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NEW YORK — The woman who is likely to become the first female governor of Iowa told a group of mostly women insurance industry executives Tuesday that moving up the ladder in business is no different than in politics.
“Each of you is a strong competitor in an industry that is male-dominated,” said Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who spoke about her career of being a “ceiling crasher” during her keynote address at the Business Insurance Women to Watch conference in New York.
“Many of you know what it is like to walk into a room and know that you are the only woman seated at the table,” she said. “This is a reality when you work in a profession that is dominated by men. Politics is no different.”
“Stay at the table, continue to voice your opinions,” she said. “Invite more women to the table.”
Lt. Gov. Reynolds will replace Iowa governor Terry Branstad if his recent appointment as U.S. Ambassador to China is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. She spent part of her keynote address talking about her path in public service, starting as a frustrated clerk in Clarke County, Iowa, who thought there was a better way to run the financial office. She ran for treasurer and continued to serve in various roles, encouraging other women to run, including Joni Ernst, a U.S. senator from Iowa and the first female combat veteran to serve in that role.
“She demonstrates how women can get things done … That’s the value, ladies, that we bring,” she said, boasting the senator’s track record of getting three bills before the president. “Women who are working in male-dominated industries, (we) are agile, we are problem-solvers, we are collaborators, we are resilient.”
She encouraged attendees to get involved in public service and said her success can be repeated by others.
“It is an incredible, humbling moment when you realize you are part of history as it is unfolding,” she said. “We (in Iowa) actually had more women run in this election cycle than ever in our history. We have more females? leading agencies that we’ve ever had in the history of Iowa. These are women who getting in front of young girls and serving as role models.”
Now in its 11th year, the Business Insurance Women to Watch awards program recognizes outstanding women in the insurance and risk management sectors, highlighting what they’ve achieved and examining the personal traits that have helped them attain professional success.