Entries by Tori Snoddy

RISE Announces 2024 Impact Award Winner


Dania Beach, FL, May 1, 2024 – RISE is proud to announce the winner of the all new Impact Award! The Impact Award recognizes those who have significantly impacted the insurance industry for the better. It celebrates individuals, groups, or causes that have demonstrated a commitment to improving the insurance landscape for everyone. This award acknowledges the power of positive change within the industry and honors those who strive to make a meaningful difference.

Congratulations to the 2024 Impact Award Recipient: Girls Give Back

The story of Girls Give Back exemplifies the transformative power of Friendship, shared vision, and unwavering determination that brought Michelle and Jessica together. Both women are exceptional professionals in the insurance industry, and they became close friends through their shared desire to empower women. Together, they embarked on a mission to make a positive impact on the lives of many people in the insurance industry and beyond. They proved that with passion and perseverance, they could overcome any obstacle and achieve their dreams together.

In 2022, driven by their shared determination, Michelle and Jessica, along with their dedicated teams, initiated the Women’s Walk event. Starting with only 21 participants, the event began a movement that showcased the collective impact of unified action. The following year saw remarkable growth, with over 189 women participating, a testament to their commitment, starting as early as 6:00 am.

Beyond the event itself, the focus was on creating a culture of empowerment and networking. They aimed to amplify the support found within their industry and extend it further to drive and embrace change together. Rooted in personal experiences and an acute awareness of the challenges women face, particularly in their field, Michelle and Jessica were motivated by a deep desire to effect meaningful change.

Their journey highlights the immense impact two determined individuals can have when united by a shared vision of empowerment. From humble beginnings to a flourishing organization, Girls Give Back demonstrates how friendship, determination, and a commitment to positive change can ignite a movement that shapes a brighter future for future generations.

We are recognizing Girls Give Back as this year’s Impact Award recipient in tribute to their remarkable 2024 Women’s Walk at PLRB.


“We’re absolutely thrilled to share with you the amazing success of our 3rd annual Women in Insurance Walk in Boston, which took place during the PLRB National Conference. We had an incredible turnout this year, with 507 wonderful walkers of all genders that supported the cause. 

Together, we raised an impressive $17,000 to support the incredible work of the Spencer Educational Foundation. 

Our achievements are a true testament to the power of unity and collective action. We are proud to showcase our commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the insurance industry. Witnessing what can be accomplished when we come together for a greater cause is truly inspiring. We firmly believe that by working together, we can drive the necessary change in our industry.

Insurance is not just any job, it is a field that is constantly evolving and has always supported individuals and families financially. It also offers numerous opportunities for career growth. We are committed to raising awareness among young individuals who seek a supportive, inclusive, stable, innovative, and socially responsible industry. Therefore, we proudly affirm that “Insurance is a dynamic industry that disrupts, innovates, and has never been more exciting”.

We’re embracing the spirit of collaboration and rallying behind the #bettertogether mantra, because we truly believe that together, we can shape a future where our industry thrives, and everyone finds opportunity and fulfillment. We invite you to continue supporting our cause and participating in future events, and we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in making this year’s Women in Insurance Walk such a resounding success!”

-Michelle Licht & Jessica Hamilton, Girls Give Back

Girls Give Back will be honored as the Impact Award Recipient at the 2024 RISE Awards Gala, taking place on June 18-20th in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

This prestigious event celebrates excellence in the insurance sector and honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the industry.

For more information about the 2024 RISE Awards Gala and to reserve your tickets, visit the event site

About RISE:

RISE® is a vibrant insurance community committed to empowering early-career professionals, attracting new talent, offering networking opportunities, and providing access to invaluable resources. 

For more information about RISE and our initiatives, visit RISEprofessionals.com


Tori Snoddy | Director of Operations



Insurance Cares Awards Spring 2024 ‘DEI on the RISE’ Scholarships

Insurance Cares, a nonprofit organization born out of RISE’s DEI committee that is dedicated to providing equal access to insurance education through scholarships and free educational resources, is proud to announce the recipients of its second round of DEI on the RISE scholarships. These scholarships are designed to support diverse students pursuing careers in insurance by providing funds for tuition, books, and general day-to-day financial needs, as well as mentorship opportunities and access to the insurance community.

