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Kimberly Waller

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Kimberly Waller

Executive Vice President
Willis North America Inc.
Chicago
Age: 51



Kimberly Waller is executive vice president of Willis North America Inc., where she is co-leader of Willis Open, a practice group launched in March that focuses on meeting the growing demand by public entities and businesses for supplier diversity solutions. Before joining Willis in December 2012, Ms. Waller spent 22 years with Aon P.L.C., where she started as a production underwriter, which ultimately led to becoming a managing director. She began her career in insurance with Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., before which she was an economist with the federal government.



What's your advice for women entering this field?

Take your relationships seriously. Know that it's a very small world and it's important to do the right thing. Everything has a way of coming full circle.



What attracted you to this industry?

I was introduced to the industry following my first career as an economist with the federal government. I had an opportunity to transition from the public to the private sector through a training program with the Hartford. The insurance industry allowed me to blend my knowledge of the economy and business with principles of risk assessment and mitigation. I love the integration of both of these disciplines.



What aspects of your job give you the greatest sense of accomplishment?

I get the greatest sense of accomplishment in being able to work with dynamic, smart people. When it's done right, together we are able to change the way business is typically done, win new business and make a significant impact.



What's the most important lesson you've learned in your career?

I have learned the importance of working hard, keeping your promises and valuing my business relationships.



Outside family, what woman has been your role model?

There are a number of women who have served as role models for me. I am inspired by the young women entering the industry with energy and enthusiasm. I am inspired by seasoned women professionals who have served as trailblazers. There are so many amazing women to learn from. It would take pages and pages for me to name them all.



What's at the top of your bucket list and why?

At the top of my professional bucket list is my goal to work with successful women entrepreneurs in the industry to help them to grow to earn a spot on the top 50 of insurance firms in the country. You see, because if I am successful in doing that, we all win.



What's your secret vice?

Potato chips and French fries.