More than 300 insurance professionals attended Insurance Networking News’ 2014 Women in Insurance Leadership Forum in Chicago today to honor 10 female insurance executives for their outsized contributions to their companies’ growth, technological achievements and the personal and professional advancement of their colleagues.

In a panel discussion, which included honorees Victoria Carter, vice chairman, international operations for Guy Carpenter & Co., Nancy Mueller, EVP and COO of Zurich NA, and Teresa White, who recently was promoted to president of AFLAC US, and which was moderated by Deb Smallwood, founder of insurance technology constancy Strategy Meets Action, the executives discussed their experiences climbing the corporate ladder. They emphasized the importance of viewing challenges as opportunities, actively choosing ones’ career trajectory and not allowing others to dictate or limit their personal choices and goals.

“I had a teacher who said that I, as a woman, could not excel in certain fields. I set out to prove him wrong,” recalled Teresa White.

Other sessions at the forum are slated to include discussions about emerging technology trends, effective communications, insurance innovation, and how to develop and retain talent, considered a critically important issue for the insurance industry. 

This year’s Women in Insurance Leadership (WIL) award winners were nominated by their employers and technology partners, and chosen by a panel of judges comprised of last year’s WIL award recipients and the editors of Insurance Networking News. In addition to Carter, Mueller and White, the 2014 honorees include:

• Judy Copechal, Chief Underwriting Officer, United Property & Casualty Insurance Company
• Melissa Crawford, Senior Vice President of Markets, Products and Technology, Physicians Mutual
• Paula Downey, President and CEO, CSAA Insurance Group
• Kathleen S. Ellis, Senior Vice President, Chubb and Son Inc.
• Katherine Mabe, President, Allstate Business to Business, Allstate
• Donna Peeples, Chief Customer Experience Officer, AIG
• Lorraine Seib, President, Excess Casualty,  XL Group

Since 2006, INN's WIL program has recognized the extraordinary accomplishments of more than 70 professionals whose leadership and performance have redefined the insurance business and its application of technology. This year’s winners are distinguished for the global reach of their endeavors and the international scope of their accomplishments.

The WIL program is dedicated to the advancement and professional growth of women in the field of insurance and offers opportunities for mentors and their protégées to develop their leadership skills, expand their professional networks and gain insights on business strategy and execution.

Among the speakers featured at this year’s conference are Maggie Westdale, global CFO at Aon Benfield; Dawn Mortimer, innovation director for American Family, and Denise Garth, partner and chief digital officer at Strategy Meets Action.

Nicole Michaels, principal,  financial services at EY, is this year's WIL conference moderator.

 

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