Three Takeaways from INN’s Women in Insurance Leadership Forum

Written by Melis Carroll on November 1st, 2016

Insurance Networking News’ Women in Insurance Leadership Forum is consistently one of the highlights of my professional calendar, and this year was no exception.

There’s a reason Adaptik has sponsored the event five years running … and not just because it’s hosted in Chicago, one of the greatest cities in the world. WIL is empowering for attendees, and definitely plays a role in driving the industry forward. It’s impossible not to come back to work energized, with renewed goals for a successful year.

If you weren’t able to attend this year, put WIL on your calendar for 2017; it’s absolutely worth it. In the meantime, here are three professional takeaways from this year’s event.

1. Ask for What You Want

This is a pretty simple takeaway. Your supervisor will never know what you need from him or her if you don’t ask for what you want. Make a list, check it twice and then set an appointment to talk to your supervisor about your career goals and what you need from him or her to get there.

“Ask for what you want” has become my motto. I really do take this one to heart, and over the last few years have worked with my supervisor to get the most out of my job. The worst thing that can happen is that your boss says “no.” Even then, there’s a positive result in that you and your supervisor are on the same page. He or she knows what you want and need, even if they’re not in a position to provide it immediately.

When you don’t ask for what you want, you’re assuming that your supervisor has your best interest at heart. And maybe they do. Problem is, they most likely they don’t know exactly what it is you want or need, so always be upfront. The upside is huge, and the downside is almost nonexistent.

2. Get a Sponsor

Whether they’re inside or outside your organization, it’s critical that someone have your back. Someone who will be your character witness. Someone who is willing to go to bat for you. Someone to turn to when the going gets tough.

Early on, I was fortunate to have someone to help me navigate my career path. She was instrumental in getting me to the point I am today. Her help and guidance empowered me to be the best version of myself, and she is the reason I have the job I have today. She recommended me for this role and I am forever grateful to her. Whoever that is for you, find him or her. You won’t regret it.

3. Be a Sponsor

Are you in a position to make a difference? If the answer is yes, be that sponsor for someone. Help them navigate their career. Empower them to rise up and meet the challenges of tomorrow. Affect change, and the positives will come back around.

Just like my sponsor was instrumental in my career, I hope to make a difference in someone else’s career. It’s a way of paying it forward to make sure we are filling the leadership pipeline with smart, hardworking, talented women.

This post is short and sweet. The actual event is much more intense (in a good way) and informative. I hope that you consider attending, or sending the women in your department to this event next year. To find out more about the Women in Insurance Leadership Forum, visit