Are you a confident woman working in insurance?

Confidence can be a double-edged sword in the insurance world, says one prominent exec

Are you a confident woman working in insurance?

Insurance News


Corie Gist, account manager with HUB International, entered the insurance industry in 2011 as a receptionist. She says female colleagues have been her strength and that confidence is a double-edged sword in a male-dominated industry.

From the human resources executive who initially introduced Gist to, and encouraged her in the insurance industry, through to her team today, including her direct boss, Gist’s career has been dominated by women, some of whom have acted as her mentors.

However, she has not escaped the effects of a lingering tradition of male dominance in the industry.

Speaking to Insurance Business, Gist says she had to work extra hard to win promotions, and her natural confidence – usually a prized virtue in the worlds of finance and business – proved a double-edged sword. She said: “You have to stand up for yourself, but I think sometimes as a woman I’m seen as arrogant. … when I don’t know something as well, I always ask. But that confidence has been a hindrance sometimes.”

It was professional women’s groups, such as San Diego’s Women’s Wisdom, and her female mentors who rooted for Gist and pushed her forward in her career, she says.

But despite her confidence, there came a point when Gist started to question her place in the industry, and even her career choices.

It was at this point, in 2014, that she won the National Alliance customer service representative award for California. She said the recognition cast away her lowly beginnings in the industry and re-branded her as an insurance professional. It gave her the confidence to launch into her new position as an account manager the following year, and thus to continue to grow in the career she enjoyed.

Benefitting from technological and cultural advances in the industry, Gist now benefits from being a full time remote worker. She says it has allowed her more time with her two children, who have also benefitted from seeing her at work rather than just hearing her talk about it.

Looking back, she says she would like to have spent more time with her children as they were growing up, and says that were she to advise her younger self, she would recommend against rushing too much, to have faith that life would unfold as it should, and to be okay with making mistakes.

Gist, who practices both Taekwondo and Jujitsu, has a philosophical motto: “Perspective makes all the difference.”

“If you come to the office on Monday and you [find] nothing but problems, you can see it as that, or you could see it as an opportunity to help people. Yes, we all have work – it’s what we’re here for – but it’s why we’re doing it [that makes] the biggest difference to me,” she says.

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