St. Joseph’s university academy of risk management and insurance published a study showing that gender diversity is lacking across leadership levels within the industry. As a woman in a leadership position at an insurance company, I accept the challenge to change this trend. Women have made strides since I began my career in the industry twenty-five years ago; the number of women in senior roles within our industry is encouraging and increasing.
The only way we can continue to create meaningful change is for women to believe that they deserve an equal treatment and voice, no matter what industry or level.
In my career, I have been blessed with many opportunities, but I’ve also faced many challenges. If I had let my fear of those challenges command me, I would not have grown, learned, and contributed as a result of them.
Here is some key advice:
Know your full potential and always strive for greater. I often see women not reaching enough. I achieved a career goal in my early thirties, and then thought, What next?
Key to achieving your full potential is to embrace feedback. It can be hurtful, but embrace feedback, make corrections if needed, sustain the correction, and then ask for more feedback.
Women have the same ability as their male counterparts to make significant contributions and to have the power to make a company or organization better. I fundamentally believe that anyone who has a strong work ethic, integrity, and collaborates well with others will succeed in business today.
Is there a role model who has had a profound impact on your career and/or life? What did he/she motivate you to do?
I have been fortunate to have had many mentors, but one in particular is prominent: Judy Blades. She was the former president of Business Insurance at The Hartford. Blades was an advocate for me, but even more importantly, she placed me in situations that were outside of my comfort zone. She was deliberate about my career assignments. She was blunt and direct regarding my development opportunities, while encouraging me to succeed in any situation. Blades, along with many others, have instilled in me the importance and power of providing encouragement, feedback, and challenging assignments to my team members and partners.
What advice would you give young women building/ preparing for a career?
Women—especially those who are building their career—must discover their passion. A career is likely to be forty years long, so it is important to find the careers and industries that create that passion. If you love it, it will not seem like work. Secondly, knowing your core values is important. Your core values will serve as a guide as you are presented with issues and opportunities in all situations. This foundation of passion and core values is critical and will lead you to the most satisfying and rewarding careers.