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Linda Johnson, now the highest-ranking female in Benfield Inc.'s history, entered the industry after college graduation in 1987 as a management trainee for the company's predecessor organization, E.W. Blanch Co. In the early years of her career, Ms. Johnson held several sales and marketing positions while earning her master of business administration and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation. She became executive vp in 2000 and was part of the senior leadership group involved in Blanch's sale to Benfield in 2001. Ms. Johnson heads Benfield's casualty specialties team.
Greatest influence: "My mother was a phenomenal role model for taking charge of your destiny. She became a single parent and immediately had to go on welfare. She then got a full-time job, finished college, earned her MBA and became controller of Bass Shoes. In the industry, Jane Nelson, who was president of St. Paul Surplus Lines, showed me how smart women in the business can be. Art Horowitz of E.W. Blanch was the first person I worked for as a reinsurance broker. He was a great role model with respect to strategic thinking."