What drew you to the captive space?
I was drawn to the captive space because clients and prospective clients had the freedom to choose their own counsel and to truly control aspects of their defense, which was not always the case in the traditional insurance market.
What do you like most about the insurance industry/the captive niche?
As a healthcare provider myself I love the area of professional liability defense. The captive sector plays an important role in this area of law for healthcare providers who need to contain costs and who want more control than traditional insurance programs offer over decisions that impact them personally.
Were there any clear moments of unique learning during your career that changed how you view the world?
I realized at various points in my career that female attorneys have an uphill battle in the private practice of law, particularly when it comes to gaining insurance defense opportunities in the niche area of medmal/long-term care insurance defense. When graduating from law school I felt that I would have equal opportunities as my male colleagues, but many of my experiences in private practice over the last 25 years made me realize that women attorneys in private practice have to find ways to navigate and create opportunities for themselves.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
My father always told me, it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice!
What is the advice you would want to have known at the beginning of your career?
You never know when a past connection can help open doors for you or close them!
What’s the worst career advice you’ve received?
I was told to be careful discussing my career path and that I should downplay the impact being a registered nurse had on my career advancement. This was so I wouldn’t offend attorneys in my area of law that did not have this dual background. I am proud of my dual background and I believe women should never downplay the important and valuable strengths they have such as the degrees and licenses that they worked so hard to obtain. My nursing degree has created opportunities for me (and for my staff) in law and in alternative insurance programs that I would have never received without it, so I will never downplay it.
Do you feel as if you have made a difference in the industry? How so?
Definitely! My dual background as a nurse and an attorney has given me the opportunity to help healthcare providers with alternative insurance options in professional liability defense for 16 years. I also work every day to be an example for women entrepreneur attorneys in this industry who aspire to own their own businesses/law firms. There are not many of us and without organizations and connections like Amplify Women, it is a tough market.
How would you encourage other women to get involved and supported in achieving success in this space?
I would tell them to reach out to other women in the industry for help gaining opportunities. In my opinion, women need to be better at helping women in this industry and seeing their true value. When women in the industry ask for help gaining opportunities, we need to be better advocates and mentors for them. I meet women leaders in the industry every day who could have a significant impact on other women but when they are asked, they don’t jump at the opportunity, which is a tragedy to me. I tell women who want help to keep asking for opportunities and I would tell women in the position to help, to always make time for those asking for help or opportunities. The women asking for opportunities are truly trailblazers!
What are some goals you achieved that shaped who you are today personally and/or professionally?
I started my own law firm in 2007 to represent healthcare providers (physicians and long-term care entities) in professional liability defense for a risk retention group. Today I have a successful record as one of the oldest women-owned law firms in the state of Indiana in this niche area of practice. My firm has existed for 16 years and I am very proud of this.
How important is mentorship (or reverse mentorship) for your career or the careers of others?
I am not sure that there is anything more important than mentorship. I will never forget those that have mentored me in my career. I remain in touch today with those that mentored me 25 years ago and I still need to be mentored every day. We are always learning new things and we always have plenty to teach others. Mentoring always works both ways!