2006 Women to Watch: Mary Todd PetersonPosted On: Oct. 8, 2006 12:00 AM CST
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer Designee
Medmarc Insurance Group
Mary Todd Peterson on Jan. 1 will become CEO of Medmarc Insurance Group, a company she joined in 2001 as vp and chief financial officer. Ms. Peterson was promoted to chief operating officer earlier this year. In 2005, she led the creation of a comprehensive strategic plan for the company. A certified public accountant, she was a partner with Johnson Lambert & Co., a public accounting and consulting firm specializing in insurance companies, from 1993-2001. Ms. Peterson, who began her career with the former Ernst & Ernst accounting firm, completed the Duke University Fuqua School of Business Advanced Management Program this year.
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "I think the one thing I would change would be irrational pricing. The industry goes through cycles, and sometimes prices decrease without sound basis. We need to have a more consistent rationale for pricing."
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "If you’re looking for a career that has a lot of technical challenge and offers opportunities to learn and advance, this is a great industry for you. At Medmarc, we have a majority of women in our workforce…. As long as you stay technically up-to-date and focus on customer service, you can make a terrific contribution."
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "Three people have had a great influence on my career. My former partners at Johnson Lambert & Co., Larry Johnson and Debbie Lambert. They formed a public accounting firm in the 1980s to serve insurance companies. It’s grown from two people to more than 100 people. Both Larry and Debbie are really entrepreneurial and had a vision of how to serve insurance companies that we were able to implement and to grow. I was exposed to a huge array of technical and business issues that prepared me to take over as CFO of Medmarc.
“Also Jack White, the retiring president and chief executive officer of Medmarc. He very much embodies that same entrepreneurial spirit. He also showed me that you have to have a vision of what you want to accomplish, and continue to challenge to probe that vision every day as circumstances change and new opportunities and challenges are created."