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Fighting Myopia

CNA Chief Diversity Officer Joyce Trimuel says differing views generate better outcomes.
  • Lee McDonald
  • April 2019
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Joyce Trimuel, CNA Insurance

Joyce Trimuel
CNA Insurance

Joyce Trimuel, chief diversity officer, CNA Insurance, said diverse perspectives generate better outcomes. She spoke with AMBestTV at the Emerging Leaders Conference in Miami.

How does culture affect innovation?

When you think about just statistically, it's been proven that companies with diverse perspectives and diverse ideas generate better outcomes and better results. One of the things that I believe is critically important for the diversity inclusion space is that it's not just diversity of thought, but you need diversity of talent, you need diversity that includes age, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities because again, you're going to get perspectives that otherwise you wouldn't necessarily get if the room is very myopic.

That's why I think about the insurance industry and the work that we're doing in the D&I space really is not just about having the numbers in terms of X number of women or perhaps from an ethnicity standpoint. It's about the full dimension of diversity just because again, you're just going to get better ideas that you would not necessarily get if the room is all the same experiences and same thought process.

Do you have any extra considerations or challenges that when you work with people who are considering this industry that it may either be a plus or a minus?

One thing that I've found with our industry is that sometimes, it's kind of a well-kept secret, good, bad and indifferent. Sometimes, I know for myself and some colleagues, it wasn't as if we had necessarily intentionally pursued a career in insurance. A lot of us just through different experiences landed.

I definitely think from a talent standpoint, there is a war on talent just given the fact that we are an aging workforce as an industry and we're competing with so many other industries, so many other companies that perhaps have more brand recognition.

It's incumbent upon the insurance industry to be much more intentional about telling the story because you can have a very robust career. There's so much to do within our industry that sometimes people may not necessarily think about. For example if you are a psych major, why does that preclude you from doing something within the claims organization or within human resources? How can we attract, and then once we get the folks in the door, what are we doing to develop them so that they can really get the full experience of our industry? It's just such an amazing opportunity for individuals in terms of your career can go in a lot of different directions, but people have to know about the opportunities within the industry.

What are you seeing in terms of your own experience at bringing people up who probably are those emerging leaders?

I believe this conference is a great example of that because here you have close to 100 rising professionals within our industry who are given the opportunity for professional development. I'll use myself as an example. I started as an intern in the industry. The fact that I've had people to advocate and to mentor and to coach me along the way, that's been pivotal just in terms of having a 20-plus-year career doing a lot of different things. I really would say it's a two-step approach. We have to attract the individuals, but once we get them in the door, providing them with opportunities like this conference. I think it's going to be life-changing for these folks that are coming this week. Then, it's what do we do once they get back to their respective offices? What's going to be that call to action so that we continue to cultivate and motivate and engage them in different ways?

– Lee McDonald

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