LORI WINDOLF CRISPOPosted On: Jul. 29, 2007 12:00 AM CST
Senior Executive Vp
Short Hills, N.J.
Lori Windolf Crispo joined her family’s Short Hills, N.J., insurance brokerage, Bollinger Inc., in 1985 and spent the next three years in a training program learning about personal lines, commercial lines and employee benefits. When Bollinger secured an exclusive sports accident and liability program with CIGNA Corp. in 1989, Ms. Crispo was tapped to manage Bollinger’s new amateur sports division. Today the sports division has grown to 22 employees and generates in excess of $5 million in revenues annually for Bollinger. As senior executive vp, Ms. Crispo is responsible for operations and sales management of the division and is considered a leading female authority in amateur sports insurance and risk management. She has authored a number of risk management manuals for her clients and their members as well as a number of in-depth studies on sports safety. She also has created insurance and risk management Web sites for clients, was a featured monthly columnist for Lacrosse Magazine on insurance issues and recently launched a blog on sports safety, www.sportssafetyiq.com.
Advice to young women: "For young women looking at career choices, insurance is an underdog industry that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. It may not have the cachet of investment banking or other professional careers, but insurance offers many rewards, especially to women. The primary benefit that I have seen (and experienced) is that you can have a high-level position, whether in an agency or on the company side, and still achieve a very good work/life balance. The job will be intellectually and creatively stimulating. It is a great career for those with good people skills who like the idea of developing very strong bonds with their clients; it is an equally great career for those who like numbers more than people—there is something for everyone. The insurance industry is a challenging and financially rewarding career path, and for motivated women, I believe there are fewer obstacles to getting to the 'corner office.'"
Professional role model: "I would have to say my parents are the ones who’ve inspired me the most. I admire my father’s incredible discipline, his vision in leading our agency and his people skills—he knows every one of our 500 employees and is always welcoming. My mother is an influential member of our board, sets the standard for warmth and empathy, and is known as the creative voice behind the throne."
Early aspirations: "I had a variety of different dreams of what I wanted to be when I grew up, from oceanographer to graphic artist, to writer, to French professor. Insurance never really factored into my idea of a future career, especially after working many summers during college filing and answering phones in our agency. Of all of those dreams, the one that has 'stuck' is the writing part. On any given day in my job, I spend a lot of time writing, whether doing reports, proposals, articles or—my latest passion—my blog on sports safety. I consider myself very fortunate to have a career that enables me to do something I love every day."