We were honored to have Michelle Sartain as the keynote speaker at the PLUS Eastern Chapter’s Annual Industry Leaders Luncheon. Below are some of her comments from the event, as well as her list of seven lessons on leadership. Thank you to Michelle for her inspiring words, and thank you to all who attended!

Michelle is the Regional Specialty Leader for the US/Canada division of Marsh. In this role Michelle is responsible for delivering specialization to clients in the construction, energy and power, private equity, transactional risk, credit specialties, marine, aviation and FINPRO businesses. Michelle is also a member of the US and Canada executive committee of Marsh.

We need to come together as an industry to think about how changes in regulatory risk, litigation trends and ESG will lead to both new exposures as well as new solutions that the professional lines business is uniquely positioned to address. Risk resilience is a concept we need to bring into our lexicon as we help clients navigate through increasingly volatile times. As the landscape changes we need to challenge ourselves to innovate around the risks ahead.

An added benefit of market competition is that it causes us all to be more creative and focused on finding new ways to solve client problems. When competition increases, doing what worked last year to grow won’t necessarily yield the same results in the future.

7 Lessons:

1). It’s important to try to appreciate other peoples perspective and be kind.

2). You can be from anywhere, with any background and succeed in this industry, but it’s vital that we cultivate inclusive diversity. Strengthened by our diversity of thought and experience we will be able to navigate the changing risk landscape and thrive.

3). Appreciate what a great place Financial Lines is. Find opportunities to show up. Each interaction is chance to build your brand and your network. In all the ways the industry has changed what hasn’t changed is our focus on relationships. Don’t underestimate the influence that being in person can have on your career and the opportunities you find to develop and grow.

4). Hard work Matters and through the process of working hard and being curious you may find what motivates you. And when you do, the work no longer feels that hard and is much more rewarding.

5). Take Risks and bet on yourself. Be brutally honest about what your strengths are, where you need to develop and what is a stretch, but don’t underestimate your ability to continue to learn and grow into a role while developing the skills you need to succeed.

6). Finding time to enjoy the things that enrich you outside of work is necessary and vital, so find your balance. This is about your choices and there is no perfect balance that works for everyone. It is also likely to change over time as your circumstances change.

7). At its core, leadership isn’t about you. It’s about all of those people who look to you for vision, inspiration, motivation and guidance.