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OfficeMax Inc.


Senior Director, Risk Management
OfficeMax Inc.
Naperville, Ill.
Age: 50


With more than 20 years of experience, Carol F. Arendall was given the lofty task of creating a risk management plan for OfficeMax Inc. when she was hired by the office supplies company in 2005. Two years later, she leads a team of risk management professionals for a business that employs 36,000 people worldwide. She built her department from scratch using skills and expertise acquired while in the risk management department for Saks Inc., which purchased Carson Pirie Scott & Co. in the 1990s. She began her career at Carson’s in 1985 while answering a newspaper employment ad, never intending to work in the risk management field. Ms. Arendall was featured in Business Insurance’s 2007 Risk Management Honor Roll.


What would you change: "There are a lot of women working in the insurance industry, many of them on the claims side as adjusters. I would like to see the insurance claims industry become leaders in family-friendly work policies. With the tremendous turnover you see with claims adjusters, making that job family-friendly would reduce turnover and be a win-win for all employees."


Professional role model: "My role model was Anne C. Roberts, at the time the director of risk management at Carson Pirie Scott, now a broker with Marsh. She hired me right after I graduated from college and gave me a chance to learn and grow. I still make decisions based on the analytical tools she helped me develop."


Advice to young women: "Work at a quality company that gives you opportunities for growth and development. Be a team player and a good listener. After you establish yourself professionally, be willing to give back and mentor and guide young professionals coming in behind you."


2007 Women to Watch Home

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  • 2007 Women to Watch

    Business Insurance's "Women to Watch" feature is our attempt to identify some of the women who are doing outstanding work in commercial insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.