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2017 Women to Watch: Jillian Slyfield

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Jillian Slyfield
Managing director, resident sales director, U.S. sharing economy practice leader
Aon Risk Solutions
San Francisco
Age: 44

When Jillian Slyfield joined Aon Risk Solutions in November 2015, the company was looking for someone to lead a practice to serve the new and exploding sharing economy market.

Ms. Slyfield had previously met risk managers with Uber Technologies Inc. and had seen the challenges of working with a business sector based on individuals sharing services or assets via the internet or mobile apps.

But her role as Aon’s U.S. sharing economy practice leader has required a whole new way of thinking about insurance and risk management, she said.

“The issues are as different as each client,” she said.

“If you solve the sharing economy dilemmas for Uber, you’re no better off in solving the issues for Airbnb.” And those issues have changed rapidly as the new economy expands across continents, she said.

Based in San Francisco, Ms. Slyfield travels to Latin America, Europe, Asia and around the U.S. to work with clients. “I love seeing into these new business models,” she said. “Building new programs is both challenging and fascinating” in an environment that intersects personal and commercial lines of insurance.

In addition, she launched a client impact team that can travel globally on short notice to put together customized services as the client expands.

Ms. Slyfield earned a bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University and an MBA at Wayne State University. She worked as a commercial insurance client executive at Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc. in Michigan, and as a sales leader and client executive at Marsh L.L.C. in Detroit and San Francisco before joining Aon. Early in her career, she formed a professional staffing company that she sold in 2009. Being a business owner gave her lasting insights, she said.

“I think I’m better able to get in the client’s seat and see all the pressures a business owner faces,” she said.

At Aon, Ms. Slyfield has started two monthly events to mentor employees: a “Food for Thought” lunch for early-career people with the theme “everything I wish I had known early in my career that nobody ever told me,” and a “Breakfast with Leadership” open to all employees. She also mentors employees individually.

“It’s really important to me that when Aon and this office attracts talent that we understand what they need in their early career and give it to them,” she said.

Randy Nornes, executive vice president of Aon Risk Solutions in Chicago, said Ms. Slyfield’s strengths include network building and innovation. “She takes really complicated things and figures out how to organize a plan of attack and then gets things done,” he said. “She’s got the sense of urgency, takes personal ownership to get it done, and has repeated that over and over again.”

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