Aetna, Allstate, Mass Mutual, MetLife, Prudential and State Farm have made the latest list of Top 50 Companies for Executive Women from the National Association for Female Executives.

NAFE recognizes organizations that encourage women’s advancement through policies and practices, and where the numbers of women at the highest levels of leadership reflect that commitment, the company says.

At winning companies, women are 28 percent of top earners, up from 25 percent last year, according to research conducted by the Working Mother Research Institute for NAFE, and the percentage of female executives with profit-and-loss responsibility has grown to 22 percent from 19 percent. In addition, 26 percent of women in the top companies are responsible for at least $1 billion in revenue per year, vs. 23 percent from last year. 

[See also: MetLife among launch partners for Google insurance aggregator]

Here's what the six insurers recognized by NAFE had to say: 

  • Aetna:  This is the 15th time that Aetna has appeared on the list, and it will be in the inaugural group joining the NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women Hall of Fame. “As I get to know many of the women who work across all sectors of our company, I see the value they deliver to the business and ultimately our customers each and every day,” said Grace Figueredo, Aetna’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. “And as health care shifts to a more consumer-driven model, Aetna continues to focus on the increasing power of women as key decision-makers and influencers within this ever-changing marketplace.”

In addition to the Aetna Women’s Employee Resource Group and the Aetna Women’s Leadership Alliance, the company launched the Strategies for Success program, which includes long-term career planning, strategies for influencing, managing risk and sponsorship, last year to accelerate the advancement of talented women.

  • Allstate:  Strategic partnerships help propel female executives at Allstate, explained Michael Escobar, VP, chief diversity & organization effectiveness officer. For example, the Allstate Women’s “I” Network, an internal employee resource group, works with experts at the Global Women’s Leadership Forum, an external business organization, to host conferences and webinars on personal branding, career planning and more. Mentoring also is available, but arrangements with other providers of development programs, such as Menttium and Women Unlimited, enable female managers and executives to partake in leadership courses with customized workshops and assignments.

“This award recognizes our effort to create a culture and environment where everyone can be successful,” Escobar said. “We place a strong emphasis on developing our pipeline for female leaders. This includes providing intentional development and growth opportunities such as internal and external networking, mentoring and employee resource groups focused on women. It’s an important focus of the company as well to make our environment accessible to working women and integrate their work and life responsibilities with benefits that include flexible work arrangements, health and wellness programs.”

  • MassMutual: In addition to being recognized by NAFE, MassMutual has been recognized by DiversityInc., Working Mother, the Human Rights Campaign and others, as the insurer remains focused on attracting, retaining and growing a diverse talent base.

"Our steady climb to the top 10 on the NAFE list over the past four years speaks volumes to the importance we place on developing smart, female talent," said Elaine Sarsynski, a past NAFE Women of Excellence award winner, executive vice president of MassMutual's Retirement Services Division and chairman of MassMutual International LLC. "We are focused on educating a talented and diverse group of future women leaders," she added.

  • MetLife: In the past two years, MetLife has expanded its Women’s Business Network to more than 26 countries and launched 73 “Lean In” circles in the United States, according to the Working Mother Institute, and launched the Global Leadership Development Program for MBA students, offering internships and rotational assignments for those with managerial potential. Metlife also created a six-month mentoring initiative for female directors, introduced special workshops and panels for female assistant VPs and funded new educational offerings for high-potential executives.

"MetLife is pleased to be recognized by NAFE for our efforts,” said Elizabeth Nieto, global chief diversity and inclusion officer for MetLife. “Women hold many key senior roles in our organization, including on our board of directors and executive group. MetLife is committed to the attraction, development and advancement of women at all levels of the company."

  • Prudential: This is the 15th year Prudential has been recognized by NAFE for advancing the careers of women. “Prudential this year has joined the Hall of Fame for the NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women for its 15 years on the list for excelling in the advancement of women,” said NAFE president Spence. “This year, we particularly applaud the company’s newly implemented succession planning procedures for developing diverse candidates for jobs considered strategically significant.”

“We are delighted to be chosen as a Top 50 Company and recognized for attracting and developing talented women,” said Sharon Taylor, Prudential SVP, corporate human resources. “Prudential’s history of prioritizing opportunities and mobility for women is one of the things that distinguishes us as an employer of choice.”   

  • State Farm: The insurer has broadened the scope of its diversity programs and appointed deans to direct the educational offerings for each of its businesses, according to the Working Mother Institute. Women comprise 59 percent of employees who take part in career counseling and mentoring, and 43 percent of executive succession candidates. In 2013, women held 38 percent of executive positions, up from 36 percent in 2012.

“We are very proud to be honored by the National Association of Female Executives,” said Missy Dundov, State Farm media relations. “Women provide an integral part of our diverse workforce.  It is clearly evident that women at State Farm are making powerful contributions at all levels of our organization.”
The NAFE “Top 50 Companies for Executive Women” application includes more than 200 questions on female representation at all levels, NAFE said, but especially the corporate officer and profit-and-loss leadership ranks. The application tracks the number of employees that have access to programs, policies that promote the advancement of women, and how many employees take advantage of them. The application also examines how companies train managers to help women advance and how managers are held accountable for the advancement of the female employees they oversee.

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