The DEI on the RISE scholarship recipients will be paired with mentors who will provide guidance and support as they navigate their careers in the insurance industry. Additionally, the recipients will gain valuable access to the insurance community through networking opportunities, paid internship opportunities within the insurance industry, attendance at industry events, and learning the fundamentals of insurance.

“Receiving this scholarship would significantly impact my ability to continue my educational pursuits and achieve my career goals. Financial constraints often pose a major challenge for students, limiting their access to necessary resources and sometimes forcing them to compromise on their educational aspirations. This scholarship would alleviate some of these financial burdens, allowing me to focus more on my studies and less on financial worries. Ultimately, the support provided by this scholarship will be instrumental in helping me achieve my ambition of making a meaningful impact in the risk management and insurance industry,” says Kenisha Davis, student at Georgia State University.

The insurance industry provides prime career opportunities for students right out of school. It’s no longer for people who love pocket protectors and corny coffee mugs. Careers in insurance are stable, rewarding, limitless, dynamic and offer work-life balance, and we are so excited to provide the funds, tools, and mentorship for rising diverse talent to become the insurance stars of the future!

Mileinie Sanchez, student at Bentley University shared, “Bentley University has provided excellent opportunities through its Actuarial Science major and industry networks. However, I am aware that many individuals from lower-income neighborhoods lack access to such resources. This lack of access often prevents minorities from considering Actuarial Science or the insurance industry as career options. I’m committed to representing minorities by volunteering and speaking at community events attended by high schoolers, particularly those with a variety of diverse backgrounds.”

Insurance Cares is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the insurance industry by providing support and opportunities to underrepresented communities. Through the DEI on the RISE scholarships, Insurance Cares aims to empower and uplift diverse students to excel in their insurance careers, contribute to the industry, and help create a more inclusive and diverse workforce.

For more information, or to make a donation, please visit www.insurancecares.org



The Balance Between Setting Business Goals and Personal Development Goals

Charlotte Rheingold

Instructional Designer, AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.

When thinking about career development, striking a balance between your company’s objectives and your own professional growth can be challenging. However, prioritizing both can help you achieve happiness and success at work. I found myself in this exact situation about a year ago. I had just joined a new company and was tasked with outlining my business goals while also trying to determine my overall career path. Since then, I’ve reworked my business and personal goals, and here are a few things that helped me.

Creating Business Goals

When crafting business goals, start by understanding the “why” of the company – what is the main purpose? What are the top objectives? Why is this what we’re all striving to achieve? Then, think about how your team or department goals contribute to the overall company vision. (If you are ever unsure about what these goals are, ask your leader!)

Once the larger goals are clear, then think about your role and why it matters to the business. Even if your impact isn’t immediately obvious, every individual contributes to the company’s broader objectives. Begin with the big picture, and then zoom in to your specific role and what you do daily. This approach can help connect the dots to how your regular work duties actively contribute to the overall success of the business.

Utilize SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) criteria to track progress effectively. When it comes to making your goals measurable, think about metrics that are important to your team. Do you have sales numbers, service level agreements, customer portfolios, satisfaction surveys, etc.? Is there a metric that you are looking to increase (e.g. number of claims handled per month) or decrease (e.g. employee turnover)? Think about which goals can be achieved through your regular work and how you can measure them through key metrics.

For my project-based role as an Instructional Designer on a Learning & Development team, this meant thinking about how each of my training projects related to larger department and company strategic goals. My team has our goals posted in a centralized location, and anytime I start a new project, I ask myself how it aligns with them. If it doesn’t support these goals, I recognize that I either need to realign the project objectives or it’s likely not something I should prioritize.

To share a personal example, last year one of our main team goals was to increase the value of the new employee experience to build a strong culture of inclusivity to retain top talent and drive business performance. I contributed to this goal by working on various new hire training programs. It can be easy to send a new employee some documents and consider their onboarding complete, but I pushed beyond that to create a well-rounded, welcoming, and structured experience for our new hires. I wanted to make sure they felt that they belong here, were set up for success in their role, and would be supported throughout their tenure.

