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Women of distinction share their success stories


DENVER — Four distinguished female risk managers shared their disparate paths to success on Tuesday.

The quartet — Grace Crickette, Lori Gray, Sheila Small and Laurie Solomon — assembled for a panel discussion at the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s annual conference and exhibition.

Ms. Crickette, Emeryville, Calif.-based senior vice president and chief risk and compliance officer for AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah, said enthusiasm for the task at hand was a critical element to her success. “I've had my managerial style compared to a cheerleader's, but that doesn't offend me,” she said. “I like building teams and bringing people together.”

To make sure she is abreast of the risks facing her, Ms. Gray, Prince William, Va.-based risk management division chief with Prince William County in Virginia, said she likes to call in the heads of the various departments under her purview to ask them what they see as the dangers facing them. “It's always interesting to hear what keeps your police chief up at night,” she said.

Ms. Solomon, Atlanta-based director of risk management for The Coca-Cola Co., said a healthy give and take was essential to the practice of risk management. “The biggest advice I would give everybody is to ask questions,” she said. “Questions come from a position of strength.”

The multitasking skills learned as a mother of four have helped Ms. Small, New York-based managing director of Alvarez & Marsal Insurance Advisory Services, succeed as risk manager. “I had to learn to work smarter,” she said.

Ms. Gray and Ms. Small are past Business Insurance Risk Manager of the Year® winners.

Ms. Crickette and Ms. Solomon are previous members of the Business Insurance Risk Management Honor Roll®.