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NEW YORK — Marya Propis, senior vice president at Hunt Valley, Maryland-based wholesale brokerage All Risks Ltd., was recognized by the New York City Association of Insurance Women as Insurance Professional of the Year at a luncheon Friday in New York.
Ms. Propis, who is also chairperson of the Spencer Educational Foundation, was honored at a gathering of 270 insurance professionals at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park.
“Be happy in career and in life,” Ms. Propis told the gathering while accepting the award. “Hardship is often credited as the most profound teacher we have, and it is, but sometimes we overlook happiness and are quick to diminish it as less substantive as a learning tool for all of us.”
One dimension to being happy is aging as a woman, Ms. Propis told the gathering during her acceptance speech.
“This is something unique to women and perhaps another valuable lesson that we can learn from men, who seem to never focus on aging but only on the upside that comes with what we call experience,” she said.
“Life is hard, but finding a way to be happy and to fuse that into many areas of our lives where we struggle is a way to elevate ourselves and others,” she said.
Ms. Propis urged insurance professionals to leverage their emotional intelligence.
“It’s not just your IQ that gets you through the real world of tough insurance life, it also takes EQ or emotional intelligence to guide you through the interrelationships with the myriad of people we encounter in terms of empathy, insightfulness and listening skills,” Ms. Propis said.
“Thankfully, EQ is now commonly accepted as a critical skill set for both men and women in our industry today,” she said.
Ms. Propis also commended the New York City Association of Insurance Women for its work “to provide professional development to women in insurance” and for its “continued focus to give back to New York City and many charitable organizations.”
Ms. Propis was introduced by New York-based Debbie Morris, senior vice president for commercial lines at Verisk Analytics Inc., who described her as a “talent and magnet for top talent” and a “champion of inclusivity.”
The New York City Association of Insurance Women’s Insurance Professional of the Year is an annual award that honors an exceptional woman in the insurance and risk management industry. The recipient is selected by the board of the nonprofit association.
A student team from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia took first place over 27 other university teams to claim the 2019 Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge’s top honor Monday.