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CEO of Aon Exchange Solutions and president of client solutions and strategy
Cary Grace knows how to spot an opportunity. Ms. Grace was working at Bank of America when she realized the skills she honed while holding several leadership positions at the bank would serve her well as insurance brokerages looked to establish exchanges for employee health and retirement benefits.
In 2012, Ms. Grace joined Aon Hewitt, where she currently serves as CEO of Aon Exchange Solutions and as Aon Hewitt's president of client solutions and strategy.
“Running institutional and consumer businesses in banking positioned me as well as anything to come into my current role,” she said. “What excited me about Aon is that when I looked at the changes that were happening in the industry and the changes that some employers were going through, Aon had all the component parts in a scaled way in order to guide their clients.”
Ms. Grace oversees Aon's private health exchange for active employees, Aon Active Health Exchange, as well as the company's retirement benefits exchange, Aon Retiree Exchange. Both exchanges have flourished under her watch, with the Aon Active Health Exchange now claiming 18 large employers and 600,000 covered U.S. employees and their families.
Nonetheless, she is quick to share credit, saying the company's existing people, technology and clients all played a part in the success of the exchanges.
“Employers are trying to find the right balance between offering robust benefits and at the same time getting employees more engaged in benefit decisions,” Ms. Grace said. “I am really interested in enabling a set of solutions in the marketplace that lead to sustainably better outcomes.”
Matt Levin, executive vice president and head of global strategy for Aon P.L.C., said Ms. Grace's knowledge and leadership have been instrumental to the success of Aon's private health exchange.
“Cary has helped us design a consumer-oriented approach to helping individuals choose their health benefits that is well-received by our clients and their employees and retirees,” Mr. Levin said.
For women looking to her for advice, Ms. Grace advises a healthy dose of optimism.
“Don't be so hard on yourself,” she said. “Sometimes people — men, too, but especially women — will look at the bar and think, "It's too high, so why even try?' But chances are you will able to raise the bar a lot higher than you thought you would be able to.”
By Bill Kenealy