Julie Herwig, senior vice president and head of federal governmental affairs at New York Life, is responsible for developing and executing positions and strategies regarding public policy issues and communicating with policymakers and regulators at the federal and international levels. Besides managing a team of government affairs representatives in Washington, DC, she represents New York Life and its business before Congress, the administration and other rule-making bodies. Colleagues call her a strategic thinker who quickly grasps and anticipates emerging issues facing the industries in which New York Life operates.

Before joining New York Life in 2006 as assistant vice president for legislative affairs, she worked as trade counsel for the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, advising Members of Congress on international trade negotiations and other legislative and regulatory trade issues.

Herwig is a member of the board of directors of the Public Affairs Council and Higher Achievement, a nonprofit dedicated to closing the opportunity gap for middle school students through after-school and summer programs. In 2015, she was featured in Working Mother magazine as “Working Mother of the Year.”

For Herwig, diversity means ensuring that the people at the table reflect a variety of viewpoints and experiences, and that their voices are heard. It is a crucial business asset that helps leaders do their jobs better. “In any setting,” she explains, “sameness leads to ‘group think’ and poor decision-making. In government relations, diversity is a necessity for effectively engaging with members of Congress, who reflect the range of backgrounds and viewpoints of the people they represent.”

She offers this advice to women building careers: “Be curious – ask questions, read, look to understand the bigger picture. Do the little and big things well; you never know who is paying attention to the little things or which little things may become big things.” She goes on to share these words she lives by, “Commit to excellence, but cut yourself (and others) some slack if things don’t work out as you hoped. Laugh at your mistakes, learn from them and move on.”