Q&A with Brooke Hunter:  Female Leadership in the Canadian Insurance Industry

Brooke Hunter is one of the most successful brokers in the Canadian property and casualty industry.  Ms. Hunter graciously agreed to be our inaugural subject of our Female Insurance Leadership Q & A series.  Thanks Brooke!
What characteristics do you possess that have directly contributed to your success as a female leader within the Canadian insurance industry?

 A genuine interest in how our industry benefits society and our economy creates a real sense of larger purpose for me.  Transmitting that belief with enthusiasm to anyone who will listen, be it Clients, Colleagues or the industry at large has forged a material component of my identity.   I suppose somewhere in the mix is thinking of myself as a leader and not a "female leader". Having said that, I am hugely supportive of helping women build the confidence necessary to find and express their voice.

What roadblocks have you encountered throughout your career?
To stay on theme, I never felt that my gender stood in the way of what I wanted to achieve. (And I wanted to achieve a lot!) That was perhaps delusional but worked well for me.  Liberal use of rose-coloured glasses actually gave me the ability to grind rough all sorts of roadblocks. Optimism is half the battle.

How would you rate the Canadian insurance industry’s willingness to develop female leadership talent?

I think that at the corporate level, some companies are doing a fantastic job.  From a broader perspective, I am  not sure I see a venue out there for supporting the development of female executive talent in the insurance industry.

What can the Canadian insurance industry do to encourage women working in insurance to pursue leadership opportunities?

Outside of a purpose-built association, perhaps we look at creating an insurance niche within one of the existing executive women associations.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger insurance self?

To the 25 year old Brooke, I'd say:  Stop smoking, swear less, smile more!  All of which my younger self would promptly ignore!