From a study on how to respond to economic change, to building a personal and professional brand for career success, the topics presented at the Insurance Networking News’ Women in Insurance Leadership Forum this week resonated with attendees.

More than 100 female professionals attended the 3rd annual Forum in Oak Brook, Ill., where a host of well-known industry experts offered content that spanned a variety of business and technology areas. The consulting and advisory firm Strategy Meets Action served as a business partner for the WIL Forum, which was co-located with the Insurance Accounting Systems Association’s Executive EDGE program.

Joan Lamm-Tennant, chief economist and risk strategist for Guy Carpenter Co., delivered the keynote address, telling audience members that global economic ills will remain with the industry until it addresses certain issues critical to its success. “Global financial firms failed to recognize risks,” she said. “We began to compound that risk because our eye was only on the return.” Against a dire backdrop of continued pressure from hard-to-measure or even unknown future risks, Lamm-Tennant advised decision makers to take a hard look at the industry’s culture, decision models and compensation systems in order to properly respond. “We are used to ‘spinning’ our business, not being transparent,” she said. “Yet it is times like this that good companies can be great.”

Pat Speer, editor-in-chief of Insurance Networking News, noted that both the conference agenda topics, as well as attendance, had grown year over year. “Feedback from a number of sources, including our WIL Advisory Board, helped us craft a curriculum that had a broader appeal,” Speer said. “We are very pleased with the caliber of speakers and attendees this year.”

The two-day conference included other topic presentations and roundtables:

Global View of Growth:

Moderated by Karen Furtado, partner, Strategy Meets Action

Catherine Stagg-Macey, senior analyst, Celent

Wenli Yuan, senior analyst, Asia Research Group, Celent

Marie Carr, senior partner, Insurance Practice, Diamond Mgt. & Technology Consultants/PWC

Creating a Seamless Linkage Between Business & IT:

Moderated by Deb Smallwood, founder of Strategy Meets Action

Lynn Neville, senior operations officer, Everest National Insurance Co.

Building Value-Driven Partnerships:

Moderated by Pat Speer, editor in chief, Insurance Networking News

Angelyn Treutel, VP, Treutel Insurance Agency Inc.

Marietta McCain, president Luhn-McCain Insurance Agency

Cynthia Hardy Young, president, Encompass Insurance (an Allstate Insurance Co.)

Creating Your Personal Brand: Personal and Professional Development

Cathy Ellwood, senior director, Corporate Development & Strategy, Nationwide

Preparing Gen Y to Lead:

Moderated by Deb Smallwood, founder of Strategy Meets Action

Session Leader: Julie Parsons VP, Emerging Business, Allstate Insurance Co.

Panelist: J'ai Batey Human Resource Consultant, Talent Acquisition, Allstate

Panelist: Emily Foss Communication Consultant, Corporate Relations, Allstate

Panelist: Gina Minick Communication Consultant, Corporate Relations, Allstate

Panelist: Laura Mottl Sr. Actuarial Assistant, Product Pricing, Allstate

Following a networking cocktail reception on day one of the two-day conference, Carrie Burns, INN’s editor, officiated at the Women in Insurance Leadership Awards ceremony, where the following honorees were recognized for making a positive, demonstrable impact on their organizations:

Sallie Graves, head of insurance and distributed services IT, ING U.S. Insurance (Nominated by Oracle)

Susan Gueli, SVP and CIO, Nationwide Financial (Nominated by CSC)

Shannon McLaughlin, director, fulfillment operations, Genworth Financial (Nominated by iPipeline)

Sandra Parrillo, president and CEO, Providence Mutual Fire Insurance Co. (Nominated by iter8)

Pat Rayl, 2nd VP, technology services, Aflac (Nominated by Aflac)

Angelyn Scardino Treutel, VP/treasurer, Treutel Insurance Agency (Nominated by ACORD, ACT, Safeco, Selective Insurance and Travelers)

Also receiving recognition are four Notable Achievers, who have successfully driven significant project and/or process improvements within their companies:

Jill Bookman, CEO, American Collectors Insurance (Nominated by Aartrijk, on behalf of American Collectors Insurance)

Regina Carter, managing director, Aon Risk Insurance Services West (Nominated by Aon Risk Insurance Services West)

Dalia Dannenberg, fidelity & surety staff services manager, Capitol Insurance (Nominated by OneShield)

Susan Kostro, SVP, specialty casualty, Ironshore Inc. (Nominated by Torrance Co. on behalf of Ironshore Inc.)

“These women represent the industry’s elite, from the front office to the back and in business and IT,” said Burns. “It was an honor to recognize this distinctive group of leaders in our industry for their professional excellence.”

A conference wrap-up included candid comments from past honorees of the Women in Insurance Leadership Awards, Darby O’Neill, VP of Accounting and Mary Ellen Freyermuth, director of IS at Catholic Relief Insurance Co. of America.

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