Creating Personal Development Goals

While business goals are important, your personal growth also matters. Development goals can be anything you want them to be: skill development, a promotion, creating an entire new role, becoming a leader of an employee network – the sky is the limit! They can be directly related to your current role or focused on growing into something totally different. This is both exciting and challenging because you have to decide for yourself what you want. Take time to reflect on the skills, knowledge, experiences, and type of work-life balance you want to acquire.

I started my reflection by identifying my values, and I was surprised by how deep and introspective an experience it was. Defining my values helped me better recognize and make the most of situations where I can embody these values in my work. By further thinking about what these opportunities looked like, I was then able to determine what skills I need to execute on them. This helped me develop a roadmap of the skills I want to learn, which I can apply to both personal development and business goals.

One goal that I have been consistently working on is developing self-promotion and networking skills, which supports my long-term aspiration of becoming a Learning and Development (L&D) team leader. I want to promote our training programs and highlighting the value of continued learning to the business. Additionally, having a strong network is beneficial to tune into business needs and create impactful training. One thing I am doing to build these skills is serving as the co-chair of one of our internal employee networks for young professionals. This is helping me to develop my voice, executive presence, and build key relationships across the company. Plus, it gives me a platform to share all the great work our L&D team does and help others benefit from these programs.

Even with a well-defined plan for my personal development, I am open to changes along the way. I know that my professional priorities will evolve and when I achieve one goal, I will replace it with a new one. If I find that one of my goals no longer works as intended, I’ll reevaluate it. This is why having clearly defined values helps inform the adjustments to my plan over time.

Finding a Balance

Your business and personal development goals don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, the more they can complement each other, the better. If you notice a large gap between the two, maybe that’s a sign that you need to consider a role where they can be more aligned, which is absolutely okay. We all start somewhere.

We all come to work to do a job that supports the success of the company. But we should also prioritize work that supports our own personal success.

RISE Announces 2024 ’35 Under 35′


Dania Beach, FL, April 2, 2024 – RISE is proud to announce the recipients of the 2024 “35 Under 35” award, a prestigious honor recognizing exceptional rising talent in the insurance industry.

The RISE Awards “35 Under 35” celebrates rising stars who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and contributions to their companies, communities, and the insurance sector as a whole. This year, we received a significant number of nominations from across the industry, highlighting the wealth of talent and innovation present among young professionals.


The 2024 “35 Under 35” recipients are:

  • Andrew Adams – President, River Valley Underwriters Inc
  • Aqil Kurji – Founding Associate & Actuary, Zoë Foundry
  • Ashley Walker – Director, Aon
  • Breck Seitz – Healthcare Broker, Risk Placement Services
  • Chris Gutierrez – CEO, Stryke National Investigations
  • Cody Pavlat – Manager, Content Design & Knowledge Management, AF Group
  • Colleen O’Brien – Director of National Accounts, Partner Relationships, SageSure
  • Connor James Thomson, CPCU – Law Clerk, Stickley Law, LLC
  • Daniel Osei-Agyemang – Head of Claims, Prime Insurance Company Limited
  • Don Mahone – RVP, Commercial Surety, Allianz Trade
  • Gracemarie Mende – Director – Auto Claims, Arch Insurance Group
  • Jake Doman – Consulting Director, Axion
  • Jeff Weber – Executive General Adjuster, PURE Insurance
  • Jessica Lei – Casualty Litigation Specialist III, Cincinnati Insurance Company
  • Jessica Rosenow – Director, Data and Analytics, Coterie Insurance
  • Jose Hernandez – Senior Unit Manager, NARS
  • Joshua Williams – Campus Recruiting & Program Lead Manager, TruStage
  • Kayla Pigeon, Esq. – Assistant Vice President, MSP Compliance, Sanderson Firm
  • Krista Scott – Senior Underwriter, The Hartford
  • Marques Brown – Senior Director of Membership Experience, GradGuard
  • Mercedes Peil – Director, Strategy, Selective Insurance
  • Molly Niswander – Medicare Compliance Unit Manager, Westfield
  • Paria Esmaeelzadeh – Associate Director, Carrier Relations, Willis Towers Watson
  • Quron Berry – Claims Supervisor, Utica National Insurance Group
  • Rakesh Kumar Dhawan – Founder & CEO, DHA-1, Inc
  • Rick Holtz – Chief Technology Officer, Seek Now
  • Rocio Luna – Insurance Producer, Modern Reign Insurance Brokers
  • Ryan Brichetto – Senior Property Claims Representative, Westfield
  • Salena Chaudhry – Claim Technical Consultant, The Auto Club Group
  • Sara Cummings – Accounting Manager, Preferred Mutual Insurance Company
  • Shante Delgado – Operations Manager/Agent, American Benefits Specialists
  • Taylor Nelson – Business Generation Consultant II, AmTrust Financial Services Inc
  • Thomas Lynch – Senior Vice President, Jencap Group
  • Tony Petrucci – Claims Specialist, Amerisure
  • Tyler Ross Gehbauer – AVP, Commercial Officer, CNA Financial Corporation

