Breaking the glass ceiling in a dynamic business
Hardy traces the beginnings of her career to two opportunities she encountered while studying at Emory University. One of them was working for the House Committee on Insurance at the Georgia General Assembly when the Captive Insurance Company Act was passed. Another worked on risk retention groups for aviation clients for a large brokerage firm.
“[Those] Opportunities have shown me how diverse the industry is and how much insurance and risk management can make a difference in the economy as a whole, ”she said.
In her current roles as CEO of organizations that provide property insurance to North Carolina residents unable to obtain insurance in the private market, she leads the advancement of disaster preparedness and resilience among policyholders. She stressed that in a hurricane-prone area, “keeping communities intact and helping people return to their homes is critical to our mission”.
One of NCJUA-NCIUA’s programs is helping policyholders connect with an appraiser who can help them switch to using paved roofs that help protect buildings from weather disturbances. The organization’s programs make it possible to avoid losses and achieve cost savings as policyholders benefit from homes that are more likely to withstand storms and other natural disasters. NCJUA-NCIUA also works with universities to study the fragility of roofs, the effectiveness of paved roofs, and people’s motivation to care for their homes. Additionally, NCJUA-NCIUA is calling for laws to pass tax exemptions for consumer grants so that all of the money can be spent on containment so coastal communities and states can deal effectively with natural disasters. Hardy believes that resilient building is important as it cuts the waiting time for contractors and allows customers to handle shortages in supplies of wood and other building materials, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In terms of her professional success, she recognizes the importance of mentoring and continuous learning. Another key role is taking on tasks outside of your job description and volunteering for larger company projects. Success, she says, is less about climbing a career ladder step by step than about taking lateral steps. In her case, such a move is “a move from running a national product to running a national product and as a business owner of a large IT initiative”.
“Dealing with different projects and roles has helped me prepare to become a company’s CEO,” she said.
Looking back at the lessons she learned from dealing with the effects of hurricanes, Hardy recalls her staff’s motto: “[our work is] ‘a mission, not a position’, which is what made our entire organization stand out in this role of first aider, because if we got money out the door, we could rebuild churches and restore life. “
In addition to this responsibility, she supports the University of North Carolina School of Law’s Director Diversity Initiative, which helps companies find qualified candidates for their board of directors to ensure racial, ethnic and gender diversity.
“[If] If you look at diversity research, diversity really pays off. It helps with financial performance as well [enhances] Shareholder Value, ”she says.
Hardy encourages women to believe in themselves and “be ready to take on new and different tasks”. The turning point in her career was her decision to become involved in catastrophe bond issuance, an area in which she had no experience but was still successful “Mentoring Others” as well as collaborating with colleges or professional groups.
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