Brokerage Ops the October 2022 issue

Pushing the Needle Forward

Q&A with outgoing Council Chair Nancy Mellard, EVP and General Counsel, CBIZ
By Brianne Spellane Posted on September 29, 2022
Last time we talked, you were ready to hit the ground running on several initiatives. Give us your year in review—what you feel you accomplished as chair and what you’d like to see continue.
I have championed the continuation, expansion and new development of professional training programs to support the new talent in our industry. Providing support to Council leadership to develop strong Council staff and arm them with the necessary tools to meet the needs of our global membership has been another priority of mine. Finally, and most importantly, it was extremely important to me to help grow a sustainable DE&I committee to continue to support this critical, stated goal of The Council.
As you introduced yourself to The Council membership, you posed the following question to your fellow broker and carrier partners: “Are we going to be a part of the future or merely react to it?” How would you assess the industry’s response to that challenge?
It is my strong belief that the “COVID years” were not “lost times” at all. We have a journey yet to complete through 2022 and beyond, but I believe being part of the future has meant that, as an industry, we have spent valuable time asking what we learned during COVID and implementing and building on those positive lessons learned.
DE&I is a topic that is very important to you and one we’ve talked about at great length. How has your passion to continue to move the needle on DE&I changed or increased (if possible) since being the first woman in The Council’s 108-year history to serve as sole chair?

As The Council and as the insurance industry, we are definitely leaders in the DE&I space as we continue not only to move but to push the needle forward. We have created a Council charter and DE&I pledge. More than 75% of our board members (and counting!) have committed to and signed the pledge. Our strategy must be that we never “get there” or proclaim that we have succeeded since we must never lose our focus on the need for diversity, equity and inclusion and creating an industry where all feel that they belong.

Particularly within this past year, I have met and observed many incredibly competent and successful women making mission-critical decisions and being change agents in our industry as they are moving up their career ladders. We must continue to intentionally seek out and identify these women and move them to the top of our pipelines.

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the industry over the past year?
Consolidation continues to be both our industry’s biggest opportunity and our biggest challenge.
What’s on the horizon?
Continuing to strengthen The Council’s and our industry’s advocacy role. I do not have a crystal ball, but observing and understanding the political environment and the lack of insurance industry knowledge among members of Congress, these dynamics will require our advocacy team to support and educate our elected officials at an even more intense level. In addition, experiencing the lack of productivity at the federal level, I also see a demand in our future for greater advocacy at the state level.
As you prepare to hand over the reins as Council chair, what will you take with you from your time at the helm?
This industry is certainly very competitive…but what I will take away most from this past year as chair is the tremendous support from The Council’s board members, officers and Council staff. I also have to give a huge shout-out to my fellow members of The Council’s Legal Counsel Working Group. I have had the opportunity to nurture and strengthen all of these relationships over this past year and will value those relationships for many years to come. I will always tell anyone who asks that my 15+ years of involvement with The Council in many different roles has been the best investment I ever could have made in my career.
What advice will you give to incoming chair Bob Klonk, chair and CEO of Unison Risk Advisors?
To continue our work as officers and at the board level in being accountable to the full membership and to continue to be advocates of the incredible value of this insurance industry. And, of course, to have fun…it goes way too fast!
Brianne Spellane Director of Membership, The Council Read More

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