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Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
MDAdvantage Insurance Co. of New Jersey
At a time when state policymakers considered the medical professional liability insurance market in New Jersey in crisis, Patricia A. Costante, then president and CEO of Lawrenceville, N.J.-based professional liability company MIIX Group Inc., developed a plan in 2002 to form a medical professional liability insurance company to ensure availability of insurance for New Jersey physicians. Facing doubts on all fronts, it took her just six weeks to raise the nearly $30 million--in individual physician contributions of $25,000 or less--required by New Jersey state regulators to form MDAdvantage Insurance Co. of New Jersey. Since then, her company has become one of the leading providers of medical professional liability insurance in the state--protecting and defending its physician policyholders should the need arise as well as serving physicians as an advocate, an educator and a partner in the delivery of health care. In 2006, the company received an Outstanding Employer Award from the New Jersey Business & Industry Assn.
Advice to young women: "My first advice is to encourage young women to enter the field. I am often struck by the paucity of women in high-level insurance and reinsurance positions. It is a field that values a myriad of business skills and offers wonderful opportunities for advancement."
Professional role model: "I have been fortunate to have many role models. Among them, Paul J. Hirsch. He serves as the vice chair of the MDAdvantage board and has been closely involved in every aspect of developing the company. He is a solid, strategic thinker and portrays the wonderful calm of a successful surgeon. Paul has helped me to see the value in viewing each situation strategically, to respond rather than react."
What would you change: "The cyclical nature of the industry is the one thing I would like to change. Physicians would be better served by stable pricing rather than the sharp escalation in rates that follow unfavorable years and the discounting of rates that follows years with favorable results."
A well-rounded attorney with experience in the entertainment business, directors and officers liability issues, and e-commerce and technology matters, Mary Craig Calkins has made a name for herself since she zeroed in on insurance coverage recovery more than 20 years ago. In 2006, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, a published ranking aimed at U.S. businesses, recognized her as a leader in the insurance field, stating that she "brings the entire package to the table" and clients appreciate her ability to "authoritatively convey complex ideas and make a difficult situation much more manageable." Ms. Calkins has also been recognized as one of Southern California's "Super Lawyers" in insurance coverage. That list identifies the top 5% of attorneys in each state, as chosen by their peers, and is published in several publications including Los Angeles magazine.
What would you change: "I would have people participate more in professional organizations and other networking opportunities, because parties on both sides of an issue who know each other well can work out disputes more cooperatively. Avoiding unnecessary posturing and expense also can help cast both the legal and insurance industries in a more favorable light."
Best professional advice: "The result is critical, but it is at a cost that also must be considered."
Advice to young women: "Choose a field and a job that you enjoy, and give 100%."
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy L.L.P.
In her eight years as a litigator specializing in reinsurance at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, Linda Dakin-Grimm has been involved in many high-profile and complex cases. Among recent cases, she helped a major U.S. insurer recover from its reinsurer in settling a series of complex environmental claims. The confidential arbitration involved 18 different reinsurance treaties and documents spanning three decades. Ms. Dakin-Grimm also is former co-chair of Milbank's diversity committee and has organized roundtables to discuss the challenges of women in reinsurance. Before joining Milbank, she was an attorney at Chadbourne & Parke L.L.P.
Advice to young women: "A certain amount of shameless doesn't hurt. I saw a startling statistic that, right now, entering classes in college are close to 60% girls. It startled me, because they're not 60% of the population. Girls do very well in school, and law schools are churning out 50% or more women graduates, and these people come into the workforce in law firms and other related jobs. Eight years later, typically, they've left the practice. There are a number of reasons for that, but some of the reasons have to do with the fact that you typically get out of law school in your 20s and want to spend the next 10 years after that having a family. There's a tremendous tension between pushing your career and having a family. That exists in any field. Leaving that issue aside, with some exceptions, a lot of the women who come out of law school are better than they know and are less likely to tout themselves and blow their own horn. They're more easily disillusioned and don't see the long term that they might in fact have a future as a partner at the law firm. I would like to encourage some of our really talented young women to realize that they're really fabulous."
