Lifestyle Personal Lines the July/August 2019 issue

Lori Goltermann, CEO, US Commercial Risk & Health, Aon

With today’s fast-paced, technology-enabled world, work and life are hard to separate. It’s how you manage this that gives you the work/life balance you deserve.
By Chris Hann
Q
You originally studied medicine in college but took a turn toward business in your senior year.
A
All through high school, I loved biology. When I took my first paying job in college to help support myself, I found myself working at a switchboard at Travelers Insurance. While there, I met Bill Weiler, a regional manager at Travelers. He said, “I think you’d be great as a commercial underwriter.”

FAVORITE CHICAGO RESTAURANT: Chicago Cut Steakhouse (“The food, the atmosphere, the energy—it’s classic Chicago at its finest.”)

FAVORITE VACATION SPOT: Minocqua, Wisconsin (“It’s our family summer destination. My daughter is a ‘Min-Aqua Bat,’ and every year we look forward to seeing the waterskiing acrobatics they put on.”)

FAVORITE MOVIE: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (“My sister and I have a tradition of watching this every holiday while we wrap presents together.”)

CUBS OR WHITE SOX? “Remember, I grew up in St. Louis. I am staying out of this one.”

Did he mentor you at Travelers?

Oh, yes, absolutely. As I progressed in my career, Bill was there to provide coaching and feedback. If I wanted to bring in any big new clients, Bill would help in the process. Whether it was how to interact with clients or senior leaders, Bill helped me think how I could do things better. I can remember Bill even once providing advice on my business attire (I was cold in a meeting and used my sorority sweater to stay warm). We laugh about that particular example to this day.

Who were your childhood heroes?

One of them would be my grandma, Ann Lenz. We would cook together, and she would read to me every night. Grandma Lenz also made most of my clothes—she was a woman of many talents. I don’t believe she had an eighth-grade education, yet she had a successful career in finance. Because of her, I never thought of any limitations or challenges I couldn’t take on.

You were named one of the industry’s “Women to Watch” in 2016. What did that mean to you?

Any recognition is humbling. This one in particular came at a time when I was recently named the CEO of U.S. Commercial Risk & Health Solutions, and it gave me added motivation to do the best I could to deliver for the firm and for our clients.

As one of the rare women in a high-level executive position in this industry, do you feel an obligation to mentor young women in the industry?

Luckily, we’re becoming less rare, but yes, absolutely. I was fortunate enough to have both men and women help me with my career, and I feel it is my responsibility to pay it forward.

What is your advice regarding work/life balance?

First, give up the idea that there’s a separation between work and life. With today’s fast-paced, technology-enabled world, work and life are hard to separate. It’s how you manage this that gives you the work/life balance you deserve. I made a decision that I would strive to not be away from my family for work for more than two nights a week, and for the most part I have kept that promise. You need to make time for the people most important in your life, but you also need to take time for yourself, and that’s OK.

How would your co-workers describe your management style?

I would hope they would say my style is one of inclusion and collaboration. I’m most inspired when I am working with my fellow colleagues or clients on solving problems together.

If you could change one thing about the insurance industry, what would it be?

The next generation demands we embrace technology to speed up and improve the way we process everything, from policy issuance to invoicing to certificates. I would like to see the industry accelerate efforts to drive efficiency for colleagues and clients using new technologies.

Last question: What gives you your leader’s edge?

Surrounding myself with those who teach me and challenge me helps keep my edge sharp after 30-plus years in the industry.

Chris Hann Associate Editor Read More

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