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2017 Women to Watch: Brenna Melvin

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Brenna Melvin
Senior vice president, energy and marine group
Alliant Insurance Services Inc.
Boston
Age: 48

Brenna Melvin says her success in the male-dominated energy insurance sector began with her parents.

“I have two older brothers, and my dad didn’t know what to do with a girl,” she said. “So we were raised exactly the same.”

Graduating from Boston College, Ms. Melvin started as a receptionist at a small insurance agency and soon asked the owner what training she needed to move up.

“I told him I went to a good four-year college, and my parents would not be happy if I just worked as a receptionist,” she said.

She took classes and worked at Willis Corroon Group P.L.C. in Boston as an account manager.

“I was really looking to specialize and thought energy would be interesting because it’s so dynamic and highly technical,” she said.

She called a headhunter and moved to the energy practice of William Gallagher Associates Insurance Brokers Inc. in Boston, which was headed by Robert J. Bothwell.

Their team has been together ever since, moving to Beecher Carlson Holdings Inc. in 2005 and then taking their large account energy practice to Alliant Insurance Services Inc. in December 2016.

As Alliant’s senior vice president of the energy and marine group, she leads services and marketing in the power generation division.

“She is brilliant in so many ways, and her knowledge level is enormous,” Mr. Bothwell said.

Carolyne Murff, senior vice president and head of asset management at New Yorkbased LS Power Group, said Ms. Melvin has handled their portfolio for a decade and is “fearless and tenacious” in finding them the best deal.

As an example, she said, Ms. Melvin put together a complex coverage package that allowed LS Power to close on a $2 billion four-facility purchase in June.

“She convinced the underwriters it was a risk they could handle,” she said.

Ms. Melvin said she now mentors her own mostly female energy service group.

“I like to tell women that I started out as a receptionist and that they can do this, too,” she said. “It’s sort of passing the torch.” 

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