The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) held its Women in Insurance Conference Series last month, with forums in New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles. A record-setting 1,620 women and men attended the events to discuss diversity, inclusion and leadership in today's workplace. Attendees participated in workshops dedicated to breaking down personal and professional barriers and listened to dynamic addresses from compelling guest speakers that included industry leaders, best-selling authors, an Olympian, and Jenna Bush Hager, author, activist and television correspondent.
Designed to educate and inspire, as well as send attendees forth with actionable solutions, the forums focused on several particular aspects of diversity and inclusion, such as diversity of thought, talent acquisition, leadership, and career strategies and goals. Attendees from 35 states and five countries joined the conversation, highlighting the necessity of continuing discussions on diversity and inclusion. As the case for a more inclusive work envinronment was explored by industry leaders, convincing facts were highlighted. This includes the projection that it could take 217 years to close the gender gap if we continue at the current rate, while conversely, diversity and inclusion initiatives are proven to promote innovation and success across industries. According to a 2018 McKinsey & Company report on ‘Delivering through Diversity', companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than those in fourth quartile.
"When passion meets purpose, that's where the real work gets done," Barbara Bufkin, Executive Head of Business Development, Commercial Lines at Assurant and Chair of the IICF International Board of Governors, told the audience at the Southeast Forum in Dallas, inspiring the group to take what they learn at these events to influence real change.
With the industry now more focused than ever on implementing thoughtful diversity initiatives, such as those explored at the forums, we are seeing results. Of attendees surveyed after the forums, 58 percent indicated their organizations currently have a formal program in place for fostering diversity or creating inclusiveness in the workplace, while 16 percent were unsure. This is impressive progress with ample opportunity to further diversity and inclusion within the industry. IICF will continue to convene industry leaders and insurance professionals on diversity and inclusion, innovation and leadership topics, heading the conversation on identifying challenges and how to transform them into opportunities.
“The forums were a tremendous success with great minds motivating others to challenge the status quo in terms of diversity and inclusion,” said Betsy Myatt, Executive Director of the IICF Northeast Division and Chair of the Women in Insurance Conference Series. “It is our sincere hope that our attendees leave the forums ready to share their experience and apply the advice and strategies they came to know at the forums in their own careers and workplaces.”
From surveys conducted after each forum, it is clear that attendees found the experience to be both enjoyable and useful. The overwhelming majority stated that they believed attending the forums was ‘valuable’ or ‘extremely valuable’, and they would highly recommend the events to their colleagues in the future. The most significant factor contributing to their enjoyment was the speakers. Forum speakers included: Pina Albo, CEO, the Hamilton Group; Sophia Yen, Principal, Insurance Strategy & Innovation Leader, Ernst & Young LLP; Steven DeCarlo, Executive Chairman, AmWINS Group, Inc.; Stacy Dragila, Olympic Gold Medalist; Jennifer Knox, Head U.S. West, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions; Joyce Trimuel, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, CNA; Deborah Aldredge, Chief Administrative Officer, Farmers Insurance; and Dawn Miller, President & CEO, AXA Insurance Company (US).
As a leading philanthropic voice, IICF will grant proceeds from its forums to the IICF Early Literacy Initiative, which helps deliver literacy resources to children in underserved communities, and to the community grants programs in the hosting regions. As part of the IICF Early Literacy Initiative, in partnership with Sesame Workshop and insurance industry supporters, IICF announced the donation of 15,000 "Book Buddies" storybooks for children. Community book distribution will be facilitated by Bernie's Book Bank in Chicago, Jumpstart in Los Angeles and San Francisco and other nonprofit partners of IICF. Book drives were also held at the Dallas and Chicago events, where more than 500 children's books were donated.
For details regarding these events please contact Betsy Myatt at email@example.com or visit http://womensconference.iicf.org/. Stay tuned for registration information for IICF's three-day Women in Insurance Global Conference, hosted in New York at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel, June 12-14, 2019.
About the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation
Celebrating twenty-five years of helping communities and enriching lives, together. The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) is a unique nonprofit that unites the collective strengths of the insurance industry to help communities and enrich lives through grants, volunteer service and leadership. Established in 1994, IICF is celebrating twenty-five years as the philanthropic foundation of the insurance industry, contributing over $31 million in community grants, along with 270,000 volunteer hours by more than 100,000 industry professionals. IICF reinvests locally where funds are raised, serving hundreds of charities and nonprofit organizations, for maximum community impact. IICF is a registered nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Learn more at www.iicf.org or follow us on Twitter @doubleicf.