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2015 Women to Watch: Donna Nadeau

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Women to Watch: Donna Nadeau
Donna Nadeau

Donna Nadeau

Director of strategic operations, Americas

XL Catlin

New York

Age: 48

Donna Nadeau, director of strategic operations for XL Catlin in New York, places high importance on the personal side of the insurance business, though she is a trained actuary with an analytical background.

“One of the things I think is really important and you can't underestimate is the people part of the business and building relationships,” said Ms. Nadeau.

After plans to teach kindergarten fell by the wayside, she decided to major in math at Boston College “because I was really good at math.”

“Quite honestly, it was either banking or insurance, and the folks I met with on the insurance side seemed a lot happier than the folks I met with on the banking side,” said Ms. Nadeau.

Ms. Nadeau began her career with Liberty Mutual Holding Co. Inc. in Boston in 1989 and went to New York to work for Kemper Risk Management before following some colleagues to XL Group P.L.C. in 2003.

There she has firmly put her imprint on the company, whether through the development of the insurer's Strategic Account Review, or STAR, process, which drives accountability for managing and assessing progress in key initiatives affecting profitability for XL Catlin's businesses, or building new underwriting tools.

“Because of her in-depth knowledge of all the business from an actuarial point of view, she really understands the businesses and knows what it takes to drive those businesses and make them profitable,” said Joe Tocco, chief executive for the Americas at XL Catlin in New York and Ms. Nadeau's supervisor.

“She knows how to engage with those teams,” added Mr. Tocco. “She's collaborative, insightful and so, so driven.”

“Her willingness to engage people and listen” is one of her strongest qualities, said Audrey Geiger, global underwriting workstation business lead for XL Catlin in New York.

“She is a role model for women who aspire to be leaders in the insurance industry,” added Katy Bradica, chief business actuary for XL Catlin in Exton, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Nadeau said she has not faced greater challenges than her male counterparts because “I've been fortunate to work in organizations that have always given me opportunities to pursue my interests.”

But, she recalls “When I first started in this industry, I think it was much more male-dominated.”

Which did not deter her in the least.


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