The 2022 Executives to Watch: Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance’s Kim Briones
Kim Briones has been a member of the Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) team since day one. As the head of “all things people” at BHSI, Briones leads a team that place respect, integrity, excellence, collaboration, and passion at the forefront.
When BHSI was launched in 2013, “I simply had a conversation with Peter Eastwood, and he had asked me if I’d like to join the organization and help launch a business,” Briones remembered.
Having worked with Eastwood at Lexington, Briones had a clear sense of how he and the other three BHSI founders valued people, and “the type of leaders and managers they were, are, and continue to be” – which made it easy for her to quickly say, “Yes, I’d like to be part of that!”
As teammate number six at BHSI and the first for human resources, titles were not especially important for Briones or anyone else. The focus was building the business – and built it they have.
Briones and her HR team now support 1,500 employees, in 31 offices across 14 countries. She has played an instrumental role in developing everything from BHSI’s operational infrastructure and policies and procedures, to compensation and benefits plans.
As the now global head of human resources, her compassionate leadership shone through when the pandemic hit in late 2019. Briones and her colleagues were at the forefront in helping BHSI team members around the world successfully transition to remote work and continue growing their lines of business.
Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, Briones and team have been able to onboard and hire nearly 30% of BHSI’s current staff, all while keeping inclusivity in mind.
“Understanding and addressing the systemic causes that create barriers to professional success and personal wellbeing is paramount for the global community,” she said.
Briones said it’s “the responsibility of the business world, but equally the personal responsibility for all people worldwide,” to make sure diversity, equity and inclusion will continue to be a top business priority.
Navigating the obstacles presented by the pandemic is an ongoing process. “The pandemic has affected every person and every business, and we will feel the effects for years to come,” Briones said.
“Global HR teams will continue to deal with the effects of the pandemic worldwide – both from a personal wellbeing standpoint and from a business continuity standpoint.”
With BHSI expanding into new markets around the world, Briones and team will rely on the talent and energy that humans bring to business. And as she said, “the humans at BHSI are the best!”
“Our teammates collaborate every day and tackle the challenges of building a business from the ground up.”
Briones said she has “never worked with such a collectively talented group,” particularly the other members of her HR team at BHSI. “They are the hardest working, talented and caring human resource professionals in the world.”
To keep the “person nature” of HR at the forefront, Briones does her best to take care of herself as well by making time for her family and close friends.
“My self-care is making sure that I’m nurturing those personal relationships,” Briones said. “If that’s not right, nothing else is right.” &