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Women to Watch: 2007

Posted On: Apr. 7, 2009 10:23 AM CST

Teena Hostovich

Teena Hostovich

Senior Vp

Lockton Insurance Brokers L.L.C.

Los Angeles

Age: 48

Teena Hostovich began her insurance career in 1978 in the training program at Johnson & Higgins in Los Angeles. She worked her way up the ranks of the brokerage and its successor, Marsh Inc., over the next 22 years, eventually becoming a senior client executive and senior vp in charge of the higher education practice on the West Coast as well as the law firm practice. Ms. Hostovich joined Lockton Insurance in 2001 as a senior vp in Los Angeles and is considered the brokerage's leading authority on professional liability for major law firms and higher education. As Lockton's top female producer internationally, Ms. Hostovich has almost single-handedly developed Lockton's clientele among large national law firms. Under her leadership, Lockton's revenues in the lawyer's market have increased by 4,000% over the last six years. In May, Ms. Hostovich was an "Executive of the Year" nominee at the Los Angeles Business Journal's annual "Women Making a Difference" event honoring Los Angeles' most successful women.

Early aspirations: "I wanted to be a writer. Fortunately, I find myself able to incorporate my love of the written word into my professional life on a daily basis. I also wanted to be someone who makes a difference to the people around them, and I strive to achieve that every day."

Best professional advice: "My friend and partner Mark Carlin, Lockton executive vp, told me: 'What got you to this point will keep you from becoming what you need to be. It's essential to constantly challenge yourself; be honest about what you can do better and do it.'"

Advice to young women: "Believe in yourself. Don't let anyone set limits for you or define who you are or what you can achieve. It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. Be a constant student of our business and of your client's business. Take risks--you can't grow if you don't. Trust your instincts, they're right more often than you can possible imagine. Find an organization in your community that you believe in and get involved. Work hard. Always give 110% or more. Dream big."

Crystal V. Hover

Crystal V. Hover

Chief, Employee Benefits and Services

County of San Bernardino

San Bernardino, Calif.

Age: 43

Crystal V. Hover graduated as a political science major from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1986. After graduation, she worked for the Social Security Administration for 11 years, holding various positions in the Hollywood, Calif., office. Ms. Hover joined Kemper Insurance Co. in 1997 as senior operations manager based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., leaving in 2004 to become account manager of the expatriate benefits division at CIGNA International in Claymont, Del. She joined San Bernardino County in 2006. In her current position, Ms. Hover is responsible for all employee benefits and services including the administration, vendor management, contracting and pricing negotiations for the health and welfare plans for 18,000 active employees and 8,000 retirees. Ms. Hover holds the Certified Employee Benefits Specialist designation.

Best professional advice: "Don't be good, be great. Understand what management and your organization need and expect from you and deliver on that understanding. Strive to exceed expectations when it makes sense, but when good enough has to do, don't try to achieve greatness."

Professional role model: "I've been fortunate enough to have many people in my career who have influenced me in positive ways. One in particular was the woman who hired me in to the private sector. She was the senior vp of the company and one of the most basic, down-to-earth people but had great respect and influence while being inclusive of others' concerns. I was always impressed by the fact that she rarely divulged her title when she introduced herself, but people quickly determined that she was the key decision maker."

Advice to young women: "First, realize that success is not gender based. Learn to find common ground with everyone you work with. Be willing to take on odd jobs and projects that no one else wants to do. Become an expert in your field."

Julianne Jessup

Julianne Jessup

Senior Executive and Head of Industry Analysis and Research, Investor Relations, and Global Marketing and Communications

Benfield Group Ltd.


Age: 46

Best known for her leadership role in establishing Benfield Group Ltd.'s investment banking-grade industry research for the global reinsurance industry, Julianne Jessup was one of the first female reinsurance brokers at Lloyd's of London. With more than two decades of experience, Ms. Jessup is a member of Benfield's executive leadership team overseeing industry research, investor relations, marketing and communications. She began her insurance career in 1983 as a graduate trainee with a Lloyd's brokerage firm. After three years as a broker working in the aviation and construction markets, she moved to the investment banking sector as an equity analyst specializing in insurance. After a decade in investment banking, she was invited to join Benfield.

Professional role model: "When I started out at London broker Stewart Wrightson L.L.C. in the early 1980s, women had only just been admitted to the Lloyd's market. I was mentored by some of the first women brokers ever to work in Lloyd's. Even now I look back at these women with admiration for their tenacity and professionalism in what was then a fairly hostile environment."

Advice to young women: "Don't allow yourself to be limited by the preconceptions of others. Aim high."

What would you change: "Better collective communication. It seems the bigger the paid loss, the worse the press."

Cindy Keaveney

Cindy Keaveney

Executive Vp

Aon Consulting Inc.

Radnor, Pa.

Since joining Aon Consulting Inc. in 1999, Cindy Keaveney has been responsible for developing and improving client services. As one of her first tasks, she set up a new practice, Workforce Strategies, that provides health, absence and productivity management consulting services dedicated to improving financial and operational results for large accounts. Over the past 18 months, Ms. Keaveney has led establishment of Aon Consulting's key account management group, which is dedicated to strategic sales and management of services in the global corporate market. Her efforts were demonstrated as the group exceeded its strategic sales objective by 35% in its first year of operation. Ms. Keaveney has served on advisory councils for the Institute for Health and Productivity Management as well as Harvard Medical School's Health Performance Questionnaire. She's also served on the board of directors of the Integrated Benefits Institute.

Best professional advice: "Start with extraordinary talent and the results will follow. Exploit the strengths and gifts in others. Spend time promoting the things that people do really well and coach with directness and fairness."

Professional role model: "My mother was my role model and taught me many things that have incredible professional applicability. Examples include taking risks, being true to your values, searching for the humor in most things and encouraging others along the way."

Advice to young women: "Strive to find the right fit for yourself. Realize who you are and what inspires you. Lead out with confidence; stay human; be approachable; and seek diverse, challenging assignments that will broaden your skill base."

Ruth Kilduff

Ruth Kilduff

Managing Principal

Integro Insurance Brokers Ltd.


Age: 57

Ruth Kilduff began her insurance career with St. Paul Cos. in 1978 as a health care risk management consultant after seven years as a registered nurse for Shrine Burn Institute in Boston. She joined InterQual Inc. in 1983 as a medical staff consultant and then joined Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, where she was vp-quality support services with responsibility for risk management. She joined Marsh Inc. in 1997 as its national senior care practice leader and rose to become a managing director in 2004. With expertise in professional liability, alternative risk financing and risk consulting, Ms. Kilduff joined Integro Insurance Brokers Ltd. in 2006 to launch its East Coast health care practice. Since then, she has assembled a team of six brokers and consultants, who have provided brokerage, program advisory and risk consulting services to numerous health care alternative risk financing programs. She also serves on philanthropic boards that include the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center, which is dedicated to improving relationships between health care providers, their patients and families.

Professional role model: "First, my dad who ran a flower shop with my mom and was an entrepreneur before his time. He instilled in me the confidence that I could do whatever I set my mind to do. My husband, Jay, who always challenges me through his work ethic to take it to the next level. And finally, Catherine Tower, who was a nursing leader and my mentor for many years. She believed that the art and science of nursing prepares a person for any career, and she taught me to put my hand up and say, 'I can do that.'"

Best professional advice: "Listen carefully; always give the benefit of the doubt; the spoken word can never be retracted; learn, learn, learn; and do the right thing."

Early aspirations: "A nun, a doctor and a lawyer...and there must be a joke in there somewhere."

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