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2006 Women to Watch: Leigh Ann Pusey

Posted On: Oct. 8, 2006 12:00 AM CST

2006 Women to Watch: Leigh Ann Pusey

Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vp-Government Affairs

American Insurance Assn.


Age: 44



Leigh Ann Pusey joined the American Insurance Assn. as senior vp-public affairs in 1996, was named senior vp-federal affairs in 1999 and added the duties of chief operating officer earlier this year. She previously held several political positions, including communications director for former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.



Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?

A: "It’s a tough environment but full of opportunity. You need to know your subject—be smart, and be willing to work hard. Most importantly—think strategically."



Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?

A: "My parents, for the reason they have helped instill a sense of confidence; and encouragement to take advantage of opportunity and to be the best you can be."



Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?

A: "I think the industry can do a better job of telling its story. My theory is that we’ve bought into the notion that people don’t like insurance and therefore our strategy is to lay low. As a result, people don’t understand the industry, they don’t understand the vital role we play. If we did a better job of telling our story and defending ourselves, we’d find ourselves better positioned in the marketplace of ideas."


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