26 \\\\\ PORTER WRIGHT
Be in the crowd
Women in Reinsurance
co-chairs (left to right),
Teresa Snider, Randi Ellias
and Karen Borg
With a crowd of women in every part of the re/insurance industry, any woman can
find opportunities and resources right for her, says Catherine Isely, co-founder of US
law firm Porter Wright’s Women in Reinsurance programme.
ast month, I walked into a room and thought: “What a
crowd!” This has happened every year since I co-founded
Porter Wright’s Women in Reinsurance programme in
2004. I was walking into the room reserved for our annual
think women need or need to do.” L
event. A crowd of women filled the space.
The women were debating one another and counselling one another.
They were laughing and they were sharing challenges. I walked through
a crowd with wide-ranging experience levels, differing demographics,
varied perspectives and vibrant ideas.
Shortly after the event, I was asked to author this article. So often,
I and other women with experience in the industry are asked to offer
insights on what women “need to do” to “get a seat at the table”.
But I’m not interested in telling readers what I think women need or
need to do, or whether I even believe it’s the women who need to do the
skill-building. Or whether a woman reading this should find a mentor
and a sponsor or be a mentor and a sponsor, or how to make a place for
herself, or what the industry data says about how many women made it
to a spot on some board this year.
This is my message: a seat at the table won’t do it. This industry needs
a crowd of women in every space. A crowd of women who push through
acquisitions and women who adjust claims. A crowd of women who
navigate regulations and women who run off books of business.
A crowd of women who report to shareholders and women who
“I’m not interested in telling readers what I
manage mutuals. A crowd of women who develop new products and
women who model risks. A crowd of women who manage operations
and women who collect dollars. A crowd of women who market business
and women who direct social media. This industry needs a crowd of
women from all communities and women having intersectionality across
multiple communities. A crowd of women who present differently from
one another and women whose presentations are fluid.
With a crowd of women in every part of the re/insurance industry, any
woman can find opportunities and resources right for her. Any woman
can find a role model or decide instead to chart a new path to success.
The exceptional women executives profiled in this edition of
Influential Women in Re/Insurance each have their own path, and I
congratulate them on their success. I encourage them, and all readers,
to walk into every room at their organisations intent on filling the
space with a crowd of women. ■
Catherine Isely is a partner at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur
and the co-founder of Porter Wright’s Women in Reinsurance
programme. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Diversity and Inclusion Report 2019 www.intelligentinsurer.com