Maxine Lebron Shows How Diversity and International Broking Go Hand in Hand
Talking with Maxine LeBron about the joy she finds in traveling the world, one might assume that joining Aon’s international brokerage team was a natural progression in her career.
“International has been a part of my life forever. I’ve traveled extensively around the world … I’m addicted to travel,” LeBron shared.
But switching from her former field of education to insurance was a bit of a shock, LeBron said. “I had more of an experience of working face-to-face with international students who were coming from overseas.”
Yet, it was the challenge and new opportunity to learn and grow that really drew her to the insurance industry when the opportunity arose.
Guided by her instincts and experiences abroad, LeBron has found her footing brokering international casualty coverage for global clients — a role she appreciates for its unique positioning.
“Our clients don’t only have international casualty exposure: They have global property programs in place; they have directors and officers coverage; they’ve got marine cargo exposure.
“I find it really fascinating, because as people rotate or retire, our teams tend to rely on [the international team] to have the available background because we touch every line of business,” she said.
“I find it a really unique position to be in, because we are a reliable piece of that puzzle where people can turn to and say, ‘Okay, now you’re not the broker for marine but they have overseas exposures, can you help us?’ ”
Despite the challenges of helping clients navigate local regulations and requirements, differences in time zones, or currency conversions, LeBron describes being a connector of sorts as “really gratifying.” “You’re always learning something new.”
Kindness in the Face of Conflict
Understanding the difficulties global risk managers face trying to stay ahead of potential threats to business brewing in every corner of the planet, LeBron focuses on countering stress with kindness.
Her efforts proved powerful, with a 2022 Power Broker win in the International category to boot.
“We have experienced so much unrest in the last two years, because of the pandemic and now this horrible war on Ukraine … we have had to learn how to adapt, have patience and express kindness in the face of conflict.”
LeBron prioritizes being clear and communicative with clients to ensure they remain abreast of regulations put in place by carriers and understand why certain requests take more time than is customary in the U.S.
“A couple items that tend to come up day in and day out is just dealing with time zones, response time and managing policy and invoice issuance,” she said.
“So whether we’re scheduling calls at 11:00 p.m. in Australia or we’re trying to get up at 6:00 a.m., so we can have a call with London, we try our best to work with the clients and help them remember that though we’re very proficient in what we do in the international world, sometimes there’s that delay that we cannot get anything quicker than a day or two from the request, because we are still the middlemen with our partners overseas.”
Your Unique Background Is an Asset
One of the aspects LeBron has most enjoyed about working in the international casualty space is the way her background as a Puerto Rican woman has been welcomed and valued.
“We’re working with people [from] all around the world. It’s wonderful! We’ve had people join our team who are bilingual and who in the past have been uncomfortable sharing that with employers or speaking in their native language. But here, we thrive. We encourage it. We want to learn,” she said.
And it’s not just about being from a certain culture, LeBron said.
“It is dealing with being a woman in the insurance industry, about being a person of color in the industry and working with other people who feel that maybe some other time in their life they’ve been held back by their race, their gender, their knowledge, and this is actually one of the safest spaces to talk about it.”
Using Challenges to Grow
LeBron was drawn to the insurance field by a desire to take on a new challenge.
“I grow so much when faced with challenges,” she said. And growing into her brokerage role has required LeBron to also fine-tune her sense of patience.
“Having patience with yourself and having patience with others, as you get through some of these complicated situations that we might not see every day, I think that helps foster and grow relationships and expand your knowledge, because you have to rely on others to shed some light on this experience that they’ve gone through before,” she said.
LeBron’s former manager and mentor, Pam Wentz, was someone who helped illuminate LeBron’s path.
“She was very hard working, patient and willing to answer any question; she was tough but kind. She was a wonderful person and loved by colleagues, clients, carriers, her friends and family,” LeBron said.
“I feel very honored to have had time and experience in this industry with her.”
Forming connections with her colleagues and clients has been LeBron’s favorite part of the job.
“I find that to be the most helpful way to go about business is not only relying on content and process but by trust, by communication and allowing yourself to say, ‘I don’t know the answer,’ and find out who does.
“And then, those people have that trust in you to come back and say, ‘You know what? I know I helped you with this. Do you know how to do this?’
“And you say, ‘Okay, let’s get through it together.’ That’s when you learn, that’s when you grow.” &