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2006 Women to Watch: Karen K. Farris

Roach Howard Smith & Barton

Karen K. Farris

President and Chief Executive Officer

Roach Howard Smith & Barton


Age: 56



Karen K. Farris joined Dallas-based independent insurance agency RHSB in 1982 and went on to found the company’s technology practice. She joined the company’s board in 1989 and was named president in 1994 and CEO in 1996. In 2002, she was named the first woman chairman of Assurex Global, a brokerage network with more that 100 partner firms, and she also has served as president of the Dallas chapter of the CPCU Society and president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Dallas. She holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter and Associate in Risk Management designations.



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

A: "I would like to see more flexibility in the workplace in terms of job structure. The industry needs to find more creative ways to handle the needs of our clients and provide exceptional customer service, while still allowing our employees to balance their personal and professional lives. I would like to see us use technology to accomplish this."



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

A: "Embrace challenges as opportunities, and don’t accept limitations in terms of what you can accomplish."



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

A: "No doubt that would be the founder of our firm, Richard Roach, because he saw in me qualities that I never saw in myself, and he challenged me, mentored me and gave me opportunities."


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