March 08, 2023
Before you read any further, flip to this month’s cover story, which includes dozens of insights into many of the dynamic and powerful women within our organization. It’s a must-read, and I guarantee you will finish it with a new appreciation for what women achieve in our industry and the obstacles they overcame.
One of the questions in the article asked about the keys to women’s successes, so let me share mine. I went to law school thinking I would be a trial lawyer, and was lucky enough to work at an insurance defense firm both during school and as a practicing attorney. As the only woman at my firm, I realized that if I was ever going to have a family, I could not take on the demands that a trial attorney role requires. So I took my experience in insurance defense and went the inside counsel route, landing a job at a relatively unknown company at the time named Progressive Insurance. On hindsight, I soon realized that my work ethic was the same in-house as it was in private practice.
It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my career. Progressive provided incredible education about the insurance business, and lived up to its name quite literally, providing cultural and diversity training well before DEI was even an acronym. It was a welcoming environment where I was able to apply my natural curiosity and creativity to work with product and claims managers, not against them. I removed the word, “no,” from my vocabulary, and together we worked to figure out ways to get to “yes” without violating regulations or compliance standards. It was thrilling to use my technical skills in such creative, collaborative ways, and one of the reasons I think I was successful was that I took the time to really absorb the functional aspects of the business.
Male or female, I think you will find great value in the focus we’re putting on women in insurance. Whether it’s the way women complete a trial team, advice on how women can support each other professionally, or the story of how one woman learned to trust her own instincts to find personal and professional success, there is something for everyone to admire and be impressed by. Further, by understanding the unique perspective of women, we all become better managers, collaborators, and confidants.
All the best –