2009 Women to Watch: Pamela R. CollinsPosted On: Dec. 6, 2009 12:00 AM CST
President and Founder
Collins Consulting Inc.
Pamela R. Collins launched Collins Consulting Inc. in 1992 and has been serving the insurance industry in a variety of roles since then. The Decatur, Ga.-based consulting firm founded by the certified public accountant works with a range of clients that include insurance companies, insurance regulators, captive insurance companies, public entity risk pools and investors. The company offers financial analyses, underwriting and claims reviews, and statutory financial examinations. More recently, Collins Consulting has focused on operational reviews by working with directors who have tapped Ms. Collins to analyze and "investigate" firms on the board's behalf. Under her guidance, she says the firm has earned a reputation for its ability to “dig deep” and “find the facts” to help clients achieve results.
How you got into the industry: As an auditor with KPMG, I was assigned to the insurance industry and I immediately fell in love with it. I was working with a lot of risk retention groups and government insurance pools, and the concepts really grabbed me. But I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur, so I started Collins Consulting because I saw a niche. At the time, many of the clients I was conducting audits for had a lot of other projects on their desks that they needed help with. That's when I knew I had something, and I always knew I would be successful. My first project was helping a group of orthopedic surgeons form a captive insurance company, and it just grew from there.
Best professional advice you've received: Never be afraid to show the facts. There are times when I know the information I'm going to present will create some pretty uncomfortable situations, but as long as I have the facts to support it, I won't hold back. It's advice that has served us well.
Your professional role model: There weren't a lot of women doing what I did 20 years ago, so I had to figure a lot out on my own, but I have been inspired by a woman named Carol Walters who founded a nonprofit organization called the Women's Caring Program. She grew a small networking event into an organization that has helped hundreds of families pay for child care. I served on the foundation's audit committee for about five years. Carol really demonstrated to me that it is possible to combine your passions—have a great career, have a great family life, be a leader—and love every minute of it. She was very inspirational.
Advice for women entering the field: Find your moral compass and stick to it. You will never go wrong.
What you wanted to be professionally while growing up: I always wanted to be a private investigator and, in a way, now I am a private investigator for the industry.
Best book you've read recently: "Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love" by Betsy Prioleau. It was inspiring to read about so many women who bucked the system. Also, it's not as steamy as it sounds.
Phone or e-mail and why: Phone. I like to make the personal contact.