Also receiving recognition this year are four leaders who have successfully driven significant project and/or process improvements within their companies.

KENDALL BLYTHE

VP of enterprise business and technology services, Tokio Marine Management

New York

Blythe leads enterprise PMO, oversees an IT budget of $20 million and manages the business services in Tokio Marine Management's (TMM) IT department (requirements, business process, data governance, tier-two applications support and configuration).

During the past year TMM modernized its new business and claims processing units via the insertion of key technologies throughout the process. Blythe was one of the primary decision-makers, selecting an enterprise content management platform based on its ability to scale across the enterprise, and across disparate business processes. During the rollout, TMM also was working on enhancements to its policy administration and claims handling systems. One vital decision Blythe made during this modernization project was to integrate a content management solution with the company's line of business applications. This gave processors real-time access to critical documentation directly from their core systems. Not only did this reduce cycle times, but has led to more accurate decision making by both new business and claims personnel.

Words From the Nominator (Hyland Software Inc.): "Kendall possesses the one skill that most IT executives do not fully appreciate - the ability to understand technology's impact on the business. Kendall understands that the business units she supports are her customers, and if they do not succeed, then she does not succeed."

DARBY O'NEILL

VP, information technology, Princeton Insurance

Princeton, N.J.

Darby O'Neill is responsible for the continued development and deployment of appropriate information technology companywide.

Since one of her responsibilities is to plan and prioritize IT initiatives (keeping in mind Princeton's overall corporate mission and vision statements), O'Neill played a large role in Princeton Insurance's imaging project. She worked to ensure that the implementation included improvements in productivity and workflow. O'Neill also constantly looked beyond the move to a paperless environment, emphasizing the need to modify and enhance how documents move within and outside of Princeton's domain, and developing efficiencies with the document creation itself. Additionally, she positively affected the revenue, operating income and earnings growth of Princeton Insurance by implementing imaging throughout the entire company, thereby achieving both improved efficiencies, and reducing the overall cost of doing business.

Words From the Nominator (St. Nick Media Services on behalf of Vertafore): "Darby's innovative methods for solving technological dilemmas and constant drive to keep Princeton at the forefront of the industry with cutting-edge business solutions are just a few of the reasons she deserves recognition."

SHAWN PATE

VP, software development, Fidelity Investments Life Insurance Co.

Boston

Pate is responsible for all software development on an extensive portfolio of projects. She also is responsible for providing the software support required to modify and sustain the company's production systems. She currently supports more than 15 core technologies and is the leader of the insurer's "Lean IT Transformation" initiative. Pate also champions the use of Agile methodologies for the software development portfolio.

The mastermind behind the development of a record-keeping platform for launching new products, Pate's vision has realized significant benefits to the company's revenue line, and contributed to 50% year-over-year growth in sales. The new record-keeping platform enables the company to shorten the lead time needed to launch new products. Fidelity leverages the benefit of the new platform, and established and met a goal to consolidate all products onto a single platform, thereby reducing its overall cost of ownership.

Words From the Nominator (Fidelity Investments Life Insurance Co.): "Shawn truly deserves the spotlight, and is not only making a difference, but making a positive impact on the organization and its business achievements. She is a leader, and is limited only by our ability to challenge her."

CONNIE PHILLIPS

President, Connie Phillips Insurance Inc.

Frederick, Md.

Connie Phillips' career is a notable achievement. Once licensed, Phillips started her own insurance agency in 1986 in one small room with no employees. Now, as the president of the full-service agency with approximately 3,000 policies in force, she is responsible for all facets - sales, service, marketing, leadership and training. On its Web site, the agency features a state-of-the-art computerized rating system that instantly compares rates of competing insurance companies for the same insurance coverage so it can offer clients the best possible rates.

The agency is moving toward a paperless environment to enable its agents to spend more time with clients, become more efficient and create faster response times. Phillips' success in business is due to her belief in helping others, and her philosophy: "Advising what's in your best interest, not just selling policies."

Words From the Nominator (Connie Phillips Insurance Inc.): "Connie goes above and beyond in everything she does. She is an inspiration to staff, clients and carrier reps. Connie devotes so much time to clearly explaining everything to each and every client. They leave, thanking her repeatedly. To this day, many of her original clients from 1986 are still here."

(c) 2009 Insurance Networking News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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