Present, Valued, and Heard: The Power of Women's Leadership

March 8, 2021

As part of Alera Group's inclusion and diversity efforts, the Women's Leadership Group works to create an environment that inspires, empowers and supports women to positively impact business, culture and collaboration within Alera Group and beyond. On this International Women's Day, members of the Women's Leadership Group Steering Committee share their insight on how they #ChooseToChallenge bias and celebrate women's achievement – inside of Alera Group, across the insurance industry and beyond.

“Equality comes from opportunity, collaboration, respect and appreciation. My growth, both personally and professionally, comes from so many important mentors, regardless of gender or title or race, who simply demonstrated each of those values to me, giving me confidence and a voice that matters. I’m extremely proud to be part of an organizational culture that recognizes the importance of equality, and values collaborative diversity.  Today we celebrate our women, and thank all who’ve impacted their journey to find their voice, as they make us a stronger Alera Nation.”

Brenda Bassett
Vice President, Davidson Benefits Planning, an Alera Group Company


“The presence of strong women in Alera has motivated me to consider opportunities in my career that I had not previously thought I wanted. The women around me inspire me at work, and I want to live up to their standards and set a course for others to follow me. Women have to balance so much in their lives, and they have to be the center of so many universes; when we bring this innate skill set to work, our companies thrive.

Jennifer Bundy-Cobb
Director, Employee Benefits, Wilson Albers, an Alera Group Company


Equality for women ensures women are present and heard when and where business decisions are being made – and our contributions are not minimized because of negative stereotypes attributed to working women. Women are a powerhouse within Alera Group, as evidenced across business lines, service levels and leadership – and I hope we continue to pave the way for the women in generations to come.”

Danielle Capilla
Vice President of Compliance, Employee Benefits, Alera Group


“When I think of women’s equality, I think of all the women who have come before us in order for us to be where we are today. We stand on their shoulders, empowered by their tenacity and inspired by their courage. From those shoulders, we can see a future that is brighter than today, and it is up to each one of us to take steps – big and small – to create that change and opportunity for others who will follow. Alera Group fosters both acknowledgment of the current state and the opportunity for change, which is just one of many reasons why I am so passionate about those I work with and this organization overall.”

Carla DeMello
President, Employee Benefits, GCG Financial, an Alera Group Company


“Women’s empowerment is a key component of gender equality, and something I have been fortunate to experience throughout my life. I came from a family that promoted a 'you can do anything you set your mind to’ attitude and sought out initial education and subsequent career opportunities where I could surround myself with people who wanted me to excel.  As a leader at Alera Group, I have the privilege of working with many intelligent and talented women, and a coveted opportunity to give back to others the incredible support that has been afforded to me.”

Karen English
Partner and Senior Consultant, Spring Consulting Group, an Alera Group Company


“Business has learned that women bring different traits to the table, and by leveraging that we can all be more successful. Alera is built on a foundation of collaboration and has embraced the unique qualities our women leaders have to offer. Our firm has engaged in a path of awareness, recognition and education of how important it is to support the growth of women leaders as well as the next generation who will shape our diverse and inclusive future.”

Tina Hohman
Executive Vice President and Wealth Management Practice Leader, Alera Group


“I am no longer one of two women out of 250 CIOs present at a technology conference, and my husband is not nearly as often embarrassed on insurance company trips by being asked about 'his' agency and having to say that I am the agent; that’s how the women’s equality movement has positively impacted me. As a seasoned professional, I have seen how far our industry has come but how much more we can accomplish by working together. I feel honored to be part of Alera Group’s Women’s Steering Committee as we advocate and are heard about issues we can continue to address.”

Jane Koppenheffer
President, The Insurance Alliance Network


“Women’s equality is not a gender issue; it is a social and economic issue. As women have the same income, education, healthcare and career options as men, we have greater opportunities to thrive, raise children and avoid the potential cycles of poverty and lack. We have equal access to resources and decision making. We have the freedom to choose our paths for sustainability and success. During my career, I have performed at my best when treated with dignity, respect and fairness. As a leader at Alera Group, I have the honor and responsibility to create a safe environment for everyone’s voice to be heard and to create a working environment that inspires others.”

Debra Martinez
CHRO, Alera Group


“I was fortunate to be mentored by a strong woman who always challenged me to look at situations from a different perspective. Her tenacity empowered me to also draw a seat up to the table in order to make sure we were part of the conversations in making change happen. Further in my career trajectory, I developed a personal purpose statement for my own growth and to help advance the women of Alera Group.”

Tina Santelli
Vice President, Carrier Partner Management, Alera Group


“Becoming a successful woman in an industry that is filled with successful and talented men has always worked to my advantage. It has earned me respect and recognition among my peers, regardless of my gender, and has opened doors that may not have been open to me otherwise.”

Linda Skoglund
Managing Partner, JA Counter, an Alera Group Company


“I am sure there are a lot of CEOs/Managers out there who have talent and skill working with them but may not see their potential for leadership because they haven’t really been looking.  As a leader, I know if I am not encouraging everyone to participate in the advancement of my company and giving opportunities for each person to increase their contribution margin, then I am missing out on ideas, productivity, and commitment to the success of our organization.”

Maureen Sylvia Armstrong
Managing Partner, Sylvia Group, an Alera Group Company

"As a woman in insurance, I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing people, both male and female who have served as mentors on my journey. Women continue to make strides toward equality in the workplace, but we must stay vigilant to helping each other, lifting each other up and working to create true equality. The best way we can do that is to be a mentor, share your experiences and help clear the path for those seeking to grow a career in insurance."

Sally Prather
Executive Vice President and Employee Benefits Practice Leader, Alera Group


We are grateful for the outstanding contributions of these women across Alera Group, and we look forward to the ways our Inclusion and Diversity efforts will continue to make room for women to be heard and valued in our industry and in our world.