The winners will be honored at the 2024 RISE Awards Gala, taking place on June 18-20th in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

This prestigious event celebrates excellence in the insurance sector and honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the industry.

For more information about the 2024 RISE Awards Gala and to reserve your tickets, visit the event site


About RISE:

RISE® is a vibrant insurance community committed to empowering early-career professionals, attracting new talent, offering networking opportunities, and providing access to invaluable resources. 

For more information about RISE and our initiatives, visit RISEprofessionals.com


Tori Snoddy | Director of Operations



RISE Announces 2024 LEAD Award Finalists


Dania Beach, FL, March 27, 2024 – RISE is proud to announce the finalists for the LEAD (Leadership in Equity and Diversity) Award, recognizing individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) within the insurance sector. The finalists for the LEAD Award are:

  • Charmaine Rice – Senior Vice President, Global Learning, Development, and Diversity, AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.
  • Jackie Merkle – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Relations Leader, Grange Insurance
  • Kaitlyn Dudzinski – Vice President Environmental, Westfield Specialty
  • ReMeera Marie Green – Manager, People & Administrative Ops, SageSure

These outstanding individuals have implemented innovative strategies, fostered partnerships, and implemented educational initiatives to enhance cultural competency and promote DE&I workplace education and communication. Their efforts have led to increased awareness, understanding, and advocacy of DE&I work throughout their organizations.

The winner of the LEAD (Leadership in Equity and Diversity) Award will be announced during the prestigious RISE Awards Gala on June 18-20th in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This prestigious event celebrates excellence in the insurance sector and honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the industry.

“We are honored to recognize these exceptional individuals as finalists for the LEAD Award,” said Tori Snoddy, Director of Operations at RISE. “Their dedication to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives serves as a shining example for the insurance industry. We congratulate each finalist on their outstanding contributions and look forward to celebrating their achievements at the RISE Awards Gala.”

For more information about the 2024 RISE Awards Gala and to reserve your tickets, visit the event site

About RISE:

RISE® is a vibrant insurance community committed to empowering early-career professionals, attracting new talent, offering networking opportunities, and providing access to invaluable resources. 

For more information about RISE and our initiatives, visit RISEprofessionals.com


Tori Snoddy | Director of Operations



RISE Announces 2024 Innovator of the Year Finalists


Dania Beach, FL, March 29, 2024 – The 2024 RISE Awards Gala is proud to announce the finalists for the inaugural Innovator of the Year award, recognizing individuals that have pioneered transformative solutions, setting new standards for the industry. The finalists for the Innovator of the Year award are:

  • Bob Tyson – Strategic Managing Partner, Tyson & Mendes LLP
  • Dr. Claire Muselman – Professor, Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Drake University
  • Hollie Huber – Vendor and Quality Control Manager, Tower Hill Insurance Group
  • Ryann Foelker – Design and Innovation Director, American Family Insurance

Each of these finalists has made significant contributions to advancing innovation in insurance, whether through groundbreaking strategies, pioneering technologies, or transformative projects. Their visionary leadership and dedication to driving positive change have had a profound impact on the industry as a whole.

