Meet Olga Collins, the Catalyst Behind Worldwide Broker Network’s Talent Strategy

In response to industry talent shortages and retention issues, Olga Collins pioneered “Catalyst,” a diversity-focused training program.
By: | July 14, 2023

No industry or business has been left unscathed from the effects of the talent gap. Equally debilitating is an industry’s struggle to retain the talent it has already secured.

While many causes of the talent shortage are external, companies can readily respond by modifying their internal offerings to current and potential employees.

“The [Worldwide Broker Network] has a massive ecosystem, so the talent shortage and retention issues have impacted all levels of that ecosystem, from our clients all the way up through our teams,” said Liz Yovich, director of global engagement and employee benefits, Worldwide Broker Network (WBN).

But what has become evident for WBN in the chaos of the talent shortage is the importance of fostering meaningful relationships.

“The relationships we’ve created [among] our community of brokers, carriers, service providers and most importantly clients are at the heart of our success,” said Olga Collins, ARM, chief executive officer, WBN.

To better address talent risk, WBN focused on shifting its approach to training and educating its employees while also enhancing its offerings.

“If we are to retain and recruit talent, we need to invest in a new approach to mentoring and training that spans board membership program format and injects excitement into the industry,” Collins said.

“Catalyst,” a WBN training program and academy born from these ideas, was “especially designed to address both [the talent gap and retention], and the lack of gender diversity in the industry,” Collins shared.

The program is designed for those in the industry aged 35 or under with less than seven years’ professional experience. Through Catalyst, users can undergo “leadership coaching and industry-specific training,” and connect with fellow beginners in the industry.

“With the Catalyst [program], we’re focusing on our rising leaders,” Collins said. “It’s really exciting to see the collaboration and the relationships that are forming at that level of our talent.”

“[Olga] saw this group of younger people within the industry and gave them a chance to connect and network with like-minded peers, regardless of age,” Yovich said. “She created Catalyst as a way to help them develop their leadership skills.”

The program’s success is palpable.

“We’ve had three cohorts of graduates who have all participated in our board mentorship program,” Yovich said. “Our focus is on continuing to build these really deep connections between people in the industry, which I think is really unique.”

Collins’ client-centric leadership style has been integral in Catalyst’s success, Yovich noted. “[Her style] really contributes to developing programs like Catalyst that are not only going to serve the industry as a whole, but ultimately serve those clients really well.” &

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Emma Brenner is a staff writer with Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected].

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