The Dive In Festival raises awareness of the business case for diversity and inclusion and has held events in 17 countries and 32 cities for four years now. Questpro sponsored the event in Dallas, TX, and I was so excited to be one of the attendees. After insightful small group discussions and hearing from the executive panelists, I think everyone had a new perspective on what it truly means to be diverse and inclusive. These are concepts that need to become reality, so if you missed one of their many events, here’s a little breakdown of what I learned.
Takeaways from the small group discussions:
Since the insurance industry is experiencing a huge age gap, one of the big topics for D&I was about how the younger and older generation can work together. A big problem is that both younger and older employees are scared to ask for help! While the younger generation feels inexperienced, the older generation has questions about technology and staying current on trends. To learn from one another, companies can encourage a communicative culture. Employees of all ages should feel comfortable to ask for help, know who to go to, and receive the information they need.
A mentor/mentee relationship can be very helpful in these situations. Whether the relationship is assigned or developed organically, the pair need to be patient with one another and willing to help/learn. Many people who ask for help feel discouraged when they get short, rushed answers, so taking the time for one another is important. Along with a company’s training program, new employees can rotate shadowing more experienced employees. This rotation helps employees get to know one another, the different roles in the office, and spark mentor/mentee relationships.
The insurance industry has worked hard to modernize and update, but companies can only succeed if they practice diversity and inclusion.
Major points that resonated with me from the four executive panelists:
- Bill Henry from MHBT-
PLU means “People Like Us”. If you have bright ideas and are willing to work hard, you should excel in the industry. It shouldn’t matter your race, gender, or age. What should count is your work ethic, soft skills, and contribution.
- Millie Workman from IRMI-
When asked how the industry has become more diverse and inclusive over the years she replied, “I’m not just ‘the girl’ anymore”. Women in insurance used to only work in secretarial roles. Now women are in leadership positions and have a voice in the company.
- Enya He from Lloyd’s-
People will have their opinions. You can only control your own actions and reactions. Keep your advocates close and keep pushing forward. Most of all, believe in yourself and encourage your own professional development.
- Reggie Texada from Univision-
Don’t let yourself become pigeon holed. These days there’s always another opportunity, another route, another advocate. Don’t let yourself be stuck or held back. Especially in the insurance industry now, when so many people are retiring, there’s a vacancy for strong leaders and room to really find your niche.