The winner of the Innovator of the Year award will be announced at the 2024 RISE Awards Gala on June 18-20th in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This prestigious event celebrates excellence in the insurance sector and honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the industry.

“We are thrilled to honor these exceptional individuals as finalists for the Innovator of the Year Award,” said Tori Snoddy, Director of Operations at RISE. “Their innovative spirit, passion for excellence, and commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in insurance are truly commendable. We congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition and look forward to celebrating their achievements at the RISE Awards Gala.”

For more information about the 2024 RISE Awards Gala and to reserve your tickets, visit the event site

About RISE:

RISE® is a vibrant insurance community committed to empowering early-career professionals, attracting new talent, offering networking opportunities, and providing access to invaluable resources. 

For more information about RISE and our initiatives, visit RISEprofessionals.com


Tori Snoddy | Director of Operations



RISE Announces 2024 Mentor of the Year Finalists


Dania Beach, FL, March 27, 2024 – RISE is proud to announce the finalists for the Mentor of the Year award, recognizing exceptional leaders in the insurance industry who have dedicated themselves to guiding and nurturing the next generation of talent. The finalists for the Mentor of the Year award are:

  • Adrienne Woodberry – Vice President, Field Property, Western Zone at PURE Insurance
  • Heather Schafer – Transportation Claims Specialist at Reserv TPA
  • Michelle Raue – Senior Vice President, Chief Claim Officer at Preferred Mutual
  • Thomas Chernow – Underwriting Specialist at Liberty Mutual

These outstanding individuals have demonstrated exemplary mentorship qualities, inspiring and empowering their mentees to reach new heights in their careers. Their commitment to fostering growth and development within the industry serves as a beacon of guidance for aspiring professionals.

The winner of the Mentor of the Year award will be announced at the 2024 RISE Awards Gala on June 18-20th in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This prestigious event celebrates excellence in the insurance sector and honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the industry.

For more information about the 2024 RISE Awards Gala and to reserve your tickets, visit the event site

About RISE:

RISE® is a vibrant insurance community committed to empowering early-career professionals, attracting new talent, offering networking opportunities, and providing access to invaluable resources. 

For more information about RISE and our initiatives, visit RISEprofessionals.com


Tori Snoddy | Director of Operations


Empowering Voices: Black Excellence in Insurance

Traci Adedeji

President, CPCU Society

Gavin Sharp

Chief Executive Officer, Health Plus Trans

Dionne Lacey-Artis

Chief Business Officer, Optum Workers’ Comp and Auto No-Fault

As we celebrate Black History Month, can you highlight a Black figure in the insurance industry who has inspired or influenced you, and what lessons have you drawn from their journey? 

Traci: Great question.  There are so many Black insurance professionals who have in the past and continue to mentor and inspire me.  But if I had to pick one, it would be a woman named Sheila Bracey-Liggins.  We worked together in the late 1980’s at Motor Club of America in Newark, NJ.  It was early in my career, and the first time I had seen a Black person in a leadership role.  The things I drew from her leadership were her authenticity, her sense of humor, her grace and her generosity.    Sheila took me under her wing and made me excited about coming to work every day.  She was vocal about gender and racial equity in the workplace at a time when it wasn’t sexy to broach such topics.  And because she was brilliant and at the top of her game professionally, people listened when she spoke. 

I learned from Sheila that I have the right to take up space and to be authentically myself.  I learned that this right came with a responsibility to be excellent at my job.  I also learned the importance of using my influence to support and encourage other people of color – particularly in spaces that do not nurture our talent.

Gavin: One of the most inspiring figures in the insurance industry is Mr. Jerald L Tillman, the founder of the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA). His vision was to create a community for African American professionals in the insurance sector and he worked tirelessly to make it a reality. Mr. Tillman’s legacy is a testament to his dedication and commitment to the growth and development of individuals within and outside the industry. He planted the seeds for future generations to connect, learn, and seek guidance on how to thrive in this field. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr. Tillman for his contributions to the insurance industry and for creating a space where African American professionals can flourish. Let us honor his legacy by continuing to support and uplift each other.

