“Creating your brand allows you to have a unique approach to who you are, how you view your work and your life, and balance between the two,” said Lisa Gentile (pictured), vice president of umbrella mid-market, at Liberty Mutual.
“When I started in the corporate world in the early 90s, it was male-dominated, as you would expect. But I never apologized for leaving at 4:30 [in the afternoon] every day because I had things I wanted to do outside of work,” he recalled. “I decided that I should take this role because it would define who I was in the industry and how I was perceived, even if it meant giving up or giving up other jobs that would require me to be available 24/7.
Gentile, who has over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, is set to talk about the importance of personal branding. Women in Insurance Conference in San Francisco. In sharing his story with Insurance Business, he said he was determined to push back against the nine-to-five mentality throughout his career.
“I wanted to go to work but I’m going to quit first. That involved going back and talking to my boss, saying, ‘You can be confident that I’m going to do the job. Women need to be unapologetic about what we prioritize and how work is related to,'” Gentile said.
But the truth sometimes comes with sharp edges that must be softened with gentle courage, Wakunja added: “Being unforgiving is important, obviously with wisdom and grace. But it’s important to be true to who you are because your career is very long and it will take many steps left and right. Sometimes, you may be in a position where you feel like you are going backwards. But [your brand] it must always be grounded in your truth.”
The international work has led him to go through various insurance positions, from underwriting, to reimbursement, to consulting and senior management. Throughout his journey, he said it was important to be able to set boundaries around work life. But he also admitted that it was not an easy subject to deal with.
Today, as remote work and Zoom business meetings become the norm rather than the norm, employees can feel like the lines between work and personal time are blurring. “As we grew more globally, we found people from all over the world on this phone. It’s not easy to get away from it. Someone somewhere is making sacrifices. It all depends on choosing when you think it’s important to set the limit. But then you have to show flexibility sometimes,” advised Gentile.
The insurance industry has come a long way in improving work-life balance, and Amindu said it makes uncomfortable conversations about the basics easier for men and women to discuss. “I know three or four of my friends at Liberty Mutual who went on paternity leave recently. This was unheard of when I was coming into the group,” he said.
Aminu’s confidence in guarding his borders helped him gain respect from his fellow tribesmen. According to an insurance expert, brand is “what people think they’re going to find when they find you.”
“It is important to know what those things are and the values that are important to you because they will show clearly,” Wakunja added.
“Women in the insurance industry, especially those in higher positions, are still trying to find our way. But we don’t all have to come from the same cookie cutter picture [of a leader]. We can all have different qualities that also give us strength.”
Want to join the discussion on personal information and other insurance company issues? Join the Women in Insurance Conference in San Francisco on October 4th at the JW Marriott Union Square. The in-person conference returns this year to unite women leaders in a day of empowerment and celebration.
Learn more about the conference and how to register sanfrancisco.ibwomenininsurance.com.