Women in Leadership: Finding Your Path as A Female Leader in the Insurance Industry

November 29, 2021 0 Comments

Historically, women across both Insurance and Construction industries have been underrepresented. In a recent sit down with Heather O'Neill, Assistant Vice President of Construction Specialty Products at Arch Insurance Group, we gain insights on supporting women in finding their path as a leaders in their industry. Heather's three takeaways that can help anyone find a path as a leader, especially women, include: 

1. Find Trusted Mentors 

2. Don't Be Afraid to Take Risks 

3. Call Someone You Trust and Ask them for Honest Feedback 

Find Trusted Mentors

Finding a trustworthy mentor can help with both professional and personal growth. As Heather states, the best mentors are those "who will give you open and honest feedback and who also have a vested interest in you and your development." When seeking a mentor, Heather recommends searching for those who want to see you succeed and give you the advice to help you reach your goals. Trusted mentors are crucial to your professional development because they will point out your strengths and weaknesses, guiding you to effectively utilize these characteristics. Once you find your mentor, formulate your goals and look for 360 feedback, all in order to help you feel both energized and challenged. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

Actor Will Smith once said that "the best things in life are on the other side of fear." With risk comes fear, and with fear comes restraint. Many professionals hesitate to take risks in their work environment because they fear failure. However, it may just be that taking a calculated risk that ultimately leads to being noticed or obtaining that promotion for career advancement. In our interview with Heather, she states that, "When you have some purpose, it takes away that fear of failure and allows you to learn, which is what life is about." So, do not be afraid to create opportunities for visibility as it can be a driving factor towards a leadership position. Even if you are fearful, advocating for yourself and participating in areas where you think you will add value will only help further your career. 

Call Someone You Trust and Ask them for Honest Feedback

 As you find those trusted mentors, consider calling someone and ask them for honest feedback. Heather advises that, "It's important to have a safe space to receive not only positive feedback but those opportunities for improvement feedback." There are many feedback channels, and consider which would be most effective, whether you are the seeker, receiver, or giver. These include[1]:

• Attributed vs. anonymous 

• 1-on-1 vs. 360 feedback

• Individual vs. group

• Face-to-face vs. written

On the podcast, Heather shares her experience working with strong leaders that have shaped her professional journey. Most notable was someone close to home- her maternal Grandfather. "No one can make you think, act, feel, or believe in any way you don't want to" was a powerful phrase that continues to resonate and drive Heather today. It's the ultimate personal responsibility mantra. Heather shares, "It's so empowering to take responsibility for your choices because it means you can make different ones."


To learn more about Heather's career journey and her takeaways aforementioned, listen to our podcast with, Growing Into a Leadership Role as a Female in the Insurance Industry. 

[1] https://www.quantumworkplace.com/future-of-work/10-tips-for-building-a-feedback-culture


Connect with Heather on LinkedIn
Follow Arch Insurance on LinkedIn
Visit Arch Insurance on the web here 
Email Heather at honeill@archinsurance.com
Connect with Valerie Bono
Connect with Peter Duggan