The number of women on the boards of insurance companies is rising, according to a recent study, and in the last month alone, there were severable notable movements of women into Canadian insurers’ upper echelons.
But the idea that women need to behave ‘like men’ to be strong leaders still persists and can be damaging not only to female leaders in the workforce, but also to their workplaces, said Victoria Masucci, partner and chief operating officer at Oracle RMS Insurance, who is speaking at the upcoming Women in Insurance event.
“In trying to mimic male leadership, women sell themselves short and deprive their workplaces of a certain set of inherent skills as well as the advantages and benefits that these skills bring,” she explained.
“It is said that women are transformational leaders while men are transactional leaders. Each style has its advantages and the ultimate goal of any individual is to use their strengths for the benefit of the organization. In general, however, women tend to prefer flat organizational structures, establish themselves as role models and are well suited in order to gain the trust and confidence of others. This style of leadership can create and promote synergistic teams that not only work well together but can that adapt easily in order to keep pace with changing business models.”
Attitudes towards the role of female leaders in the industry have started to change since Masucci was a CSR at a small brokerage years ago.
“Women in our industry are confident in their abilities and want to take things to the next level, and the industry has definitely taken notice,” she said. “Like anything of worth, this has been hard fought for and has taken time to accomplish. However, I feel that the door is now wide open for those who wish to go through it.”
The major difficulties facing aspiring female leaders aren’t that different from those that male leaders encounter. The disruptive changes in the industry mean everyone at the top needs to keep up and stay ahead of the curve, according to the COO.
“In some cases, aspiring female leaders may still encounter situations where they feel their gender may be somewhat of an obstacle, however, in my opinion, these are becoming less evident and easier to surmount,” said Masucci.
She added that the insurance industry is ahead of other male-dominated fields when it comes to recognizing the value of female leadership.
“This can easily be evidenced in the growing number of women in the insurance industry currently occupying positions previously dominated by their male counterparts,” she said. “Leadership opportunities are there for those that wish to pursue them and with the disrupters that are currently surrounding us, this holds true for men and women alike.”
Victoria Masucci will be speaking in a panel discussion about leadership for women in the industry at the Women in Insurance event being held on May 15, 2018. Click here for more details and to register.