Dionne: The definition of influence is to have the capacity to have an effect on the character, development and or behavior of someone or something. Nina Smith President of Customer and Market Operations at Enlyte has been that for me. I had the immense pleasure of reporting to Nina many years ago and even though I know longer enjoy that privilege, I do get to connect with her as we are now both board members with the Alliance of Women in Workers Compensation. She is the epitome of grace under pressure and has held numerous leadership positions that inspire a new crop of not just African American women, but all women leaders. She is passionate about DEI and has walked the walk longer than most. I am not even sure she knows how inspiring she is or how many people watch her from afar and want to emulate her. It truly is her natural disposition to provide support, feedback, and most of all sponsorship.

Can you share an experience or accomplishment in your career that you feel particularly proud of, and how has it contributed to your journey as a Black leader in the insurance field?

Traci: I am particularly proud of my role as the 2024 President & Chair of The Institutes’ CPCU Society. As the first Black woman in the 80-year history of this organization to serve in this role, I am humbled by this opportunity to make history.  It has increased my profile within the industry and provided access to people, places and things I might not have had access to before being in this role.  At the same time, the messages of support and encouragement that I’ve received from so many people have reminded me that people see you even when you don’t realize they do.  It has informed the thoughtfulness and intentionality with which I engage, and mindfulness about the example I set as a leader in our industry.

Gavin: As the leader of HPT, I am thrilled to share the growth of our company in the ancillary services sector over the past three years. Our transformation from a traditional T&T company to a tech company has been extraordinary. We are now providing real-time analytics to our customers, which has never been done before in this insurance sector. I challenge my organization to be excellent and with our team’s hard work and dedication I know we are the best company in our sector. This I am extremely proud of.

Dionne: Every step in a career has peaks as well as valleys but I am proud of where I am today in my career. Not because of my title but because of what I get to do which is to help the next generation of Black female leaders, businesses, and enterprises. As the Chief Business Officer of Optum Workers Compensation and Auto Injury Solutions, a subsidiary of the United Health Group, I get to collaborate with a team of amazing individuals who also value Diversity and Inclusion. I actively participate in the Black Experience group at UHG, Chief and now I am starting on a new project for Health Equity for marginalized communities. When I was younger my husband and I were raising our children, and I did not have as much time to give to my community. Now that they are adults, I really have the time to fully pursue a legacy of giving back.

How has your culture and community influenced your ability to be in the position you are in now?

Traci: This is such a timely question as I’ve recently been interrogating the concept of “culture” with all of its nuances.  Culture can be defined in so many different ways. I think that the culture that has most influenced my professional journey is being the child of Black parents who were raised in the south and who migrated to the northeast in the 1960’s.  I grew up feeling proud to be an intelligent Black woman.  I grew up feeling supported and celebrated by my family and extended family.  My parents did their best to instill in me that I am whole and perfect just as I am, with the God-given tools I need to be successful in life.  I think that racial socialization, gender bias and classism presented obstacles, but foundation has allowed me to effectively navigate adversity and to motivate and inspire others to do the same.

Gavin: As an immigrant from Jamaica, I came to this country with a dream and a goal. My parents and grandmother instilled in me the idea that I am a “leader not a follower”. This mentality has stayed with me throughout my life, from the basketball courts to the boardroom. I strive for excellence and have a comfort zone of perfection. Failure is never an option for me. These attributes have propelled me to where I am today.

Dionne: I was adopted by my grandparents who grew up during the depression and raised by a village of extended family in Birmingham, Alabama. I was surrounded with love, support, and a push to excel to represent my family and my culture in way that would bring honor. My grandmother went to college and my grandfather had an eighth-grade education but they both valued family, education, and exposure. Exposure to travel, reading, politics and the diversity of thought. They pushed an introverted girl to be comfortable in being uncomfortable before it was even a catch phrase. They pushed me to be a dreamer. But most of all they taught me to remember that it is a duty and an obligation to be accountable, tenacious, and always aid anyone that you can help. I feel them every day and keep them alive by sharing with my children the value of self-worth and service to community which is so important in a world that is slowly losing its empathy.

What advice would you give your younger self starting out in the insurance industry?