Professional role model: "I worked with David Raim and Jonathan Bank at Chadbourne. Unrelated to insurance and reinsurance, I worked with Stanley Arkin at Chadbourne who was a white-collar criminal lawyer. I'd say those were the three people who were my mentors when I had mentors....In law and law firms, you really have to have a mentor, you have to have somebody who has decided that you're worth supporting and kind of brings you along. In my case, it wasn't a woman. Nowadays there's a lot of talk in law about how few women are partners in law firms, particularly in litigation. To succeed in a firm, you need to find a mentor somewhere."
Early aspirations: "Until I realized that you had to have a grasp of science, I wanted to be a doctor. I'm married to a scientist, but that was not my aptitude. I think fairly young I realized that all I could do was talk. So a field where talking, reading, analyzing things that sort of veered into law. I didn't know what that meant, though, other than watching TV lawyers. I went from college to law school...I was just sort of going along with the herd. I started out working with a big law firm, though I made a move. In the '80s, I was a young associate with Chadbourne & Parke in Los Angeles. When you're a young lawyer at a big law firm, you kind of do the work that's handed to you or that you scout around and see what's interesting. I started doing some reinsurance work with David Raim (of Chadbourne's Washington office) who was one of the five or so guys in the country who did that kind of work. He still is a well-respected and terrific reinsurance dispute lawyer. It was by working with him that I got interested in this kind of work. If I had been at another law firm, it might have been something else."
Executive Vp, Global Sales and Marketing
Willis Group Holdings Ltd.
Carla D'Andre is a recent arrival at Willis, which she joined in February, bringing 30 years of insurance industry experience. Prior to Willis, Ms. D'Andre was managing director at Aon Risk Services of New York.
Best professional advice: "The best professional advice I received... was from my father and it could apply equally to my professional life or personal life. What he told me was no matter what you do in life, sign your name to it. It may not have a place for your signature overtly, but there will always be a place for your signature in the delivery of quality and commitment.... Take ownership of any act you do. Deliver it to a standard--one you won't compromise on."
Professional role model: "Margaret Thatcher. I feel she is an extraordinary individual and was able to lead one of the most accomplished and prosperous nations as a woman at a time where few governments or businesses in the world were led by women. She often speaks of growing up over her father's store. It seems as if she really gained much of her achievement on her own.... Condoleezza Rice exudes leadership. She is in my estimation unflappable in discussions. She is quite logical in her thought and very deductive in her reasoning and fully committed to what she does."
Advice to young women: "I would tell women (insurance is) a very robust field, that there is extraordinary opportunity, that they should be prepared to work very hard and that they should understand the value of networking and use it."
Founder, Executive Vp
Cypress Care Inc.
Having spent years in the workers compensation industry, Lisa Datelle Quarterman saw much room for improvement among pharmacy benefit managers. Ms. Quarterman eventually left her job at One Call Comprehensive Care, a pharmacy benefit management and home health services provider, and helped form Cypress Care Inc. in 2001 with her brother and father, both technology gurus. After recognizing that inefficiencies could be corrected with technology, the group introduced software that allowed companies to tailor their workers compensation programs to fit the needs of employees. Ms. Quarterman's experience and vision won her a nomination in the 2004 edition of "Who's Who in Corporate America," the 2005 Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute's Rx Benefit Innovation Award and a finalist nomination for the 2006 Stevie Awards for Women in Business.
Greatest influence: "My father, Henry 'Hank' Datelle, has been an inspiration and a role model. His poise, perseverance and focus have been invaluable to my education as a business owner. I am constantly amazed at his business savvy and how he can unfailingly plan to live today for the benefit of tomorrow. 'There is nothing we can do that does not have a result,' he often reminds me, and he's always right. He's also a great dad."
Best professional advice: "When I first contemplated starting my own business, I was handed a notepad and pen and was challenged to list 10 things that I could do differently to improve the market space I wanted to enter. That list eventually became a list of industry firsts and resulted in the innovative technology and information services that put Cypress Care on the map."
Advice to young women: "Do not trade your knowledge for expectations. I believe that in some situations, women as business leaders might still feel pressure to conform to more 'traditional' boardroom expectations. Bear your pride and follow your course without regard for these external pressures--they have nothing to do with your business. It is your talent, your purpose and your dedication that will take you where you want to go, despite the obstacles. Never forget that you have more to offer than people might expect."
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