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2015 Women to Watch: Valerie DeMell

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Women to Watch: Valerie DeMell
Valerie DeMell

Valerie DeMell

Executive vice president

Marsh, Berry & Co. Inc.

Woodmere, Ohio

Age: 54

Valerie DeMell, executive vice president at Marsh, Berry & Co. Inc., counts hiring quality employees who will grow with the Woodmere, Ohio-based insurance management consulting firm among her greatest accomplishments.

MarshBerry Chairman and CEO John M. Wepler agrees, and not just because it was Ms. DeMell who brought him on board more than two decades ago. Mr. Wepler credits her leadership and mentorship with helping him get where he is.

Having started at MarshBerry when she was just 25, Ms. DeMell said her goal is to spend the rest of her career “developing people in our firm.”

“I've hired a lot of the people who have grown up in this organization who are now executives and board members,” Ms. DeMell said. “That's what I'm really passionate about — developing people who can grow in this organization (and become) future leaders.”

Stephanie Hanayik, chief compliance officer and vice president at MarshBerry, was hired after working with Ms. DeMell on a year-long project as a consultant.

“What I love about Val is that she's not afraid to be direct and strong,” Ms. Hanayik said. “She is clear in her communication and confident ... It's nice to see how she does it, which has helped me ... be successful in my role.”

In noting that Ms. DeMell “always chooses open and honest communications,” regardless of how tough a discussion is, Mr. Wepler says integrity is her most admired attribute.

He added that Ms. DeMell has helped develop a work culture rooted in teamwork.

Ms. Hanayik said she also appreciates that Ms. DeMell always makes herself available, “no matter how busy she is.”

In addition to being there for her co-workers, Ms. DeMell said she enjoys “helping business owners — whether it be perpetuating their ownership internally to their employees, or selling and finally realizing the value of their ownership.”

As the first woman to become a MarshBerry shareholder and sit on its board, Ms. DeMell encourages young employees to try new things, get involved and never stop learning.

“People are their own worst enemy,” she said, which is why she also encourages other women in the industry to have “more (confidence) than you might feel you should have.”


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