Women Leaders in Insurance in the USA |
Elite Women 

Exemplary role models

Insurance Business America’s 2024 Elite Women have all carved a unique pathway to success, whether they are partnership strategists, marketing executives, brokers, or underwriters.

The standard was impressive and the final 62 women were determined by the IBA team, along with an esteemed panel of judges. 

“Based on the number of nominations, there are a lot of incredible women in this industry. There's some tough competition,” says Charmine Davis, senior vice president at Marsh who was one of the judges.

“What stood out for me were candidates that provided details about their backgrounds, particularly their engagement towards diversity, inclusion, and mentorship,” adds fellow judge Jose Aponte, vice president at Alliant Insurance Services.

Shevawn Barder – AM Specialty Insurance Company (ASIC)
Executing corporate growth

The CEO of the Dallas-based firm, which previously operated as AM RE Syndicate, successfully led the company through its first year of operations. Barder spearheaded the transition that involved onboarding a diverse group of talent professionals across underwriting, legal, financial analytics, and software engineering. 

Using her sharp business acumen, Barder led ASIC to achieve: 

  • an AM Best Financial Strength A-minus rating

  • over $100 million in GWP 

“I would say what most companies would achieve in two years, we’ve achieved in one year,” reflects Barder. “Growth is incredibly important to us as a company and trying to grow intelligently, and with quality, without sacrificing our results is key.”

Having built out AM RE Syndicate to a $650-million business, Barder is determined to achieve similar success.  

“I am consultative, but I’m also very decisive,” reflects the CEO. “Once I set my mind to something, I really hone in and focus on achieving that. I’m not afraid to make a decision and execute it.”

As an active member of Dress for Success, a national charity focused on helping unemployed women achieve economic independence, Barder is also determined to use her influence to uplift aspiring professionals through the power of wardrobe. 

In collaboration with the charity, Barder has hosted clothing drives at her home and delivered informative talks about her career experience. In recognition of her efforts, Barder was presented with an honoree nomination from the charity in 2022. 

Emphasizing the need to encourage more women to enter the insurance space, Barder says, “The industry is great for women, but I think it’s often undersold. Recognizing top-performing women brings diverse perspectives to the forefront, which I think is really needed.”

Shevawn Barder
“My greatest strength is to really look outside the box, make decisive moves, and focus on supporting our company and team”
Shevawn BarderAM Specialty Insurance Company (ASIC) 

Kathryn Crowley – Alliant Insurance Services 
Empowering female leaders

Ensuring there are strong female leaders and role models in insurance is a priority for the vice president of Management and Professional Solutions (MPS).

Since joining Alliant in 2022, Crowley has been instrumental in:

  • Serving as Alliant’s senior management liability broker for its healthcare clients

  • Expanding Alliant’s presence in the Southeast

  • Monitoring market trends and sharing updates with clients

“I feel like there was a time when women were overlooked. Now we’re starting to see more female recognition and empowerment in the industry, which is great,” says Crowley.

In her previous role at AIG, Crowley helped to launch a multinational platform and led a team of private and non-profit underwriters.

Using her industry expertise, Crowley provides coaching and training to junior brokers at Alliant with a focus on healthcare-related accounts. 

As a member of The Bridge, a national not-for-profit networking organization supporting the development of female talent in insurance, Crowley’s focus on mentorship extends beyond her own organization. 

“I think it’s great to have a mentor and maybe you don’t have a female that you can lean on, but having someone within the industry that you can confide in and use as a resource is a really beneficial tool that The Bridge has provided the industry," she says.

In addition to attending leadership sessions through The Bridge to drive her own professional development, Crowley will soon join the organization’s mentorship program to be a guide for other young inspiring insurance professionals. 

This ethos was lauded by judge Davis who adds, “What stood out to me are those who invested in people around them for the sustainability of women in the profession. There were some unique examples, whether it was creating platforms that allow for engagement or to support, lead, and develop other women.”

