When the company was sold two years ago, how did it impact you?
When Marsh came to us, we really didn’t know why we would want to sell a 100-year-old company, but our CEO thought we should at least listen to what they had to say. We learned that we could operate autonomously as a subsidiary inside Marsh. Our focus is on the middle market, and we are now benefiting from being part of Marsh.
What are some of the benefits?
It’s provided more opportunities for young leaders in the company. Several of our staff have received promotions as a result of the sale. I’m on the Strategic Leadership Committee, so I’m on the inside. I’m also the liaison who facilitates our business dealings with Marsh.
What is your background?
Marsh recruited me to come to San Diego from Orange County to run the sales office. It was a difficult time for me, as I had just suffered a miscarriage. When I became pregnant again, my husband and I decided that one of us had to take care of the family. Since I had the better job, he retired at age 30 and took on the role of stay-at-home dad. Our daughter was a year old and I was expecting my second child by then. It was a difficult pregnancy—the doctor put me in bed rest for seven months! The desk in my office was removed and a hospital bed replaced it. Every day I would come to the office, get in my office bed, and conduct my business from there.
How did you get to Barney & Barney?
In 2006 I left Marsh and joined Barney & Barney. At that time we had 200 employees and we have now tripled that number. So once again I’m affiliated with Marsh, in a much different role. I report to our CEO, Paul Hering, and I serve on the Management Committee. I oversee sales for our business. I like this role and I think I’m good at it. The most rewarding part of my job is for me to see one of our people succeed. It does take a village to grow these people, and my job is to organize the village.
There is a direct correlation between how hard you work and the reward system.
How do you see your future?
Right now I am contemplating my future. It’s very uncertain, because I just don’t know where I want to go.
Have you suffered any setbacks?
When I was working with a group largely of men and coming from the outside, it proved to be a tough transition. I had to earn their respect.
How do you support other women who are on their way up?
I am one of the founders of GROW, a women’s initiative focused on attracting, retaining, educating, and supporting the women in our company. We started this program six years ago; we just launched nationally inside Marsh, and so far it has exceeded my expectations.
Do you have enough female leaders?
We are getting more. There are not a lot of women in the sales organization, because we just don’t get many applicants. It’s a good place to be, but you have to invest for the first few years. There is a direct correlation between how hard you work and the reward system.
What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment?
When we doubled the size of this company in the seven years in our plan. My job has been to continue to grow the company and I’m proud to see that happen.