Championing Women Every Day

Championing Women Every Day

By Sara Ametrano

 

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Choose to Challenge. We are seeing strides in the workforce; we are more diverse than ever, but we must continue to challenge and shape the future.

Trisura’s staff is 52% women strong, with several being influential members of Trisura’s leadership team. Women are difference-makers, and we stand by their personal and professional growth, as well as support their important initiatives.

We all know that the pandemic has posed unique challenges, including forcing companies and individuals to adapt to a new business landscape. Our team acted quickly towards navigating operations remotely and were there to assist our broker partners with any concerns they had. In fact, one of our very own underwriters, Emily Thompson, was the recipient of the 2020 Underwriter of the Year award from Insurance Business Canada, a reflection of her efforts to quickly streamline business and find solutions during the pandemic.

One of the people behind the faces of Trisura is our senior vice-president of Human Resources, Cindy Grant. Cindy works to ensure every element of the organization is a step above, from bringing top talent on board to managing Trisura’s philanthropic initiatives. An accomplished individual with a colourful career in the financial services sector, Cindy is an inspirational leader and her door is always open to everyone, whether it’s a work-related matter or simply to catch up.

“I am passionate about celebrating women in business and building inclusive workplaces where women thrive,” Cindy says. “Choose to challenge yourself–to learn, to grow, to teach.”

Women are an integral part of the workforce, and we honour them today and continue to be inspired by their drive and dedication.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Woman Up!

Woman Up!

By Sara Ametrano

Every year on March 8th, countries all over the world celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s a day to recognize women’s personal and professional achievements as well as the daily challenges they face. The event’s theme this year is #EachforEqual.

Marilyn vanGansewinkel, vice-president, specialty insurance solutions, Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company“I look at the team we have [at Trisura] and am proud of the diversity of the team and the skillset that they bring to the table,” Marilyn vanGansewinkel, Trisura’s senior vice president of specialty insurance solutions, says. Over her 23-year career in the specialty insurance industry, Marilyn has seen a great deal of change. She began as an underwriting assistant, and at that time, nearly all administrative/assistant positions belonged to women.

Today, the industry has considerably changed, with women holding many senior positions at insurance companies and brokerages alike. Hiring a candidate has transitioned from the gender associated with a specific job to focusing more on the qualifications of the individual applying. The opportunities in the workforce continue to grow, and Marilyn is excited to see how women will seize them. “While hiring people, I am continually impressed with how driven women are now. They know what they want and where they want to go.”

Women have a critical role in their own success and the success of their peers. In fact, there are certain advantages that come with being a woman. “Women are excellent at being empathetic,” she explains. “This makes them good at listening to any challenges the person that they are talking to might be dealing with.”

Marilyn firmly believes it is important to surround oneself with influential and dynamic people – and there’s no shortage of this in the insurance industry. In fact, the people she crosses paths with while working is one of the things she likes most about the industry. Along with hard work, she credits several female and male colleagues and managers she’s worked with over the course of her career with helping her get to where she is now. She believes that she was given opportunities throughout her career to move into more challenging roles as they presented themselves.

Speaking from her own personal experience, Marilyn acknowledges that although being a mother while working can appear daunting, it’s all about finding the right balance. “Be present wherever you are, whether it’s at work or at home,” she advises.

Trisura’s President & CEO, Chris Sekine, has known Marilyn for over two decades. He applauds her support of those around her and is excited to see the impact women will continue to have in the workforce:

I have known Marilyn for well over 20 years, and as one the original Trisura employees from 2006, her leadership qualities and character are an integral part of Trisura’s DNA today. She is and has always been a tremendous mentor to many of our employees, both women and men. In addition to Marilyn, Trisura has been fortunate to attract many empowered and strong women into senior leadership positions since our beginning. Janet Mascitelli, who is now retired, ran our surety business in Toronto and Donna Anderson started our surety business in the Prairies. Rebekah Alberga, is our General Counsel and started our claims team in Toronto. The list goes on, and it also includes Cindy Grant, our Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Pina Mazzoli our Senior Vice President of Digital Distribution and Marketing.

 

As a father of two daughters nearing the start of their own careers, empowering women is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Our next generation of leaders have to be comprised of more women—our daughters. The more women we can inspire to be leaders, the greater the talent pool that organizations can draw from will be, which will bring diversity in thinking and formulation of strategy. Organizations that can effectively empower women will have a great strategic advantage.

From the start of her career to now, Marilyn has seen women’s confidence flourish, and it’s one of the things she’s most proud of, saying, “Women know what they want, and now they go for it.” She encourages women to continue to seize the opportunities that come their way. “Be confident. Don’t be scared to ask for what you want–there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious. Rise up and deliver.”

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

It’s International Women’s Day, and Trisura Guarantee wants to say thank you to all our female trailblazers. Hardworking, inspirational and talented, the women of Trisura are at the top of their game, often receiving praise from around the industry for their work in the office and in their communities.

In honour of today, Trisura is shining the spotlight on a dedicated individual who has been with the organization since its first year–our head of commercial surety, Pina Mazzoli.

Pina’s story didn’t start off in this industry. She received an English literature degree from York University and started off her career as an English teacher in an international private school. Her surety journey began through a family friend. She applied for a position United States Fidelity and Guaranty, a large, multinational company that was opening an operation in Canada. Through several amalgamations and merges, Pina had progressed to national senior underwriter of commercial surety for Travelers Canada. These steps brought her to Trisura, and as she puts it, “the rest is history.”

Throughout her career, Pina has had a multitude of proud accomplishments. She has built a successful commercial surety practice, developing online solutions to make products more efficient and cost effective. Pina also tipped her hat to her colleagues, saying, “I am so proud of the team of people who constantly challenge the way we do things and think of ways to the business better.”

CEO Mike George has worked with Pina since 2006. He witnessed the industry transform because of her leadership and innovation, and he is confident in the positive influence she has on her peers:

In my mind, Pina is without a doubt the leading commercial surety expert in Canada today. She is the ultimate of innovators and has reshaped and revolutionized the business. Pina has pioneered and championed new uses for the product and has created classes of commercial surety that previously did not exist. She has taken a high-touch and cumbersome product suite and turned it upside down by developing new workflows and processes through digital solutions, which, in turn, has greatly improved efficiency for our brokers, their customers and ourselves. She is passionate about her business, and I can honestly say that both the Canadian commercial surety industry and Trisura owe much of the ultimate success of the commercial surety line to Pina’s leadership and vision. We are so fortunate to have her leading and mentoring our team in this highly profitable business. Thanks Pina!!

When Pina isn’t making waves and shaping the insurance business, she can be found in a yoga or Pilates studio, cycling or cooking. But above all, she always makes time to spend with her two daughters.