Excellent in Many Ways
Being a Responsibility Leader® means devoting time and energy to your community and your profession, on top of achieving professional excellence.
A successful insurance broker who really cares about his or her clients puts in a full work week, as many of our Power Broker® winners could tell you.
But after spending untold hours in airports, taxis and hotel rooms, and after fulfilling the demands of their personal lives, Responsibility Leaders put on other hats to serve their communities and the industry at large by becoming educators and mentors.
Rather than lament industry talent shortages, they seek out promising college students and share with them their passion for the profession.
Some of them act as mentors to rising stars, create scholarships, or teach university classes in risk management.
These brokers could also probably teach classes in time management.
In helping his community, Arthur J. Gallagher’s Bill Powell, a 2015 Power Broker® in Education and a Responsibility Leader®, seems to have figured out how to add more hours to his busy days.
Powell just signed up for his fourth four-year term as a Big Shoulder Fund mentor in Chicago.
Every year, Powell mentors middle-school students, reviewing their academic progress and accompanying them on community activities. Full disclosure: the Fund was established by Robert E. Gallagher, the longtime chairman and CEO of the brokerage.
Achieving professional success often goes hand-in-hand with a background in the teamwork and dedication of athletics, and it is in this way that the Louisville, Ky., community counts on Steve Leist of Assured Neace Lukens, an Entertainment/Hospitality Power Broker® winner.
Leist coaches community sports teams, even taking a squad of Little Leaguers all the way to the state finals.
The insurance industry is enriched by having these nine professionals in its ranks and we’re proud to call them Responsibility Leaders.
Serving the Community
As the son of a brigadier general who won a Silver Star and a Purple Heart, Paige Cokinos grew up in a home where integrity, accountability and respect for others were hallmarks.
He has carried on in that vein. In addition to being an excellent real estate insurance broker, he serves his hometown of Houston by volunteering on a number of community boards, including Mental Health, Mental Retardation of Harris County, Theatre Under the Stars, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the Greater Houston Restaurant Association and others.
After reading a recent article about the shortage of bright, young talent entering the insurance industry, Cokinos dedicated himself to becoming a mentor, encouraging college students to study risk management and securities in addition to their core business or finance degree subjects.
Because of his leadership and desire to help others, he was recently selected by his company to mentor new brokers.
Deeply Invested in the Future
Teresa Koster is deeply committed to education.
Koster, head of student health insurance at AJG, is the founder of the Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship Program, which has helped more than 65 students with financial assistance to pursue health care careers.
She is also founder of the American College Health Foundation’s Gallagher Koster Innovative Practices in College Health Fund, which awards mini-grants to student health centers endeavoring to improve access to quality health care for students.
Her efforts extend beyond health care. Koster is partnered with a scholarship program at the Berklee College of Music to sponsor an undergraduate student majoring in music therapy, and a program at Endicott College that supports single parents earning degrees.
Koster also takes an active interest in a local nonprofit career training program, and has hired many of its graduates to join the customer service and support teams in her office.
Courage Under Fire
Patty Horn faced a decision that forced her to consider doing the right thing or doing the thing that was most politically expedient.
She chose the right path even though others threatened to tarnish her reputation.
Horn was working with a national organization that was looking for verification of its benefit program spending choices.
Her analysis uncovered gaps in the employer’s program. When she brought her findings to the employer, she was pressured to keep the results under wraps.
The employer threatened to harm her reputation if she didn’t reverse her decision.
Undaunted, Horn submitted her report.
Horn also volunteers to help local grade school students gain a better understanding of mathematics and to consider mathematics as a career.
She’s expanded the program to the middle school level and plans on involving more schools in the St. Louis area in coming years.
Call Him Coach
It’s known that athletics develop coordination, strength and character traits like accountability and an emphasis on teamwork.
Coaching successful teams of young people requires hours of selfless dedication.
Consider then what Steve Leist is giving to his community. From 1997 to 2008, Leist coached the Holy Family Grade School basketball team in Louisville, Ky.
