Last year has been really interesting from an innovation standpoint, DeLong said, because everyone was in the same position: finding a way to do house rules while doing other tasks. Some had elderly parents or other family members to look after; others were home alone struggling with isolation; and many people were at home with their children, with childcare and virtual learning alongside their jobs.
During this experience, men often reported that they had never spent so much hands-on time raising their children, and DeLong believes this opened the eyes of many and created more empathy for what people with families did during a pandemic or otherwise go through. Working from home or alternating between work, which used to be viewed with skepticism at work, has become critical for the vast majority of employees – especially women.
DeLong worked with a woman who was homeschooling her children during the lockdown, while her husband was still physically going to work. She loved the fact that her insurance job had no fixed hours – so she could take care of childcare and homeschooling until her husband got home and then do most of her work in the evenings.
“The great thing about the technology is that we don’t miss a thing,” said DeLong. “There‘There’s a lot more support for women than when I got into the industry almost 25 years ago, especially those trying to raise families or support older parents. It’s been a male-dominated industry for years, and women don’t see it as the opportunity it can be. “
When DeLong was young, she thought that working in insurance meant being an agent. “That was my limited perspective,” she laughs – and is now committed to having discussions about different career prospects in high school while promoting diversity on a broad front.
“We need to keep promoting young people’s interest in this industry through a variety of methods, ”she said. “How do we attract more people into the insurance industry and show them what a great opportunity this can be for their careers? That is a question that we have to answer. “
The fact that there are now accepted talent not only in New York, Chicago, LA, and San Francisco should help, said DeLong, a panelist at the “Innovation: Evolving as an Insurance Market” session at the Women In Insurance Chicago event “. The use of technology and flexible working hours means “we can look for talent anywhere,” and DeLong hopes this means more women find their way into leadership roles in the insurance industry.
Cyber is an outlier in insurance, about 50% female executives, and DeLong’s theory is, “That’s because it wasn’t really exciting at one point, but as women we saw that we had a unique perspective When she talks to her coworkers about how they got on the Internet, they all have a similar story – “That kind of Lean thing,” DeLong said – and a desire to go their own way.
“I hope we keep seeing more of this,” said DeLong. “We need women who continue to be heard and have the opportunity to share their unique perspective on work in general, but particularly in the insurance industry. Anything I can do to support that – I’ll be there. “
Hear what else Yosha has to say about leadership, innovation, and finding your own way at the Women In Insurance Chicago event on August 31st.