Conferences tend to focus on industries, topics, or specific technologies. In the day and age where diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a main focus, many conferences will now have dedicated sessions to “women” in that space or “minorities” in that space in a small effort to nod to DEI.
Insurance and technology have long been male dominated industries, but over time women’s roles, contributions, and visibility have grown and are continuing to do so. A colleague refers to new commitment to honoring women’s voices as finding the microphone. I would like to expand on that and say it’s equally as important to amplify the microphone for women. In order to achieve true diversity and equity, it’s not enough for women to get the microphone, but the volume must be increased for all to hear. I see more and more men in these industries being the ones to serve as wing men to these women because they see the importance of the voices that have been quiet for so long. Many times it’s fathers of daughters that come alongside and say, “How can I support and make things better?”. Perhaps they see the struggles that their wives are having and take a more active role to amplify the microphones of the women in their own organizations.
Recently, I had an opportunity to speak at the Women in Insurance Technology Conference, which is a conference that is geared towards amplifying female voices and connecting female professionals across the insurance industry. For so long conferences have been heavily male focused and attended, but AltaWorld saw a specific need to create a time and space for women to come together. And for this, I am grateful.
This conference originated virtually during the pandemic, and 2022 was the first time that women from around North America came together to celebrate their accomplishments, be encouraged, and empowered in person.
The original topic that I was asked to speak on with additional panelists was Digital Transformation through Connected Insurance–a useful topic to be sure; however once the panelists began interacting with our fellow female colleagues, we soon realized that our audience was craving something different.
The great resignation has hit the female population especially hard in the insurance and technology industries, often at a greater rate than with men. For the last twenty years women have been amplifying their microphones and breaking through glass ceilings only to now have the great resignation set us backward, in some cases by over a decade.
This group of women that I was surrounded by was part of the percentage that had survived the great resignation through one means or another, which only made us more desperate for camaraderie; dehydrated from lack of coming together in person. We have seen the world come out of their quarantines from the pandemic, and there is power in people coming together. People of all ages having that physical connection again brings about a surge of positive energy that our world so desperately needs now more than ever.
Our panelists came together and decided that this audience didn’t need the original topic of Connected Insurance, they needed to become part of the conversation, and participate in the dialogue. The topic needed to pivot and relaunch as a “Women Connecting in Insurance Technology,” and, friends, we leaned in and did just that.
We fully embraced our GSD Factor attributes of “Be Confident” and “Be Present,” and it was awesome. The energy in the room was dynamic. Our audience became participants. We shared stories of success and failures, stories that drove us to tears and laughter and stories that inspire and encourage. We were not alone in our wins and losses. Every woman in that room walked away knowing that she was not alone. Every man in that room that had come to support their female colleagues left with a renewed sense of supporting the sisterhood. ~ Misha Bleymaier-Farrish
May we know, as women, that we can bring about change and get back to breaking those glass ceilings. May we know that we can trail-blaze for the next generation of female leaders that need to take the microphone, not just in the insurance and technology spaces, but in all industries. May our male colleagues know that as they support and wing-man their fellow colleagues that they are doing it for their friends, wives, sisters, and daughters. We all do better together. Let’s lean in. Let’s find those microphones for the under-voiced. Let’s amplify the messages across the industries. May we know that we are not alone. May we know that we can come back together in person because when we do, the positive energy that takes hold is dynamic.
Finally, when the moment calls for a pivot, a topic change, a course correction, let’s lean in, friends. If we had plowed forward with the original topic, we would have all been fine, but our cups of empowerment and encouragement would not have been overflowing.
A big thank you to Altaworld, my fellow panelists, and the participants for embracing the pivot.
- Check out the GSD Factor Podcast Panel on Women in Insurance Tech
“The capacity to always be learning, ever the students of life. To walk in humility knowing that you are not the smartest person in the room, but knowing how to mobilize the right team and people ensures that you are open to the fullness of life.”
“The power and confidence in knowing your true authentic self, knowing your voice, and speaking your truth so that you are heard. You lead by example with assertiveness, giving you a sense of empowerment and confidence.”
Importance of Reflection
Reflection. Retrospect. As someone whose life motto is GSD – “Get sh*t done,” these words and practices are things that I forget to do as often as I should.
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