Traci: I would have advised my younger self to identify my purpose and to seek work in this industry that aligned with it.  My background is primarily in personal lines underwriting and I moved along that track of advancement until relatively recent years when I was able to step into roles where I was able to use the skills I learned as an underwriter and underwriting manager to do work that was more fulfilling for me.


  1. Never fear things not working as planned, it’s the steppingstone to your success;
  2. Mistakes are inevitable, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Some will be big, some are small. Just grow from each scenario.
  3. READ EVERTHING, READ, READ, READ, READ. With firsthand knowledge, no-one can take that away from you!
  4. Become a subject matter expert in your career. People will pay you well for your knowledge.

Dionne: Interestingly I started out as a customer service person while in college at a group health HMO. My goal was to go to law school, but I honestly found my calling. I enjoyed being able to solve problems for customers and de-escalate angry customers. I followed that trail to several different insurance industries, Medicaid, Long Term Care and now Workers Compensation/ Auto for the last 22 years. The advice I would give myself is that you will find your way. Create a plan and put in the work that it demands but never be afraid to veer in a different direction. Being flexible and being able to adapt and change is the key.

Looking ahead, what changes or advancements do you hope to see in the insurance industry to promote greater diversity, equity, and inclusion for Black professionals and customers alike?

Traci: I’ve felt for a while now that we as an industry could do a better job of educating the public about insurance. There are so many financial services deserts in the Black community.  I see pockets of this kind of work but I would love to see us engage in a concerted, consumer-facing initiative that educates the public so that they embrace insurance and risk management as tools  that can be used FOR their financial benefit instead of a bad thing being DONE to them.  I think that effort would dovetail nicely with efforts to attract new talent to our industry.

I would also encourage us to not focus only on students and on young people when we work to attract new talent.  People are living longer and working longer.  There are experienced people who may have been displaced professionally or who just want to pivot to something different.  That experience will bring in a diversity of thought that can be a game changer in our industry.

Gavin: With the ever-changing trends and DEI quickly disappearing, it’s time to take a look at the insurance industry through a different set of lenses. It’s important to level the playing field for all professionals. As professionals, we can fight the good fight or choose to be competitive. Competition fosters excellence.

To optimize our careers, we should seek partnerships, allyship, or community. It’s crucial to work together and support each other to achieve success. Let’s work towards creating an inclusive and diverse industry where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive.

Dionne: While there has been really disheartening news of late when you scan the media, I am incredibly hopeful for the future. I am especially happy to see so many Millennials and Gen Zers starting their own businesses in Insurance. Many in my generation thought that corporate America was what we all should aspire to. I love that this new generation feels strongly that there are so many paths to a truly multicultural industry.


The 5 Cs of Insurance

Author: Dana Ducommun

Marketing Manager, MC Consultants, Inc.

(760) 930-9966


Happy 1-year Anniversary!  What is it that I am celebrating, you ask?  That would be my 1-year anniversary as a RISE committee member.  The various RISE committees engage young professionals to either join the RISE organization or further involve those that are already affiliated.  As a fellow member of the student committee, I wrote this article from the perspective of education through engagement; for every one of us can offer our own unique perspectives of the insurance industry from the various positions we hold and companies we serve.  Take me, for example.  I am writing this article from the perspective of a marketing professional who read author Shwetank Verma’s article “5 Cs of Transformation in Insurance” and asked myself: how can I breakdown the 5 Cs, relating each to a real-life scenario with a marketing twist?  I decided it best to put my student hat back on to do so.  After all, we never quite graduate from learning and adopting new skills.

Prior to my marketing career, I was a student.  As a student, I focused on methods that would help me better understand a topic, often incorporating real world situations so I could relate an unfamiliar topic with a familiar topic.  That was how I best retained information, so I decided to take that approach for this article, which outlines the “5 Cs of Transformation in Insurance” which are: Communication, Customization, Connection, Cognition and Consensus.

Let’s go back to my method of relating an unfamiliar topic to a familiar topic: We all have heard of the 5 Cs of a perfect diamond to take into consideration when investing in an engagement ring in advance of a marriage proposal.  This is where my marketing wheels start spinning (insert movie trailer voice as you read my tag lines below!)

