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North America Leader of Health and Productivity
Watson Wyatt Worldwide
Shelly Wolff has more than 20 years of experience in employee benefits, risk management and insurance programs. Prior to joining Watson Wyatt, she was responsible for workplace absence and disability programs at General Electric Co. for nine years. Among her many accomplishments are leading a companywide cross-functional project to reevaluate GE's paid time off benefits, creating a new program that has become a model in the industry for benefit design and delivery. She joined Watson Wyatt in 2003. Ms. Wolff is a board member of the Council for Employee Health and Productivity at the National Business Group on Health. She has also received the Quality Leadership Award from the Commission for the Certification of Disability Management.
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "My college freshman adviser. He redirected me to a program that required a masters degree, which extended my college training beyond what was planned. However, it put me on a completely different path which allowed me to move into business, disability and health care, which was not in my career plans."
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "Establish a broad base of knowledge in as many health and welfare programs early. Benefits are becoming increasingly integrated in design, delivery and measurement, therefore positioning yourself as an expert with a wide base of knowledge will bode well for more challenging work. Also, gain experience in a wide variety of settings: supplier, purchaser, public, private, etc."
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "Health care system reform that results in focused delivery of holistic health services through a coordinated care team that has open access and is affordable for all Americans."
Business Insurance's report on "Women to Watch" is our attempt to identify some of the women who are leading change in commercial insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.