Dear APIW Members and Corporate Sponsors:
I hope 2024 is off to a great start. January is a time when companies are finalizing and reporting out on year-end results, thanking colleagues and clients, and laying the groundwork for executing on 2024 initiatives and priorities. I am sure that many, if not all of you, include Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives as part of those plans.
DEI has been a topic garnering quite a bit of attention in the media, especially in light of what is happening in our current affairs – at schools and universities, at state and local levels, and due to wars overseas, the conflicts of which have spilled over onto our shores. While the topic of DEI overall is witnessing national conversations that reference terms like over-reach, costly programs, and unfairness to other groups, we run the risk of stepping backwards and losing a lot of the progress and opportunities that have occurred for women and other marginalized groups. These discussions and viewpoints are important. And we should remember not to get pulled down into specific issues and step back to ensure that we’re focused on the broader goals and longer-term benefits that the DEI frameworks provide. The “I” of DEI – Inclusion – is critical to ensure that we approach all discussions with empathy, an open mind and open heart, that we resist any efforts of stereotyping or discrimination of any group. It is not just important for organizational excellence; it is important for human excellence. It ensures all voices and viewpoints are contemplated, that policies and procedures reflect our diverse pool of talent. It is this very fact that due to our diverse viewpoints and perspectives that bring in more information, experience, and perspective, we cannot afford not to be inclusive. Our own APIW community has leaned into these discussions, and I have faith we will continue to lead, support, listen, and act.
I wanted to acknowledge the loss of one of our founders and APIW sisters – Kathryn McIntyre. Kathryn worked for Business Insurance for almost 25 years, advancing to a variety of leadership roles including publisher and editorial director. She developed a project highlighting one hundred Women in Insurance, which was the precursor to the current BI’s Women to Watch annual event. She sat on numerous non-profit boards including Spencer Educational Foundation, Insurance Industry Council for the City of Hope, and the College of Insurance (now St. John’s University School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science). Kathryn left a lasting mark on APIW as the APIW’s 1989 Insurance Woman of the Year and as one of the founders of the APIW Chicago network in 1992. This December, APIW Chicago honored Kathryn at our holiday event including donations that went to the City of Hope. She will be missed but not forgotten for the impact she has had as a on so many women in our industry.
APIW to Honor Brenda (Ballard) Austenfeld as APIW 2024 Insurance Woman of the Year
APIW, Inc. (the Association of Professional Insurance Women) is pleased to announce Brenda (Ballard) Austenfeld, CEO & President of RT National Property, has been selected as the 2024 recipient of the prestigious APIW Insurance Woman of the Year Award. Ms. Austenfeld will be recognized with this award on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in New York City.