  • The 5 Cs of Insurance and How to Pick the Diamond in the Ruff Claims Professional
  • The 5 Cs of Insurance and How to Pick the Perfect Fit
  • The 5 Cs of Insurance…& CLARITY Too
  • RISE and Shine in Insurance, Like a Diamond
  • Why is insurance so expensive? That’s like asking why a Diamond is so expensive.
  • Ensure you’re a 5 Cs Claims Professional…Insure it like you would a Diamond!

Do you see where I am going with this?  Let’s take it one step further, and breakdown the 5 Cs of Transformation in Insurance like that of 5 steps to a marriage proposal:

1. Communication (THE PROPOSAL):

The article states “At its core, insurance is a promise. Now, there isn’t much value in a promise if you can’t communicate it!” 

Breakdown: Effective communication is more than verbal words; it is a perception and overall feeling that shows your customers you are committed to them and their best interest at heart.  Keep things interesting and ask yourself: is the information I’m conveying informative?  Strive to establish trust by showing you can simplify and create content that is of benefit to the customer, keeping in mind a good proposal is one that is accepted, not rejected.


2. Customization (THE ENGAGEMENT RING):

The article states “Yet, for insurance customers, the tools and recommendations we provide look remarkably similar, if not the same.”

Breakdown: Insurance (both home and life) lacks personalization for insured customers.  No two customers are the same, yet recommendations and renewal prices are similar.  Customizing risk coverage to the individual may be an opportunity to improve this.  The article suggests how the generation of large data-sets can supersede underwriting tables and embrace customization.


3. Connection (THE PRE-PROPOSAL):

The article states “The key challenge for companies today lies in getting noticed. To get noticed, you have to be part of your customers’ conversation. The challenge is to engage without interrupting.”

Breakdown: How can you connect with a customer with little to no interaction?  The article describes how the innovation of future ancillary services could be the solution to increasing connections and loyalty between companies and their customers.  There is room for improvement for the insurance industry to improve overall customer satisfaction and connection is a part of that recipe.



The article states “Learning algorithms, whose results improve with experience, will enable us to find patterns in large data sets and make predictions more effectively — about people, processes and entire systems.  Ultimately, these technologies will completely transform the entire insurance organization.”

Breakdown: There is a cognitive effort happening in the insurance world, which is learning algorithms and making predictions.  The implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be transformative for analyzing ways to improve processes and customer experiences.  These technologies can be used for detection, monitoring, automation, analysis, prevention, etc.


5. Consensus (TIL DEATH DO YOU PART):

The article states “For instance, a Life insurer is the epitome of the trusted intermediary – you expect it to honour its promises after your death.”

Breakdown: Customers want to feel like they are being cared for during and after their natural lives.  This trust is shown through actions and proven commitment.  The article describes how transformation in insurance requires “digital fluency” and the importance of making it easier for start-up companies to find companies and formulate commercial agreements, and the impact this may have on better understanding the customer through all phases of life.

In summary, as processes become more digital, it is important to stay diligent in preserving the human aspects in the industries we serve.  As a marketing professional, I strive to promote my employer’s forensic consulting services through personal interaction, placing client satisfaction at the forefront of my objectives.  MC Consultants’ forensic expertise includes investigation of construction defects, construction site accidents and injuries, accident reconstruction, traffic and roadway claims, product failures and first-and third-party property damage analysis, just to name a few.  Over 200 colleagues of mine work together to apply their expertise, skills, and knowledge in forensic consulting support of primarily first and third-party claims. 

The takeaway here is simple:

by engaging with our industry colleagues about what we individually do, we educate one another on the resources that are available for the if, and when, you need that diamond in the ruff professional to serve you…and provide clarity too!! 😉 





Author: Shwetank Verma (Jan 5, 2017) Shwetank Verma is the co-founder of Leo Capital, an early stage fund and an open innovation consultant. Previously, he led open innovation at MetLife Asia.


Article/Quote source: https://www.insurancethoughtleadership.com/leadership/5-cs-transformation-insurance#:~:text=The%205Cs%20of%20transformation%20in,you%20can’t%20communicate%20it!