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Kansas City, Kan.
Brenda Ballard's insurance industry career began in 1986 as a marketing trainee for broker Alexander & Alexander, where she worked her way to become a vp. In 1995, she accepted a senior vp and property broker position at Westrope. In 1998, however, Aon Corp. recruited her to become director of its global property practice. But in 2001, Westrope brought her back to expand its property department. She is now the executive vp for property and a member of the senior management team at the wholesaler.
Advice to young women: "Work hard to become knowledgeable and technical because clients know immediately if you understand what you are talking about. Stay focused, flexible and always willing to learn more, no matter how many years you are in the business. And, learn how to play golf well. Take golf lessons and take your game as seriously as your career. It's a great way to earn the respect of others both in the office and on the course."