professors heavily stressed.

During her undergrad, Joanna took a Construction Management course taught by John Warner. Although he was a tough teacher, he was Joanna’s favorite and most impactful as he instilled in her many of the lessons she uses in her present career.

“He instilled rigor and attention to detail in all of his students. He taught us when to push and when to pull the plug on a project. These are all incredible life lessons that have helped me navigate projects throughout my career.”

During her time in her master’s degree, Joanna took many courses that were both interesting and informative to her career. She thought that it was a great stepping stone into the real world, especially as her career beginnings were in the program management space. Although her classes were important, it was the sense of community both in her graduate and undergraduate programs that she believes is the most important thing she gained from Ball State.

“It is so important to have a sense of community wherever you are. Ball State gave me that while equipping me with things I needed to get a job. I felt safe and welcomed in the BSU community and it is something I will always appreciate about Ball State.”

Her favorite memory from her time at Ball State is also her most difficult memory as it is the day she left the campus after graduation. Driving around and visiting people for the last time as a student was incredibly meaningful and bittersweet. Although at that moment she was excited about the future, she knew that Ball State would always be the home of some of her favorite memories and moments in her life.

Career Journey

Joanna’s career has led her all over the fields of business, technology, insurance, and more. After graduating, Joanna shifted gears a lot. She started working as a nonprofit development coordinator briefly before getting a job at a law firm where she served as the Firm Development Director. She worked for four years assisting with client development, recruiting, as well as managing internal and external communications, marketing campaigns, and press releases. It was here that she participated on a tech committee to modernize the firm’s administration and developed an interest in how new innovations will alter the world moving forward.

Following her job at the law firm, she worked for Aptera Software, a custom software company in Fort Wayne, as a Project Clarity Specialist and was responsible for a wide variety of tasks and clients relating to different projects the company was seeing through. From there, she was introduced into the world of finance and insurance after meeting a headhunter in Fort Wayne. She first worked for Lincoln Financial as a Business Systems Analyst and was then hired on as a Solution Project Manager at Swiss Re Group which is one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, insurance, and other forms of insurance-based risk transfer. There, Joanna got to explore new technology in the insurance space. Throughout her seven years there, she was able to climb the corporate ladder to become Vice President and a Senior Reinsurance Consultant. She greatly enjoyed her time here and got to see firsthand how the insurance world is changing after nearly 150 years of stagnation.

Since then, she transferred her skills over to Northwestern Mutual and serves as the Senior Director of Business Operations, Strategy, and Planning. In the past year of her tenure, Joanna’s primary objective has been to transform how the 1000 people within NM’s Underwriting Department work in today’s environment while preparing each for a future where technology will create greater efficiencies and new ways of working. Overall, Joanna has found purpose and excitement in her career and loves where she ended up. She is excited to see what the future brings and how technology continues to change the world.


“Sometimes, you can find the most success when you step away from the detailed plan you have set for yourself. Being too rigid doesn’t allow you to be open to the opportunities and the people around you.”

Joanna stated that students should look for unique experiences and opportunities that they might typically say no to. She believes that the more information you acquire and the more experiences you have, the more successful you will be and the more you will understand the world around you. Her career has gone in directions she had never considered if not for following her own advice. Being flexible, taking chances, and learning from others around her were all things that were imparted to her during her time at BSU. As she has benefited so much from this advice, she urges all students to consider these things and take a risk just to see where they could end up.