This month’s Women’s Leadership Council blog celebrates the success of women who have paved the way and made Insurance a more diverse industry.
Recently, I had the opportunity to slow down and share a coffee with two tenured women of Oswald – Kim Lucarelli and Kathy Miller. Both Kim and Kathy have been in the industry and with Oswald for over 30 years. The industry has changed much over the past 30 years and accomplished women like Kim and Kathy have helped to drive that change.
They shared the following reflections and insights:
There is no substituent for hard work. You also need to be hungry in your pursuit of success – every day. A disciplined approach to the opportunities that challenges present will ensure success. Be thoughtful and intentional about your choices, act on them, hold yourself accountable to them and accept responsibility for them. Discipline turns talent into ability.
Work at building meaningful relationships, it not only makes your work more enjoyable but is critical to success. The foundation of relationship capital is emotional intelligence, which is driven by self-awareness as well as awareness of others. Understand that relationships are the foundations of trust, and be intentional about building relationships with co-workers and clients, vendors or anyone who can enrich your work experience. People are persuaded by emotional connections and your influence grows as your emotional intelligence and relationship capital grows.
Historically, women would wait to be noticed; today, women are raising their hands and nominating themselves. Find a senior manager who is comfortable promoting women who can act as your sponsor. Understand the tone at the top and find the right person to help support you and other women. Learn to take charge and be an owner. Identify the opportunities that are best for you, watch your timing and pick your battles. Many times building out your career is not done by advancing upward but by pivoting and applying current skills to a new area. When building out your toolbox, think in a multi-dimensional manner, verses strictly vertical.
What is your personal brand? Understand your own strengths and the underlying value system that supports them. Being true to yourself establishes trust. Be mindful of the landscape around you so you can navigate to success. Are you on the right bus and in the right seat? The landscape will change over time, across roles and companies, but who you are, how you work and treat others – your integrity – should not.
Sponsorship, mentoring, and friendships are all ways to uplift others and encourage other women to embrace opportunities. Women by nature are nurturers – which is why women excel as advisors, coaches, mentors and sponsors. Highlight and celebrate the success of others. Be empathic when others are challenged. Don’t forget about individuals who have advanced beyond your level, those at your level and those young in their careers. Embrace the talents that the hard-wiring of women brings to support other women at all levels and the next generation.
Kim Lucarelli is Senior Vice President and Director of Personal Client Management, and one of Oswald’s first women officers.
Kathy Miller is Vice President and Senior Client Executive, and also one of Oswald’s first women officers.
About the Author:
Kim Ferenchak is Director, VP and Practice Leader of Executive Risk at Oswald Companies. With specializations in management liability, professional liability, environmental liability and fidelity coverages, she combines her product and market knowledge to solve business challenges that arise daily. She advises clients in areas such as prudent corporate governance, mergers, acquisitions, and cyber liability, among other specialties.
In addition to her practice, Kim is a frequent speaker on her topics of expertise, including executive risk, cyber risk and liability, and more. She is Co-Chair and a founding member of The Women’s Leadership Council at Oswald. The Council was created to empower, develop, and advance Oswald Employee-Owners, in support of professional and personal development, and an inclusive environment that advances the success of women and the organization.
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