As the New Albany Township Little League coach, Leist coached a state runner-up squad of 11- and 12-year-olds.
For the past five years, from 2009 to 2014, Leist served as the assistant varsity coach of the Providence High School golf team.
Add to that his role as a risk management committee adviser for the Southern Indiana YMCA, his work as a Southern Indiana Boy Scouts fundraising chairman and his membership in One Southern Indiana, a local chamber of commerce, and you can begin to appreciate all that Steve Leist does in a week.
Advocating Leadership Diversity
Carol Murphy has spent a decade helping others move up in the industry as a leader in Aon’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Within that role, she has spearheaded the Women’s International Network, working to provide professional growth, sponsorship, and networking opportunities for women seeking senior executive roles.
She also recently participated in Aon’s “Coming Out Day,” an event to help drive inclusion in the insurance and risk management industry for LGBT professionals.
This year, she will take on a leadership role for Aon’s Talent Operating Model Engaging Leader seminars, which focus on driving colleague satisfaction and growth as a team.
Murphy also actively recruits professionals from within and outside of the industry, promoting Aon’s leadership model with an eye for diversity.
Her efforts to bring others into challenging leadership roles align with her belief that the “right” road may be filled with obstacles, but is still worth traveling.
Dedicated to Her Industry Niche
Kathy Phillips has been an advocate for the parking industry for more than 30 years, and not just as an insurance broker.
An influential member of parking industry trade groups, she chaired the committee advisory board for the certified parking professional designation on behalf of the National Parking Association for two years and sits on the convention program and planning committee for the National Parking Association.
They named her Volunteer of the Year in 2013.
She also seeks to do good in her wider community.
She leads her office’s efforts for the World Food Day drive and walks in the Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society.
Kathy is also not shy about singing the praises of the insurance industry. Under her guidance, not only her son, but her next-door neighbor’s son, are entering the business as a broker and an agent.
A Shoulder to Lean On
It’s clear that education is Bill Powell’s passion. When Powell isn’t busy helping colleges and universities manage their risk challenges, he’s reaching out to students with challenges of their own.
Powell is a longtime mentor with the Big Shoulders Fund, which provides support to Catholic schools in the neediest areas of inner-city Chicago.
This year, Powell mentored six students in grades five through eight at St. Constance School on Chicago’s Northwest Side.
This completes Powell’s third four-year term as a Big Shoulder Fund mentor.
And he’s just signed up for another four-year term. In 2015, he will serve as a mentor for six fifth-grade students at St. Margaret of Scotland School on Chicago’s South Side.
Powell reviews students’ academic progress and accompanies them on a number of community activities, including marching in Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Helping the Next Generation
To Nicholas Warren, excellence is a habit, and he strives to help others learn to live the same way.
Working with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Warren has mentored Kenneth, who lives in a single-parent household, for the past three years. His volunteering involved meeting with Kenneth every other week for two hours to discuss education, business and life in general.
When Warren first started working with Kenneth, the high school sophomore expressed no interest in attending college. Now, Kenneth is proudly enrolled in Brooklyn College.
Mentoring keeps Warren busy in other ways as well.
For the last three summers, he has directly managed three summer interns within Marsh’s global risk management department.
He wants to see insurance as more than an industry that college graduates just “fall into,” and he is encouraged by the growth of risk management and insurance degrees at the collegiate level.
Leading the Way on Wellness
Sue Willette devotes countless hours of her valuable time to improving workplace wellness.
She is a nationally recognized authority on wellness and frequently speaks at industry conferences on the topic.
Willette is a member of the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) think tank, serves as co-lead for the HERO engagement committee and has served for more than five years on the board of directors for the Population Health Management Organization.
At a recent HERO conference, Willette asked vendors and employers to imagine their organization’s approach to wellness in 2020, after many employers had transferred their risk to private or public health care exchanges.
The question provoked no small amount of discomfort among attendees, many of whom could be facing an evaporating business model.
The resulting dialogue resulted in the proactive Vision 2020 concept, which has been incorporated nationally by Aon Hewitt in client forums.