Embracing the Challenge
“Be careful what you ask for!” Yes, that was a fairly consistent comment added after words of congratulations when it was announced that I was elected as chair of The Council’s board of directors for 2022.
I did, in fact, raise my hand to take on the role and could not be more excited to execute strategy with The Council’s committed officers and board members, collaborate with the dedicated carriers and vendors in this great industry, and work with The Council staff. It is my honor to take up this challenge!
If you could see today what I see in this chair position, you would see an insurance industry with…
- Innovative and creative technology platforms and services that are allowing brokers and consultants to use and analyze data to deliver excellent products and services to our clients. These new tools are allowing us to deepen our commitment to our clients and identify solutions for the challenges they face in running their businesses. We are a strong and resilient industry that must continue to be ever more bold in embracing these technology solutions.
- More emphasis on intentional research and investment in innovative ideas and solutions to our industry’s challenges.
- New educational opportunities, scholarships, training, and a never-before industry-specific certification for our next generation of talented leaders (learn more here). Every industry segment is experiencing the positive and negative impacts of both the war for talent and this “great resignation” period. The Council’s years of designing, investing in, and executing on the targeted training needs for this next generation provide us with an opportunity to attract these individuals with the promise of skill-based training that will translate into both their retention and success in our industry. This is OUR TIME to change the perceptions of the insurance industry and articulate these tangible reasons for choosing insurance as a rewarding career.
- Dedicated efforts toward diversity including changing the appearance of our industry leadership and the faces in the boardroom and at the meeting tables. (Notice I didn’t say Teams and Zoom screens, but that applies here, too!). My friend and former board chair, Rob Cohen, informed our members in 2017 that The Council was launching a diversity initiative. He challenged each of us and the entire industry not only to ask the questions that surround diversity, equity and inclusion but also to take up the hard work of answering the questions. And, even though we have far yet to go to meet our goals, I believe The Council, this board, and our industry are headed in the right direction. Even with the advancements that have been made, we must hold ourselves and each other accountable to these critical diversity goals.
It is my firm belief that we exist to see the future. Because we will be a significant part of tomorrow, each of us—and all of us together—must double down on our commitment to serving our clients, preparing our next generation of leaders, and making sure those leaders around the table can bring their diversity of thoughts, ideas and opinions that will be required to see into the future and allow this industry to continue to be the significant part of tomorrow that it is today.
I saw a poster recently that caused me to abruptly stop what I was doing. It read, “Please don’t make me repeat myself.” Signed…HISTORY.
Let’s respect and learn from history but be willing to act on and embrace the change that the future is presenting to our industry in 2022 and beyond. My challenge is, are we going to be a part of the future or merely react to it?
I invite all Council members and our carrier partners to join in this challenge!
Nancy Mellard is executive vice president and general counsel at CBIZ, and the 2022 Council chair.