As the insurance industry continues to evolve, it’s crucial to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in this traditionally male-dominated field. The recent Women in Insurance Summit held in New York brought together inspirational women and their allies to discuss important topics and empower one another. Throughout the conference, panelists shared their insights and experiences, highlighting the power of vulnerability, networking, and future talent in the insurance industry.

Embracing Vulnerability

One of the key themes discussed during the Women in Insurance Summit was the importance of embracing vulnerability. Kelly Palmese, manager of claims at At-Bay, shared her experience during a panel discussion on ‘Fighting fatigue.’ She emphasized how the supportive environment of the conference encouraged her to be open and vulnerable when sharing her own challenges and experiences. Palmese’s takeaway from the event was the realization that everyone is on different paths and doing different things, but the ability to come together and support one another is truly amazing.

Laura Hoensch, deputy general counsel at One80 Intermediaries, also reflected on the power of vulnerability. As a first-time attendee of the Women in Insurance conference, she expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to connect with peers in the industry. Hoensch found the topics discussed at the conference to be enriching, and she appreciated the reminder that there are always opportunities to learn and grow, regardless of how long one has been interested and invested in a particular topic.

The Strength of Networking

Networking emerged as another crucial aspect of the Women in Insurance Summit. The conference provided a platform for women in the industry to connect, share experiences, and learn from one another. Ellen Greiper, partner at Wilson Elser, highlighted the significance of events like this, as they offer women the opportunity to understand that they all face similar challenges and burdens. By sharing their experiences, women can teach each other how to navigate and succeed in the industry while breaking the glass ceiling.

Angela Schaefer, vice president and chief human resources officer at Safety National, emphasized the importance of connection and guidance for women in the insurance industry. She observed that women are seeking additional support and opportunities for growth, and events like the Women in Insurance Summit provide a space for them to connect with colleagues, peers, and partners across the insurance ecosystem. Schaefer found it inspiring to witness the engagement and enthusiasm of attendees, particularly those who are newer in their careers and eager to learn and excel.

Empowerment and Future Talent

Empowerment and the development of future talent were prominent themes at the Women in Insurance Summit. The keynote speech by Wendy Booker, an adventurer, author, and MS advocate, resonated with attendees. Laura Hoensch found Booker’s message particularly impactful, as it reminded her that achieving goals may require taking a different path than originally anticipated. Booker’s speech also emphasized the importance of doing what one enjoys, as fears and stresses can fade away while engaging in activities that bring fulfillment.

The summit also served as an opportunity for women to discuss diversity and inclusion in the insurance industry. Ellen Greiper, who delivered a powerful keynote address at a previous Women in Insurance event, emphasized the significance of representation and calling out poor behaviors or company cultures. Greiper’s experience in breaking the glass ceiling was made possible by her community, and she continues to uplift those around her, witnessing their success and dedication to serving clients.


The Women in Insurance Summit celebrated the achievements, resilience, and power of women in the insurance industry. It provided a platform for vulnerability, networking, and empowerment. The conference showcased the diverse paths and experiences of women in the field, highlighting the importance of supporting one another and breaking barriers. As the industry continues to evolve, it is essential to celebrate and recognize the contributions of women, fostering an inclusive and empowering environment for future talent.