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President and CEO
Broadspire Services Inc.
There are women insurance leaders inside and outside Broadspire Services Inc. whose careers Danielle Lisenbey has helped foster and grow as she rose through the third-party administrator's ranks. Ms. Lisenbey was named Broadspire's CEO in 2012, becoming the first female member of parent Crawford & Co.'s global executive team in the company's 72-year history. Educated as an engineer, Ms. Lisenbey's insurance career began in 1991 as an operations supervisor. She worked her way up to her current job through Broadspire predecessor companies and served as chief operating officer of the TPA's medical management division before becoming CEO. Her recent accomplishments include helping with a company turnaround, making Broadspire profitable in 2012 for the first time since 2008. The professionals she leads in delivering workers compensation and medical management services include a Broadspire executive management team. Four of the team's seven members are women.
What's your advice for women entering this field?
It is an excellent career with growth opportunity. There is a shortage of new talent entering our industry and our field. So it affords huge opportunity, male or female, but particularly female because it has been a male-dominated space. That opens the door for women in the field. Learn as much as they can and build a strong network of relationships along the way because at the end of the day it's a relationship business, and women in general are strong at building relationships, and they can excel in various aspects.
What attracted you to this industry?
I was fortunate to fall into it. I answered a newspaper ad for a supervisor of operations position. I am an engineer by trade, and I had some entry-level supervision experience when I interviewed for the job. The owner of the company, which was named Medical Audit Services at the time, said, “I can teach you the industry, but really utilize your process engineering and interpersonal skills to improve operations,” and I have been with the company though all of its various iterations and owners for over 20 years since then. It was kind of in my wheelhouse, but I didn't sit back in college and think, “I am going to go into that industry.”
What aspects of your job give you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
There are two key components that give me a sense of accomplishment. One is obvious to my role: It's seeing the organization excel, whether it's from a financial perspective, client quality results perspective or new sales wins perspective. I am a bit competitive; actually, I am a lot competitive, and I like to see our team win. So when we have stellar results from those areas, it's a huge sense of accomplishment for me. The other aspect, which I think is more important, is that we are in the people business. So seeing my team professionally and personally excel is a huge sense of accomplishment, because that tells me as an organization we are doing the right thing.
What's the most important lesson you've learned in your career?
That is something I really preach: Always, always treat people how you want to be treated and respected, because we are in a relatively small industry compared to other industries. And you never know who may be your next boss, client, employee or business partner. We joke that there are only a hundred of us (TPAs). You have to keep that perspective, because you just never know. The other is stick to your guns even when your decision might not be the most popular but (it is) the right thing to do for the greater good of your organization and staff. Stick to your guns.”
Outside of family, what woman has been your role model?
I actually have several. From a historical, coming-up-through-the-ranks-and-starting-in-my-career perspective, Peg Haennicke was part of the Kemper (Insurance Cos.) organization. She is now retired. She built our disability line that we sold off to another insurer. She always cared for her staff. It's something I got to watch growing up in the Kemper family, how she excelled. More recently, I would say Eileen Auen, CEO and executive chair at Tampa, Fla.-based PMSI (Inc.). She entered this space about five years ago. She was on Business Insurance's Women to Watch list last year. She has been quite a role model for me. One more in general is (TV news anchor) Diane Sawyer. She was in a male-dominated industry. She always held her own. She was always very professional, positive, good sense of humor, respectful — great to watch her through the years as a female.
What's at the top of your bucket list and why?
Most people find this kind of strange but, I have never really left North America other than a couple of trips to the Philippines for work. So I have never traveled to places like Australia or Europe. I have taught my family that there is so much to see in North America. So we spent quite a few years traveling in the United States, Canada and Mexico. So I would really like to see the rest of the world, especially now that I am part of a major global organization.
What's your secret vice?
Foodwise, my secret vice is chocolate. Anyone who knows me knows I am in love with chocolate. I am a huge dog lover, and I have a chocolate lab that that just makes me smile. Whether I am hiking with him, playing catch with him or hanging out with him, that unconditional love is my vice. It calms me down. It puts things in perspective. It keeps things happy. At the end of the day, it makes me smile.
Business Insurance's annual Women to Watch feature recognizes women who are doing outstanding work in commercial insurance, risk and benefits management, and related fields, including consulting and law.