Celebrating Navacord’s Remarkable Women – Melanie Muise
What does the 2021 International Women’s Day slogan, #Choosetochallenge mean for you in your work life?
#Choosetochallenge is a call to action, a call to speak up and speak out about diversity, inclusion and gender equality at work.
Is your current role what you expected to be doing when you started in the workforce? How did it change? Tell us about your journey.
As Navacord’s COO, I have a tremendous opportunity to #choosetochallenge. I’ve been the only women in the room throughout most of my career, and I’m happy to say that’s changed a lot recently. Women make up more than half of the insurance sector and that stat is starting to catch up in leadership and executive roles as well.
What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
I have faced the same discrimination that all women have as I’ve progressed in my career and I’ve focused on 3 things to overcome them: Firstly, have a strong and active mentor, mentee and allyship community to talk to. Secondly, build resilience by accepting what you can and can’t control in difficult situations. You can’t control someone else’s behaviours, but you are in full control of your own responses and actions both during and after the fact. Third, involve men in the conversation. This has been critical for me personally, by inviting men to the table, we create more advocates who can #choosetochallenge with us.
Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering jumping into the insurance industry?
Have a plan but be willing to diverge from it for an opportunity to learn and grow. I started as a sales agent on the night shift of a personal lines direct writer in Ottawa, and ended up as a COO of the 4th largest commercial brokerage in Canada, based in Toronto. I could never have foreseen that career path but I had a growth mindset and have enjoyed every role I’ve had in the industry.
How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
COVID has highlighted the importance of women supporting each other. Many of us have gone through unique career challenges during the pandemic and now more than ever we have a tremendous opportunity to encourage each other, root for each other, #choosetochallenge to create more equality in the workforce post pandemic.