Lifestyle Personal Lines the November 2021 issue

Anna Ewing, EVP, IMA Subsidiaries

“I really believe we can only truly share from the basis of our own experience.”
By Chris Hann Posted on November 1, 2021
Q
I read that you’re a fourth-generation Coloradan. Are there many of those anymore?
A
There are very few of us, particularly with all the in-migration of recent years.

Favorite vacation spot: “Anywhere I haven’t been! Travel is my passion. My favorite place I’ve visited to date is probably Patagonia, but I don’t want to go back until I’ve been everywhere else or worn myself out trying.”

Favorite city in Colorado: Estes Park (“It’s the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. I spent a lot of time there with my grandmother and have many fond memories there. It’s absolutely beautiful. While my grandma’s goal was to travel the world and she made it many places, nothing compared to her beloved Rocky Mountains and the chance to sleep under the stars in the great outdoors. She recently passed away at the young age of 102.9. Estes Park will always be a special place to honor her legacy.”)

Favorite movie: Dirty Dancing (“Probably for the music but also for its coming-of-age story. I’ve seen it countless times, and the final scene never gets old.”)

Favorite actors: Sean Connery and Denzel Washington

Favorite musician or musical group: “I’m a huge country fan, so my favorite modern country artist would probably be Eric Church.”

Favorite author: “I like historical fiction, but I also like crime mysteries. I love Tana French, who writes Irish crime, and she can’t write them fast enough. I’ve read them all twice, probably, and I wish she’d hurry up with another book.”

Favorite local restaurant: The Old Man, in Westminster. “It’s a barbecue joint, a total dive.”

Favorite dish there: “Definitely the fried okra.”

Q
Where did you grow up?
A
In Loveland, about 50 miles north of Denver. It used to be a small bedroom community of about 40,000 people. There’s a pretty significant arts and culture district there now and a world-renowned bronze sculpture garden right down the street from where I grew up.
Q
What was it like growing up in Loveland?
A
It felt sort of like a quintessential small town. We’d walk to school. We’d play outside until late. Everybody had their doors open. We’d go camping and hiking and fishing and all that stuff. It was just a real local-neighborhood childhood experience that I don’t think occurs as often anymore.
Q
I’ve heard Colorado described as “Ten months of winter and two months of guests.” Is that true?
A
(Laughs.) No, not really. We actually have over 300 days of sunshine each year. I think there’s a perception that it’s snowy and cold, but often when it snows it’s gone the next day.
Q
What was your favorite class in high school?
A
Probably student government. We had a fabulous faculty sponsor for that program. I recall getting some real-world lessons that seemed very relevant and practical at the time, and that helped me think about the world outside of high school.
Q
You eventually went into state government. Can we draw a straight line from your high school government class to your decision to enter state government?
A
We cannot. That was a result of coming up for air after a big transaction in private industry. I had a chance to join the Department of Economic Development, and I call it my “tour of adventure” in the public sector. I was so privileged to have had that opportunity. I’m certainly a more engaged citizen. I hope I’m more compassionate, and I think I’m a better parent.
Q
How did that experience make you more compassionate?
A
I think it’s easy for individuals in the private sector to look at government and see inefficiency, waste, delay, all the things we like to think that we have figured out in industry. My experience really gave me an opportunity to see that the systems of public service are really complicated. By compassion, I mean—perhaps a better way to say it is—I’m less quick to point out all the problems. I recognize the solutions to those problems are incredibly complex and that many talented and purpose-driven individuals are working on them.
Q
And how did it make you a better parent?
A
I think I have encouraged our kids [Lexie, 17, and Brandon, 15] to be more engaged, even at young ages, in their community and to educate themselves on what we enjoy as Americans and with our democracy and to not take it for granted.
Q
As a female executive in a male-dominated industry, do you feel an obligation to mentor younger women to become future executives?
A
I do. But I feel an obligation to anyone coming up in our business. Some of my best mentors and sponsors, frankly, have been men. So I think to elevate women in the workplace, it’s an effort involving everyone.
Q
How would your co-workers describe your management style?
A
I think “direct” and “communicative” and “organized.” I do love organization!
Q
If you could change one thing about the insurance industry, what would it be?
A
I think we could embrace innovation a bit more quickly. But there’s a lot happening in insurance innovation and technology in particular, and we’ve made a lot of progress.
Q
Last question: What gives you your leader’s edge?
A
I really believe we can only truly share from the basis of our own experience. Keeping a pulse on that—being true to myself, in terms of what experiences I’ve had and what experiences I haven’t had, and being willing to share that genuinely is what, I think, makes me the leader that I am.
Chris Hann Associate Editor Read More

More in Lifestyle

John DeLorean
Lifestyle John DeLorean
Developing an algorithm to sell life policies to engineers: what’s boring abou...
Lifestyle Wanderlust: Spain
It’s the simple things.
Matt Gardner, Founder & CEO, Patriot Growth Insurance Services
Lifestyle Matt Gardner, Founder & CEO, Patriot Growth Insurance Services
“The Latin and Greek roots of the word ‘patriot’ are both related to the w...