Women to Watch: 2007Posted On: Apr. 7, 2009 10:23 AM CST
Dickstein Shapiro L.L.P.
Linda D. Kornfeld has been managing partner of Dickstein Shapiro L.L.P.'s Los Angeles office since May 2005 and is a partner in the firm's insurance coverage practice, in which she represents policyholders in disputes with their insurers. Ms. Kornfeld previously was a name partner in the insurance coverage litigation specialist law firm Pasich & Kornfeld L.L.P., attorneys from which opened the Dickstein Shapiro Los Angeles office.
Coverage dispute approach: "Once a company is in litigation with its insurer and the parties go down that path, positions can become entrenched, making an amicable resolution difficult. My goal is to resolve my clients' disputes and recover insurance proceeds that are due, rather than spend their money in litigation. So, I work to develop a relationship with the attorneys on the other side to create a dialogue that allows us to talk through and resolve issues rather than fight about them when fights are not necessary. This approach has enabled me to negotiate substantial settlements on behalf of my clients."
Professional role model: "My mentor, Kirk Pasich. Kirk hired me early in my career. He is a brilliant, gentleman lawyer. He works hard and does excellent work, but better than any lawyer I know, he maintains constant balance and perspective. He treats everyone who crosses his path with great respect. For that reason, Kirk has garnered extreme loyalty from everyone with whom he has worked. Kirk sets a high standard by which to judge professional happiness and success. In an effort to achieve both, throughout my career, I have attempted to emulate Kirk's manner of dealing with the profession and those within it."
Advice to young women: "Women entering the profession should, one, be flexible with their career path and, two, embrace their innate skills as women. Throughout my career I have been willing to enter doors that opened, even if they did not lead where I planned to go professionally. Each time, I discovered more fulfilling business opportunities. I also believe that women can achieve success for their organizations and themselves by applying traits sometimes identified as more typically 'female.' Young women need not feel that to succeed they must be 'men in skirts.' Instead, they should embrace the different perspective they bring to the table."
Partner, Vice Chair
Gilbert Randolph L.L.P.
Rachel S. Kronowitz, a founding partner in the law firm Gilbert Randolph L.L.P. in 2001, is an all-purpose risk management attorney. She counsels corporate defendants and assists clients with developing strategic approaches to risk management, structuring insurance and risk transfer
portfolios, and recovering insurance for significant claims. She has successfully represented Fortune 100 companies in multibillion-dollar acquisitions, in coverage disputes with insurers over property, mass tort and shareholder claims, and in restructuring their organizations in the face of mass tort liabilities. Ms. Kronowitz also is involved in American Bar Assn. activities and community work.
Advice to young women: "I think I'd give them twofold advice. One is to find a really terrific mentor--someone who's really supportive and will push you really hard to do the best work you can do. And, it's very useful, I find it, to do things in the community, to get out in the community and get to know people. You contribute to the community and meet other, really terrific women at the top of their careers. It's important because the networking aspect of it is important, and it forges relationships with other women who are very supportive and act as a terrific sounding board both personally and professionally....It also feeds your soul."
Professional role model: "Probably my biggest role model is Scott Gilbert, chairman of Gilbert Randolph and the first person I would work with closely on the type of legal issues we work on today. He's a bit of a maverick. He's helped me with the fundamentals and thinking very strategically on how to help clients reach their goals. Often, there's not just one way. You have to think strategically and get there most effectively."
Best professional advice: "We often say at our firm--it's less advice I've gotten than advice I give, because I got it as a young lawyer--work hard, do well and have fun. If you don't have fun with what you do, you're not going to be as good at it."
Global Chief Economist and Risk Strategist
Guy Carpenter & Co. Inc.
Prior to her recent appointment as global chief economist and risk strategist for reinsurance intermediary Guy Carpenter & Co. Inc. in June 2007, Joan Lamm-Tennant served in different roles at General Reinsurance Corp. for 10 years. Most recently, she was president of the General Re Capital Consultants unit, advising insurance companies on various risk management issues, including enterprise risk management. Before launching her insurance industry career, Ms. Lamm-Tennant was the Thomas G. Labrecque Chair in business and a professor of finance at Villanova University. She continues to be involved in teaching as an adjunct professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Best professional advice: "It came from my father, who was a jeweler, and knew nothing about (the insurance) business. As a very young woman he said to me, 'whatever you do, be passionate about it, and you will be exceptional.' Very simple: love what you do."
Advice to young women: "I don't necessarily have specific advice for females different than males. To do their job description well, but, job descriptions are limiting. Do something innovative, and make sure that something has an impact on your organization."
Early aspirations: "My goal was not specific to a field, but it was to have an impact and make a difference on an organization--either academic, government or industry. My goal was to be relevant wherever I was."
Director of Risk Management
Liberty Mutual Group Inc.
Danielle Lenzi is responsible for an insurance portfolio of $1 billion in limits, negotiating terms and conditions and coverage structure, presenting results to executive leadership and directing and recommending alternative funding options such as a captive insurance program. She has worked in the property/casualty industry for almost 10 years. She received a juris doctorate degree in 2000 and master in insurance law degree in 2003 from the University of Connecticut.
Advice to young women: "Be open to change, challenge yourself and be a contributor in your current role otherwise it will be difficult to progress to the next level. Focus on doing the best job you can and reevaluate your career every two years to assess where you are and where you want to be. I think it would be nice if women had a stronger network."
Role of women in the industry: "I think (insurance is) a good place for women to work. It has a lot further to go. It's coming along, but there's probably a ways to go. I would definitely like to see more women occupying senior positions in the next 10 years."
Early aspirations: Ms. Lenzi debated pursuing a Masters in Business Administration or a law degree after receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration and a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Michigan State University in May 1997. "One thing I liked about insurance was that it was a good intersection between law and business."
TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc.
Lake Forest, Ill.
Responsible for coordinating all risk management activities worldwide at TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc., Melissa O. Leuck is also in charge of business system management and business continuity planning. Before joining TAP, she specialized in structuring and placing alternative risk programs and consulting on commodity, foreign exchange and financial market risk at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and energy merchant Aquila Inc. As a member of the Insurance Institute of America's Associate in Risk Management Advisory Committee, she's served as an outside author for the ARM 54 and 56 textbooks. To help guide future professionals, she is a part-time instructor at Concordia University in Mequon, Wis., teaching undergraduate and masters-level finance, economics and international business courses.
Advice to young women: "Feed your inner quant. Quantitative disciplines are at the core of risk and insurance. Take an extra course in actuarial science, applied mathematics, finance, probabilities or statistics. Solid quantitative skills will expand your career options and enhance the credibility of your work."
Professional role model: "Pamela Rogers (currently of Marsh USA) has advanced risk management as a corporate function with unwavering passion. Sara Benolken, presently of Willis North America Inc., embodies risk innovation while maintaining work-life balance. Both women are lifelong learners, with an intuitive sense of which questions to ask and how to listen. They actively serve as mentors to the next generation of risk professionals."
Early aspirations: "I wanted to be a CPA and work for the National Flood Insurance Program. The Midwest, including my hometown of Baraboo, Wis., was devastated by flooding during the summer of 1993. FEMA, NFIP, and state and local volunteers did an invaluable job clearing the destruction and financing Baraboo's recovery. I wanted to be a permanent part of the process."
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