Women in C-suite roles are in a strong position to help ensure more women are ready for executive roles in the future, one executive said insurance business.
“I don’t think all the barriers have fallen yet. How do we pave the way and make sure we continue to break down barriers for women?” said Shareen Minor (pictured), chief revenue officer at Ontellus, an insurtech that specializes in records recovery and claims intelligence.
Minor has more than two decades of experience in the insurance industry, including senior positions at Engle Martin & Associates, NatGen Premier and Fireman’s Fund.
Through these senior roles, she took account of male-dominated spaces and gained leadership experience while becoming a passionate advocate for women mentoring women.
Despite significant progress in recent decades to create more opportunities for women and minorities, Minor believes there is still work to be done, starting with mentoring.
Without empathic mentors, she said women can struggle to find their place in the industry and reach their full potential.
“You can have strong male mentors in great positions in the company, but they won’t understand some of the areas you face or the difficulties you experience as a woman in the industry, so you can’t talk about those issues,” Minor said.
“There are many times where I thought, ‘why didn’t anyone tell me this?’ I think we can change that as women in the industry.”
Overcome impostor syndrome
For Minor, one factor that distinguishes a good mentor from others is emotional support. As a mentor, she strives to be intentional and to form meaningful two-way relationships with her mentees.
He recalled a candid conversation with a woman who didn’t feel ready to go through a job interview.
“I picked up the phone and said, ‘You don’t have to have the interview. But let’s talk about why you think you’re not ready. If the mentor had been a man, he could have stuck with the schedule,” Minor said.
“I don’t think men understand that women have this piece in them that they feel like they’re not ready or capable of taking on certain situations, because most men feel like they can take on any situation.”
Minor wants other insurance leaders to know that investing in young people is not just about giving advice and direction.
Getting to know each person as an individual, learning their unique strengths and weaknesses, and guiding from a place of empathy will create truly enriching mentoring experiences for both parties.
“I’m learning a lot from the people I’ve mentored,” said Minor, who now works and coaches a team of young female leaders in Ontellus.
“I keep learning from them. I feel like tutoring is more of a conversation. I know a lot of people take the time [to mentor]. But you also have to invest in people and get to know them on their journey.”
Bridging the generation gap
For insurance leaders to invest in and develop the next cohort of women leaders, they must understand how the next generation is powered.
Gen Z comprises about 20% of the US workforce now, while millennials make up 50%. Insurance companies need to revamp their business models to accommodate the changing needs and work motivations of these groups.
“Investing in the younger generations and what is important to them is going to be huge as we move forward and see perpetuation in areas where [the older workforce] they’re going out,” Minor said.
“I think that’s a big part of the tutoring we looked at. At Ontellus, we sit down and talk to people about how we can go to the next level. How do you create those strategic conversations with the C-suite?
“We know they want to be a part of this. We just need them to come to the table so they can start making an impact.”
Do you have any thoughts on mentoring and developing the next generation of insurance leaders? Leave them in the comments.
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