Pioneering innovation and inclusion in insurance

Senior VP shares her experience

Pioneering innovation and inclusion in insurance

Diversity & Inclusion

By Mika Pangilinan

In the dynamic world of the insurance industry, where innovation and adaptability are key, individuals who break barriers and challenge traditional norms are often the ones who drive transformation.

This was the experience of Anita Swamy, senior vice president of operations at Medavie Blue Cross and winner of Insurance Business Canada’s Elite Women 2023.

Early in her career, Swamy found herself facing both ageism and sexism as she made her way through the male-dominated IT sector. Rather than succumbing to these challenges, she recounted how she used the experience to fuel her drive for success.

“I feel like having experienced that early in my career helped me to find my voice and establish my confidence in knowing the homework to do before you come to the table,” she told Insurance Business. “The biggest challenge is not letting those barriers get in the way of standing up for the right path forward.”

This resilience has become the cornerstone of her approach to leadership, especially as she worked to push against systemic barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion within the insurance industry.

Swamy recalled a time when she began asking questions about the industry’s approach to biological sex. This led to her bringing light to the challenges facing intersex individuals, as well as advocating for acknowledging all sexes as opposed to being limited to a male-female binary.

While met with initial resistance, Swamy’s efforts resulted in organizational policies that had a more inclusive approach.

“That decision could have gone either way, but part of being an effective leader is bringing something to the table for due consideration, and if it doesn’t proceed, that’s fine, too,” she said. “The critical thing is questioning the concept of ‘why not.’”

Learn more about Anita Swamy and the other winners of Insurance Business Canada’s Elite Women 2023 by reading the full report.

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