Carly’s Reflections on the 2015 CPCU Society Leadership Summit

This article 100% written and edited by Carly Burnham, RVP East Coast for Tony only added links and photos.

We’ve already written about why you should get your CPCU. And given you some tips on how to tackle it. Once you’ve earned your designation, the journey’s not over. Now you can participate in your local CPCU society and even get involved nationally.

Why? The Society offers many educational programs and opportunities to connect with other professionals. Both the leadership conference and the annual meeting offer these opportunities. My employer, Erie Insurance, is sponsoring my participation in the National New Designee Committee. Serving in this capacity requires my attendance at both of these meetings. Having just returned from the 2015 Leadership Conference, I wanted to share the highlights of my experience.  Here are my top 5 takeaways:


1. Use the conference as an opportunity to test your boundaries:

Participating in The Society at any level offers you the chance to try out skills you don’t use in your day to day. But, saying “yes” when asked to serve in a new role allows you to find hidden passions and skills or to actively develop skills you’ve been trying to acquire.


2. Refresh your knowledge:

Attending the leadership and technical seminars  will update or refresh you on industry critical information you can use back at the office.


3. Learn about resources The Institutes offers:

Attending sessions about The Institutes will alert you to ways they can help you in your day to day work or help your local CPCU chapter be more effective. In addition, other chapters often host seminars sharing their best practices.


4. Connect with other professionals:

As an introvert by nature, I have to consciously remind myself to say “Yes” to invitations. But I’m always happy when I do. The professionals who attend the conferences are great people who are truly invested in the industry. Sharing meals or going on a swamp tour with them is a wonderful way to get to know professionals from around the world and learn about their experiences on the industry.


5. Be inspired:

The general sessions often host well-know, charismatic speakers. For instance, the closing speaker this time was Erik Wahl. Most of the attendees didn’t even leave the presentation with dry eyes; he really moved the audience!  Finally, I always leave conferences feeling re-committed to the industry. I return to my desk with about a hundred new ideas to implement or research.

All images from our friend Theresa Fabella‘s twitter, since Carly is not big into taking photos.

If I met you in Fort Lauderdale, thank you for a great leadership conference! If not, I hope to see you in October in Indy!


About Carly Burnham

Carly Burnham began her insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. She got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how she fell in love with the industry. She saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. When Carly moved to Des Moines in 2010, she decided to commit to the industry, and she completed her CPCU in one year finishing it in 2012 and attending commencement in New Orleans. She completed her MBA at Iowa State University in 2014. During this time, she and Tony founded a Gen Y Associate Resource Group at Nationwide in Des Moines. After they had both left Nationwide, Tony recruited Carly to co-author and manage She has the difficult task of keeping his constant flow of crazy ideas focused and helping to flesh them out into useful articles. Carly enjoys sharing knowledge and ideas about the future of the industry and finds the website a good outlet for this passion. Carly is involved in the the CPCU Society Underwriting Interest Group. She also writes "Next Wave" a monthly column in the "Perspectives" section of Best's Review.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.