Kathryn Crowley
“I approach my career with accountability, responsiveness, and solutions. I’m always trying to find solutions for our clients and help those I work with. It’s really about working as a team”
Kathryn CrowleyAlliant Insurance Services 

Angela Taylor – TruStage
Real-life advocate

For the partnership strategist, being an insurance leader means participating in advocacy work that extends beyond the industry.

Over the past 10 years, Taylor has been dedicated to causes supporting those who are incarcerated, including:

  • leading a support group for grieving mothers at Iowa Correctional Institution for Women

  • government organization AmeriCorps, where she has been an active participant in re-entry initiatives

“It’s about how we can adjust people when they’re leaving prison or leaving jail to get jobs, health insurance, education, those kinds of opportunities,” says Taylor. 

Specializing in life insurance at TruStage, she has:

  • built new relationships with insurance distributors

  • contributed to a team driving over $100 million of annual revenue 


“As I reflect on my current role, I have the opportunity to leverage my creativity and imagination into my work. As partner strategist at TruStage, I’m engaged in the exploration and cultivation of new alliances within the insurance sector that are congruent with our business strategy and values.”

While Taylor notes that her charitable work is “night and day from what I do,” she adds, “In addition to having professional goals, you need to think of ways that you can give back.”

Echoing this sentiment, judge Aponte says, “A lot of candidates on the list have a demonstrated background of success, but what stands out to me is community or charity work – things that go above and beyond day-to-day professional responsibilities.”

Understanding the role mentorship played in her own career, Taylor strives to use her expertise to promote financial education.

“I believe in education, especially educating marginalized communities about life insurance and things they haven’t always been able to have, that’s very important to me.”

Angela Taylor
“It’s okay to be fearless. I know who I am, and I know my role. It’s okay to be courageous as a woman and speak out”
Angela TaylorTruStage 


Alice Phillips Topping – Ryan Specialty
Building innovative ad campaigns

The chief marketing and communications offer is adept at cutting through the noise. An example of such was Phillips Topping increasing and amplifying the brand awareness following Ryan Specialty’s initial public offering in July 2021, wherein the marketing officer spearheaded several inventive ad campaigns.

As a result of her efforts, in 2023, Phillips Topping and her team were recognized by the Insurance Marketing and Communications Association (IMCA): 

  • Gold award for Magazine or Newspaper Advertisement – a print ad demonstrating how Ryan Specialty “rethinks” and “redefines” insurance

  • Silver award for Promotional Email – a digital campaign with gift boxes revealing information about workers’ compensation rights

  • Silver award for Most Out-of-the-Box Idea – a holiday-themed sing-along video promoting Ryan Specialty’s services

“Marketing is a very busy space. You have to define your target and make sure that the message and visual are eye-catching enough. The challenge is to keep it fresh and keep it new. There’s so much out there. You have to think about how to break through,” explains Phillips Topping. 

With over 17 years of experience in corporate communications and a degree in marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Phillips Topping is not only a leader but an expert at captivating audiences – and she recognizes when more exposure is required. 

Highlighting the importance of IBA’s Elite Women award for someone in her role, she says, “It’s imperative to shine a light on insurance professionals who aren’t necessarily on the frontline. There are so many different aspects of the industry. It’s nice to show all the great work that’s being done behind the scenes.”

