Prime Insurance Company Recognizes Women in Leadership
In the book How Women Rise, by leadership expert Sally Helgesen, she mentions that women are, in general, more forthcoming with the praise and recognition of their team members, a quality that makes them excellent leaders. But she also mentioned the darker side of that praise. Quick to recognize coworkers, she says, women don’t always recognize themselves, and that can cause them to become overlooked during the next round of promotions.
Prime Insurance Company has solved for such a challenge by making recognition and flexibility a central part of their ethos. So too do Jaime Gustafson, SVP of underwriting, and Lauren Benson, VP of regulatory affairs. These two women shun traditional hierarchical structures and opt instead for a more central or horizontal approach―with healthy amounts of feedback along the way.
“I’m a leader, but my main service is to pave a path for the ones around me,” says Ms. Gustafson. “It’s about the people we’re serving. For women its less ego-driven, it doesn’t matter if it’s Lauren’s name being mentioned or my name being mentioned, it’s about creating a team. I’m an assertive person so I’m pretty open about where I think my strong suits are, but I also have to mention that I couldn’t do what I do without the 30 people I’m leading.”
Ms. Benson agrees. “My team is smaller so I can raise up my team members fairly easily,” she says. “My team members are friends, we talk daily about our personal lives, and that’s a super important way to connect with a team and understand what they are going through. We’ve had conflicts, of course, but it’s important to recognize the humanity. That someone might be having a hard day, or a hard year, and leaders have to balance that with the task at hand.”
Of course, both women believe that the more support leadership teams give to women in their organization, the more those women are able to step up into leadership roles themselves. “I think it’s a big struggle, as a woman, to have a full-time career and a full-time family,” Ms. Benson says. “But what I’ve loved about my position at Prime is that I’ve been able to grow my family, and grow my career at the same time. I’ve been able to have two children, and to work from home when necessary, so for me personally, I find extreme support being a woman at work. And that is very rare at companies.”
“People make comments about strong women,” says Ms. Gustafson. “And I appreciate strong women. But I don’t feel I’m being treated specially as a woman. Our company just celebrates everyone as a person. It’s simple and basic, but it’s rare.”
Because these women are empowered by the company they work for, and given the flexibility, they need to succeed, these women have become powerful leaders for their organization. And in so doing, they will rise up, not only themselves but all of those working for them. And that is the true definition of a leader.
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Rick J. Lindsey hails from Salt Lake City, Utah. He began working in the mailroom of his father’s Salt Lake City insurance firm, getting his introduction to the business that became his lifelong career. Lindsey quickly rose through the ranks while working in nearly every imaginable insurance industry job. As an entrepreneur, specialty lines underwriter, claims specialist, risk manager, and a licensed surplus lines broker, Rick Lindsey is highly skilled in all levels of leadership and execution. As he progressed on his career path, Rick discovered an urgent need for insurers willing to write policies for high-risk individuals and businesses. He was frequently frustrated that he could not provide the liability protection these entities desperately needed to safeguard their assets. He also formed the belief that insurance companies acted too quickly to settle frivolous claims. Lindsey decided to try a different approach. He started an insurance company and became the newly formed entity’s CEO. This opportunity has enabled Rick to fill a void in the market and provide a valuable service to businesses, individuals, and insurance agents who write high-risk business. Prime Insurance also specializes in helping individuals and businesses who live a lifestyle or participate in activities that make them difficult for traditional carriers to insure. If you’ve been denied, non-renewed, or canceled coverage, don’t give up quite yet. Chances are Prime Insurance can help.