Takeaways from the 2016 CPCU Society Leadership Summit

Tony is a firm believer that a Superman shirt selfie is the proper way to kickoff any event!

Last year, we shared some tips on how to make the most of the CPCU Society Leadership Summit. This year, we were both able to attend, and we Live-Tweeted many of the sessions that we attended using the hashtag  #CPCU16.  We left the conference motivated and excited about the future of the industry. The Leadership Summit is both an opportunity to attend educational sessions to improve your leadership skills and a working meeting to direct the future of CPCU Society at the local and national levels. Here are 5 of the biggest takeaways after our time in San Antonio:


1. Leaders in Our Industry are Recognizing the Need to Adapt:

We’ve written before sharing some ideas of how to improve the industry and what it might look like in the years to come.  As many new entrants (and some veterans) to the industry will tell you, it sometimes feels like change comes at a turtle’s pace.  Adapting to new technologies takes longer than in other industries, recognizing a changing workforce may also be slower, not to mention embracing these new trends. However, the sessions we attended included many conversations about how we need to become more agile. In one working meeting we attended, Generation Z was given a nod-the leader of the meeting shared with us that while we still have strides to make with Millennials, we need to start thinking about how to get ahead of the ball with Generation Z. This is an exciting time to be in the industry, and all of us can contribute to improving and leading the changes that are necessary in keeping the industry vital.


2. Nothing Beats Face to Face Networking:

Even our resident introvert Carly, leaves conferences feeling re-energized and excited about the industry. Part of this excitement is getting to know the great people who are in the industry working towards the same goals that we are. Hearing about their journeys to become a CPCU and to get to where they are today is very inspiring. Sharing ideas as to how you can improve yourself or a process back at the office is energizing. While there is a lot to learn in the sessions you attend at any conference, don’t forget to spend time with your colleagues outside of these meetings, getting to know them at a personal level is the way you solidify those connections and maximize every positive aspect of the relationship.

3. Opportunities for Local Chapter Leaders to Collaborate with Leaders from Other Chapters are Valuable:

Both of us are active in the CPCU Society nationally and locally. The Society is volunteer led. On the local level, you can feel like you’re in a vacuum. It is great experience to be able to shape the industry conversation in your region, to organize events, and to help professionals grow in their careers. Having the opportunity to connect at the Leadership Summit and hear the strategies that other Chapters are using to engage Society Members is important as it allows cross pollination of ideas and wide sharing of best practices. We learn about the events that others are hosting, the communication strategies, and the plans for the future in ways that are challenging to do through survey data.


4. Being Involved in the Society is Extremely Beneficial to One’s Career:

Both of us have benefited by finding our most recent opportunities through CPCU Society connections and we’re not alone, many of the leaders we talked with at the Summit shared similar stories. Beyond the connections you will make, the opportunities to exercise skills that are outside of your day to day job are substantial. Any event you attend that is sponsored by the Society either locally or nationally will be educational, and there are many resources through the Society that are free to members: a newsletter, webinars, and a website full of information.



5. Your Fellow Society Members Care:

Finally, insurance is an industry based on relationships. Building these relationships helps you trust that leaders in the industry want to do the right thing.  And it’s great to have friends throughout the country who understand the industry you work in and who know you personally.  We’ve found that this can help you stay engaged in your day to day work.  Knowing that you’ll be seeing these people in a few months, and you’ll be able to check in on the work they were doing and share updates about your experiences, you’ll want to do the best you can between now and then.

If you haven’t yet finished your CPCU, check out our tips on getting it done!  Once you’ve completed your designation, get involved in the Society locally and consider national service.  You won’t regret it!

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 InsNerds.com. 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.

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