What is the most powerful tool for women in insurance?

“It’s something a lot of women aren’t great at…”

What is the most powerful tool for women in insurance?

Diversity & Inclusion

By Gia Snape

The lack of representation of women in senior leadership roles remains one of the biggest hurdles in achieving gender parity in the insurance industry.

While many systemic challenges remain, one leader has encouraged women to use their most powerful tool: their voice.

“Something a lot of women aren't great at, but I think is essential, is advocating for yourself,” said Terri Mason-Benjamin (pictured), vice president, marketing and distribution at CNA Canada.

“Whether it’s highlighting our achievements or showcasing our leadership potential, many women don’t like to talk about themselves, but we have to push ourselves outside of their comfort zone and ensure the hard work we do is being recognized.”

Is the ‘silent dialogue’ of imposter syndrome hindering women?

Mason-Benjamin was reflecting on the state of women leaders ahead of the Women in Insurance Canada summit in Toronto on June 18, 2024.

Though she acknowledged progress in empowering women in the industry, she also lamented the imposter syndrome that many continue to grapple with.

“It's simply the way the stage is set,” Mason-Benjamin said of the lack of female representation in leadership roles.

"When we don't see ourselves represented in a certain space, it can start a subconscious dialogue around whether or not we could actually be there."

She explained that this silent dialogue can hinder career progression and opportunities for women, perpetuating a cycle of underrepresentation.

"It's just going to take time to change that," Mason-Benjamin said.

Proactive strategies for empowering women leaders

There is still a long way to go in dismantling ingrained stereotypes and biases that hinder women's advancement. At the Women in Insurance Canada summit, Mason-Benjamin and other insurance leaders are set to share their career journeys and best practices for unlocking success.   

Mason-Benjamin emphasized that women should be proactive about paving their own way to success. One way to do so is to seek mentorship from both male and female leaders.

"We need to bring allies into this dialogue as well," she said. "We need to make sure that we're getting noticed at a senior level by both male and female leaders and colleagues."

Networking is also a key strategy for women looking to propel their careers to the next level. By actively building connections and making their voices heard, women can increase their visibility and create new opportunities for growth.

"Taking advantage of networking opportunities is really important," said Mason-Benjamin. "Making sure that people kind of know who you are is really important."

Leaning into authentic leadership styles

Reflecting on her own career journey, Mason-Benjamin credited hard work, initiative, and a bit of good luck to her success in the insurance industry.

"Any time that I did face challenges along the way, no matter how big or small, I always fell back to these things," she shared.

Her biggest advice to fellow women pursuing leadership roles is to develop authenticity. But rather than shunning criticism, she said balancing personal values with external feedback can help women develop an authentic leadership style that resonates with their teams and colleagues.

"If we stick to who we truly are as people, it makes it easier and more natural to deliver from a leadership perspective," she said.

Ultimately, women can empower themselves and reclaim their power by speaking up confidently, actively seeking opportunities, and building strong relationships.

"We really have to push ourselves to make sure that we're putting in that extra effort to make sure our voices are heard," said Mason-Benjamin. "It's not easy, but if we want to make a change in society, we have to start with ourselves.”

Be part of the change and join the conversation on female empowerment. Register now to join the Women in Insurance Summit Canada on June 18, 2024 at The Carlu, Toronto.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!