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Our Stories: A Celebration

March 6th, 2018

Yesterday, we celebrated the story of the Insurance Industry Resource Council and Ohio's insurance industry at the OII/IIRC/Ohio Department of Insurance State of the State event at Westerville Public Library. Thank you to ODI Director Jillian Froment, Mark Russell with Ohio Mutual Insurance Group, Kathy Gentil with Westfield Insurance, Erin Hamm with Nationwide, Jason Terrell with The Institutes and OII president, Dean Fadel, for sharing your stories about the many great opportunities in insurance!

Here are some highlights:

“This is an industry that touches our community and shapes our lives. . . . It is an amazingly close network of friends and competitors who actively donate their time and money to our communities.”

—Jillian Froment, Director, Ohio Department of Insurance

“We promote what insurance careers actually are – stable, rewarding, limitless and meaningful. . . .  Insurance is critical to Ohio’s economy. We, as a coalition, have accepted the future of Ohio and the insurance industry as our mission. We are laying the groundwork for success. And it’s working.”

—Mark Russell, President and CEO of Ohio Mutual Insurance Group and IIRC Co-Chair


We also heard the inspiring stories of Kathy Gentil and Erin Hamm.

Kathy, a graduate of the Columbus State Community College insurance certificate program, had been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years. After learning about and earning her insurance certificate, she joined the industry at Westfield Insurance and continues to invest in her career with continuing studies.

Erin Hamm is a graduate of Ohio Dominican University. Erin now works at Nationwide Insurance as a Senior Business Analyst. As her career accelerates, she stays involved in the Gamma Iota Sigma chapter to mentor and guide students as they begin their careers in this great industry.

Both women are shining examples of the limitless opportunities and career growth in Ohio’s insurance industry.

Reaching Future Insurance Professionals Virtually

February 26th, 2018

We were honored to collaborate with Gamma Iota Sigma, Insurance Careers Movement, MyPath, and the International Association of Black Actuaries on the Pipeline Virtual Career Fair on February 13, 2018. 

The IIRC hosted our own virtual booth from the comfort of our office desks to answer students’ questions about career paths and to provide advice about interviewing and pursuing great careers in insurance. Without having to lug our handouts and laptops to a facility and roll out our standup poster, we connected with students across the nation and throughout Ohio.

During the five-hour event, 717 students participated in about 1,400 interviews! That’s 717 students taking the critical step of exploring careers and companies, meeting new people and building their network, and gathering the data and information they need to land great careers in insurance!

As a partner for the Pipeline Virtual Career Fair, Insuring Ohio Futures was able to increase awareness of the coalition among college students by providing online materials and resources, answering student inquiries, and continuing our presence as a GIS event participant. Many IIRC members also hosted booths, including Hylant, Liberty Mutual Insurance, MAPFRE Insurance, Nationwide, Ohio Mutual Insurance Group and Westfield Insurance.

The Pipeline event served as a successful pilot for potential Insuring Ohio Futures virtual events in the future. The first Insuring Ohio Futures Career Fair (in-person) will be held on March 23 at Franklin University from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Students from Ohio’s 10 insurance education programs will have the opportunity to connect and engage with many of the IIRC’s insurance company partners.

Read more at: Gamma Iota Sigma Takes Recruiting into the Digital Space


Big things in the works for the IIRC!

The IIRC will be speaking at the Westerville Public Library as part of Governor Kasich’s final State of the State address events on March 6. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., IIRC members will speak to the history and accomplishments of the industry coalition since its inception in 2012.

At the end of February, the IIRC will begin its Insurance Innovators campaign: a video series featuring the many innovators in Ohio’s insurance industry. Don’t forget to check in to catch the first video with State Auto Insurance Companies CEO and President, Mike LaRocco!

Advice from the C-Suite

February 10th, 2018

Careers are built on lessons learned and good advice from those you trust. To celebrate Insurance Careers Month, we asked several people WE trust what lessons they have learned and what special advice they received to be successful. Here’s what they said.

Susan Haack, (retired) Senior Vice President, Mergers and Acquisitions, Motorists Insurance Group

Lessons Learned

"Keep your eyes open and notice the big picture; don’t get too focused on what you’re doing. This requires building relationships and being curious. For example, my career path was not normal. I started as an accountant, then management, then HR, then IT, and then executive positions. I found that the keys to my progression were knowing what was going on around me and being curious about how I fit in."


Professional advice

"I value the advice I got as part of Dave’s (Dave Kaufman, Motorists CEO) vision process, which taught me that even when I thought I was working hard I should always ask the question, ‘Am I working hard on the right things?’ It challenged my thinking about what were the right things. As far as advice I’d give to others, I would say stop what you’re doing and build a team and focus on the relationships. It’s important to get to know each other, because that opens dialogue about your challenges and the sharing and understanding of diverse perspectives." 


Dave Kaufman, CEO, Motorists Insurance Group

Lessons Learned

"One of my most important lessons was the need to be a continuous learner and to own my own professional development and career. You can’t delegate your future to a company or an organization. It’s up to each person to increase his or her own street value. That ensures you will have more opportunities than you would otherwise. I also have learned that natural curiosity is a tremendous asset; it can lead you to places that you never would have imagined."

Professional advice

"Some of the most important advice I got was from Bob Buford, former chairman and CEO of the Halftime Institute. He challenged me to go past success to significance – meaning making a contribution that outlasts me. He encouraged me to look at work-life balance as integrated and to strive for significance in everything. I learned that success isn’t the end; it’s a pathway to significance."


Chris Paterakis, Group Human Resource Leader, Westfield Insurance

Lessons Learned

"We don’t have a lot of traditional career paths like we used to, so one of the important lessons I’ve learned is that it’s not where you start, it’s where you end up. I’ve learned you can’t pigeonhole yourself into one track and that you have to look forward. Also, you have to explore on your own, understand different positions, talk to people and gather your own information and data. Finally, I’ve learned that you have to take risks in your career in order to gain broader perspectives and to build relationships."


Professional Advice

"I’ve benefited from personal coaches insisting that I be receptive to brutally honest feedback and let people put things on the table so I have a better understanding of myself. This helps accelerate the path to improvement. They’ve also encouraged me to form a ‘personal board of directors’ to help guide me down the right path. I have six or seven people who are close to me and who know they can be brutally honest. Creating a personal board has to be intentional, it doesn’t just happen. I will move people on and off the board, especially if I find someone with a valuable perspective."


Mark Russell, President and CEO, Ohio Mutual Insurance Company

Lessons Learned

"Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned in my years in the profession is that company culture is the biggest factor in whether a company succeeds or stagnates. A big part of building a culture conducive to success is building a great team that is aligned to a cause."

Professional Advice

"The best advice I’ve received is to invest the most time in attracting and entertaining the best talent that fits your culture. You can tell who is pulling for the team. You want a team that works together."


Rocky Parker, Chief Talent Acquisition Officer, Nationwide Insurance

Lessons Learned

"One real lesson for me was the importance of giving and expecting loyalty as a way to build strong relationships. Loyalty is both organizational and personal. You can’t expect loyalty from others if you aren’t willing to demonstrate loyalty to them. It must go both ways."


Professional Advice

"I’ve received a lot of good advice, but the best was to not be afraid to take a career risk. For example, don’t be afraid to move geographies, or move to different companies and industries, or to move up, down or across – this enriches your career and your experience and knowledge."