Sin City is not known by most business people as a place for deep thinking, celebrating women's successes or crafting innovative business change. However, that is exactly what happened at INN's first annual Women in Insurance Leadership Forum, held in partnership with Smallwood Maike & Assoc. in Las Vegas in mid-November. The event began with ceremony that recognized winners of INN's Women in Insurance Leadership program (see the November 2008 issue of INN), and attracted executives within the industry, offering opportunities to network and discuss critical issues facing the industry today.

Rather than dwelling on possible challenges of being a woman in business, the discussion focused on actionable measures. This further indicates just why these women are successful leaders. They discussed challenges involved with leading a younger generation that takes a different approach to business, embracing a changing business model that requires emerging technologies and bridging the gap between business and technology within their companies.

The agenda made it possible for attendees to share great ideas and wisdom in a way that fostered individual and group innovation. I was inspired by the knowledge, drive and dedication present at the Forum. It led me to the conclusion that whether you're male or female, you have to prioritize the needs within your area of responsibility and find solutions to the most important challenges. To succeed, you must be qualified and prove yourself, whether it's by mentoring a younger employee, implementing a new rating system or developing a process to link the business and technology groups. These tasks can only be completed effectively by concentrating on improving the mission at hand, not obsessing over uncontrollable variables surrounding it. Full steam ahead.

PS: Attendees of INN's first annual Women in Leadership Forum have asked to keep the momentum going. If you would like to be part of this growing network of women leaders, please contact Pat Speer at

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

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