Claire Hunter
“I put a lot of effort into my management role, and making sure that people are empowered and feel that they’re valued and enjoy what they’re doing”
Alice Phillips ToppingRyan Specialty 



Women Leaders in Insurance in the USA |
Elite Women

  • Alanna Schultz
    Senior Vice President, Head of Sales & Client Management
    Swiss Re
  • Alexandra (Sasha) Korol
    Senior Director, Product Management
    formerly of Duck Creek Technologies
  • Allison Chan
    Senior Vice President/Senior Underwriter
    Munich Re
  • Allison Nixon
    Producer and Principal
    Roach Howard Smith and Barton
  • Amaly Homer
    Inclusion, Diversity & Belonging Leader
  • Andrea Goodkin
    Executive Vice President, Benefits Consultant
    HUB International
  • Angela Burns
    Chief Product Manager
    Cincinnati Insurance Companies
  • Angela Schaefer
    Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
    Safety National
  • Beatrice Dela Peña
    Senior Director of Spanish Operations
  • Carol Stark
    North American Renewable Energy Practice Leader
  • Cheryl Rosario
    Head of D&I and Corporate Social Responsibility
    Munich Re
  • Danielle Larsen
    Vice President, Head of North America Underwriting Services
    Everest Insurance
  • Denise Campbell
    Senior Vice President – Client Executive
  • Doriana Gamboa
    Managing Director
    Fitch Ratings
  • Emily Briceno
    Operations Manager
    Argos Insurance Services
  • Fradel Barber
    Founder and CEO
    The World Changers
  • Gwen Norman-Churchill
    Director of Claims
    Sedgwick Claims Management
  • Jennifer Hammersley
    Senior Vice President, Head of Financial Lines Underwriting
    Swiss Re
  • Jessica Marshall
    Chief Marketing Officer
    CRC Group
  • Joi Blume
    Second Vice President, Underwriting Executive
    GenStar Insurance Services
  • Kim Gore
    North American Hospitality Practice Leader and Chief Sales Officer
    HUB International
  • Kristen Vicino
    Head of Service
    PURE Insurance
  • Laila Brabander
    Senior Vice President, North America Personal Risk Services Claim Lead
  • Libby Soo Hoo
    Chief Executive Officer
    Sterling Insurance Group
  • Linde Hotchkiss
    EVP, Regional Managing Director, Southwest
  • Liz Kramer
    President - E&S Lines
    Munich Re Specialty Insurance
  • Lyndsey Christofer
    EVP, Construction Industry Practice Leader, Real Estate & Hospitality Industry Practice Leader
  • Mary-Beth “MB” Hahn
    Complex Risk Practice Leader
    HUB International
  • Maura McGuigan
    Managing Director, Credit Rating Criteria
    AM Best
  • Melissa Butler
    Assistant Vice President
    The Cincinnati Insurance Company
  • Pamela E. Davis
    Chief Executive Officer
    Nonprofits Insurance Alliance
  • Pamela Wheeler
    Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
  • Paola Longino
    LatinAgencia Insurance Services
  • Randi Kasongo
    Senior Manager, Product Rating
  • Sabina Sidler
    Vice President, Customer Experience
    Acceptance Insurance
  • Sara Smith
    Chief Financial Officer
    ALPS Property and Casualty Insurance Company
  • Stephanie Beninati
    Strategic Insurance Services
  • Susan Johnson
    Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer
    The Hartford
  • Tandeka Nomvete
    External Engagement Director
    Spencer Educational Foundation
  • Valerie Taylor
    Producer, Vice President (National Cannabis Practice Leader)
    The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers
  • Yana Yuan
    Vice President


Insurance Business America invited industry professionals from across the US to nominate exceptional female leaders for the annual Elite Women list. Nominators were asked to provide details of their nominee’s achievements and initiatives over the past 12 months, including specific examples of their professional accomplishments and contributions to the industry as a whole.
To select the winners, the IBA team relied on the help of an independent and esteemed panel of judges that included Angela Lee of the Asian American Insurance Network, Jose Aponte of the Latin American Association of Insurance Agencies, David Sampson of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, Carol Murphy of HUB International, and Charmaine Davis of the National African American Insurance Association.
The judges and the IBA team reviewed all nominations, examining how each individual had made a meaningful contribution to the industry, to whittle down the list to the final 62 Elite Women. Self-voting and voting for relatives were prohibited to avoid conflicts of interest.


Meet the judges



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