Inspired Millennials Blog Series

Over the past few years, millennials have taken their place as the largest segment of the U.S. labor force, with more than 1 in 4 American workers born between 1981 and 1996. Today’s 20- and 30-somethings make great employees and are fiercely committed to their work.

Our blog series, Inspired Millennials, features young professionals in the insurance industry who discuss their ambitions and career trajectory, and provide advice to young adults considering careers in insurance. If you are a young professional in the insurance industry and would like to tell us about your experience, contact

Addressing Industry Employment Demands

March 8th, 2017

On March 8th, members of the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) took time to learn about Ohio’s unique workforce development coalition, the Insurance Industry Resource Council (IIRC). IIRC Co-Chair, President and CEO of Ohio Mutual Insurance Group Mark Russell and Sandra Harbrecht, President and CEO of Paul Werth Associates, discussed the IIRC and its mission at OII’s midyear meeting.

Mark and Sandy noted the importance of the insurance industry to Ohio’s economy. The insurance industry is a key economic driver in the state, which means that careers within the industry are stable and growing. The mission of the IIRC is to inform job seekers, career changers, veterans and students pursuing careers about the tremendous opportunities available in Ohio’s insurance industry. Filling the insurance pipeline with knowledgeable and skilled talent is crucial to fueling the industry and its growth.

See Mark and Sandy’s presentation and find out more about how the OII and the IIRC partner to build the nation’s most innovative talent pipeline.

A Limitless Career

February 11th, 2017

When you think of careers in insurance, what terms come to mind? For Carly Fortman it’s stable, rewarding, and limitless.     

Carly is the Learning and Development Manager at Central Mutual Insurance Company in Van Wert, Ohio, where she oversees the general training programs. To Carly, her job is extremely rewarding as she gets to help people learn. Every day, she witnesses her colleagues learning skills and earning designations that positively impact them personally and professionally.     


Like many, if not most, insurance companies, Central Insurance invests in its new hires. Carly’s team focuses on ensuring that every employee builds skills like communication and time management, has access to career planning guidance, and knows how to fine tune their technical skills. Carly’s colleagues came to Central from many different fields and with many different skills that they are successfully leveraging. In fact, she works directly with a former dental assistant and a former   Mathematics teacher. 

 So why stable, rewarding, and limitless? These three terms are often called the “insurance trifecta.” Here’s how Carly explains it:

  • Insurance offers stable, high-paying jobs. Insurance is a critical economic driver in Ohio, and is poised to grow even more. Central Insurance has been around and prospering since 1876, and is, in fact, one of the largest employers in Van Wert.
  • Careers in insurance are rewarding. The role of insurance is to protect people, their businesses, their property … their lives. Carly recalls a time when a tornado destroyed local homes, buildings and property. The community was devastated. But with insurance, the community had the funds to recover and rebuild their lives.
  • Carly’s career is proof of the last term – limitless. She is directly responsible for helping her colleagues learn and grow. Insurance employees have tremendous educational and career opportunities. 

With boundless opportunities, Carly is excited about her future in the industry and she intends to be a key player in its growth.

Trailblazers: Then and Now

January 4th, 2017

Hazel Siler was a trailblazer in insurance. Circa 1927, Hazel Siler set up her own insurance agency in Celina, Ohio (Mercer County). And as far as we know, she may have been the first female insurance agent in the state of Ohio.

Thanks to Tim Miesse, Department Chair at Owens Community College and who oversees the insurance program, we've come to know Hazel. She is Tim’s great aunt. Aunt Hay – which is what her family called her – provided financial protections for the community of Celina, meeting with businesspeople from her office in the First National Bank Building across from the Mercer County Courthouse.

As one of the first women in the insurance industry, we were curious as to how Aunt Hay grew her business. Tim shared that she did it through building relationships. Some of her first customers were recommended to her by her fiancé, George, who owned a local real estate business. Aunt Hay did not own a car, so she would walk to customers’ homes and farms to discuss their business needs and to collect premiums. Aunt Hay’s nephew and Zella’s son, Robert O. Miesse, became Aunt Hay’s business partner after he earned his license in the late 1950s. Together they operated the agency until Aunt Hay’s retirement in the 1970s. Robert then carried on as a sole proprietor until his own retirement in the 1980s. (Robert Miesse was Tim Miesse’s dad. The Miesse family’s legacy in insurance continues.)

Sisters Zella and Aunt Hay, Zella also worked at Aunt Hay’s insurance firm.

We celebrate Aunt Hay for blazing a path as well as women such as Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, who leads Ohio’s Department of Insurance. Taylor, a strong advocate for the IIRC and Insuring Ohio Futures, works to create an environment that is friendly to business and job growth in Ohio. Taylor joins many other female leaders who are growing the insurance industry today. It is the strong and bold women who came before them who paved these leaders’ paths. 

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, speaking to IIRC members

Today, insurance is marked by digital innovations, a deluge of data and a fast-moving world, which are transforming the business. Today’s trailblazers need to be just as customer-centric as Aunt Hay. They must evaluate how new technologies impact risk and premiums and transform the industry accordingly. Those in the insurance industry today work with customers in much the same way that Aunt Hay did – by taking the time to understand customers, their business, their risks and how best to protect them. Do you think that you’ve got what it takes to be a trailblazer? Explore to find out more.

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