IICF Southeast Forum

Dallas, TX

June 13, 2024

Advancing Talent to Advance our Industry

Register Now!
The Westin Galleria Dallas
13340 Dallas Pkwy
Dallas, TX 75240
Join with hundreds of exceptional insurance professionals of all ages and stages as we convene for an action-oriented program with a unique focus on leadership and an inclusive future for the industry. Gain insights, network with change makers and make an impact in our industry and our communities!
Sarah Conway

Meet our lineup of 2023 Forum Speakers

Click on speaker to view bio.


Julie Bolton

Head of Middle Markets Risk Engineering
Zurich Resilience Solutions

Julie is degreed in mechanical engineering and holds a master in civil/environmental engineering “from back when it wasn’t so cool to be a ‘girl’ in engineering.” She’s a 35 year veteran of manufacturing and service environments in the US and abroad, specializing in leading cross-functional teams through change and growth.  Her passion for first understanding and then further developing the visions of customers and employees alike makes her and her teams stronger players as they provide technical insights to customers and underwriters on exposures and emerging issues.  In her words, her teams “save lives and keep businesses running in addition to helping Zurich underwriters write profitable business.”

Julie joined Zurich 16 years ago as a regional manager and is now the VP of Middle Markets Risk Engineering for Zurich Resilience Solitons.  She is passionate about ensuring everyone does not just have an opportunity to a seat at the table but that they also have a voice and more importantly, that, that voice is heard and listened to with respect.


Claudia Brind-Woody

Director for the Kyndryl Partnership

Claudia Brind-Woody is currently the IBM Managing Director for the Kyndryl Partnership in the United Kingdom and Ireland.   Most recently, she was the Managing Director for the Walgreens Boots Alliance Account where she led the IBM team in both Europe in North America.  Prior to that role, she was the Vice President and Managing Director for IBM’s Global Intellectual Property Licensing where she delivered more than $3 Billion of profit to IBM through IP Partnerships.   She also led the two large divestitures of IBM Software in 2019 – one of $1.77 Billion and the other of $545 Million.  Claudia has been with IBM since 1996 and has held multiple global roles during her tenure including work in Finland and the United Kingdom.

Claudia is an accomplished speaker who has done keynote speeches on LGBT Diversity throughout the world.   She has also contributed to the books: Out & Equal at Work: From Closet to Corner Office (2013) and The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good for Business (2014).  She is featured in the book Pride and Joy: LGBTQ Artists, Icons and Everyday Heroes (2017).

Claudia currently serves on the Advisory Board of WorkPlace Pride in Amsterdam and on the Toyota Motors Europe Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board.  In the past, she has also served on the Board of Directors of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the Board of Directors for Lambda Legal and the Advisory Board of The GayStar News.  She served as the Co-Chair of the IBM LGBT+ Executive Taskforce for over 20 years, and now serves as Co-Chair Emeritus.

In 2011, Claudia received the Out & Equal Trailblazer Award.  She was named to the Financial Times Global LGBT Role Models Hall of Fame in 2016 after having been in the top 10 on their list for the three previous years.  She has been included in The Guardian’s WorldPride Power List Top 100 and the Diva Power List.  In 2015, she was listed as #2 on the Telegraph Media Group’s “Out at Work LGBT Top 50 Executives.”  She has been honored with the National LGBT Bar Association Out & Proud Corporate Counsel Award and with the Workplace Pride Global Ambassador Award.  In 2019 she was listed as #4 on the Enterprise Management 360 “Top 10 LGBTQ+ People in Tech”, and in 2020 was shortlisted for the Women in IT Global Leader of the Year Award.  In 2021, she was named to the Interesting Engineering list of “27 LGBTQ+ Scientists and Tech Leaders Shaping Our Future,” and to Channel Futures global “DE&I 101” list.

Before joining IBM in 1996, Claudia worked for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, as an executive for CenturyLink, and as the Assistant Dean of the College & Graduate School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.  She also served as the Assistant Athletics Director at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Tennessee.  She was also an Assistant Basketball Coach under Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee.

Claudia holds a J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from Georgia State University, an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and an M.S. from the University of Tennessee.  She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Mary Baldwin College where she earned her B. A. summa cum laude.  She was admitted to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia.


Barbara Bufkin

Senior Advisor
Amwins Group

Barbara's four decades in the insurance and reinsurance industry have spanned leadership roles encompassing operational and strategic responsibilities, including business origination and product development, underwriting, claims, risk management/corporate governance and ceded and assumed reinsurance, while fostering a culture of innovation, mentorship, and diverse talent.  

Throughout the past eight years, Barbara has focused her career at the intersection of distribution, underwriting, technology and capital in specialty businesses. Barbara currently serves as a Senior Advisor at Amwins Group and a founding member of the D&I Council, an independent director of Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited (NEIL) and subsidiary Cedar Hamilton, and an independent director The Westfield Companies. She previously held leadership roles at Assurant, Hamilton USA, Guy Carpenter, Argo Group and Swiss Re.

During her 3-year tenure (2017-2020) as Chair of the International Board of Governors of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) and current President of the Association of Professional Insurance Women (APIW), Barbara has been directly engaged in the global and national Women in Insurance Conference series. Furthering her commitment to the IICF she serves as Co-Chair of the IICF Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Council which brings together over 50 of the top D&I officers in the insurance industry to advance the mission of diversity and inclusion. Concurrently, she is a member of the North American board of directors of ISC Group  and advocates for the value of the insurance industry as a career of choice in her role as immediate past president and chair of the governance committee and member of the Board of Trustees of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS).  

As a keynote speaker on The Power of Purpose  and The Archaeology of a Network in various insurance industry forums, Barbara has been driving the Big Tent of culture, inclusion, innovation, sponsorship, mentoring talent and the power of networks.  A tireless advocate on issues of philanthropy, product innovation and talent, among other awards,  Barbara was named Insurance Woman of the Year by APIW in 2012, Inclusion Champion by the IICF in 2015 and Woman of Distinction at the 2017 Insurance Business America Awards. In 2019, she was inducted into Insurance Business America’s Hall of Fame.


Chris Cage

Director of Unbound's Underground

Chris Cage serves as the Director of Unbound's Underground, a 24/7 drop-in center for trafficked and exploited youth.  He has led Unbound in the opening of the Underground and now is overseeing this thriving center for youth in need of a safe place in Tarrant County. His passion is for serving at-risk youth. Prior to joining Unbound, Chris served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Brink's Home Security and Brink’s Incorporated for 34 years.  Chris serves on the board of Hope Farm, Alert Ministries, and Spoken For which all focus on youth at risk. Chris also served as a volunteer for three years working with youth in the Henry Wade juvenile detention center. Chris has a law degree from SMU and an Accounting degree from Texas Tech.


Lydia Carlock

Task Force Program Manager

Lydia Carlock serves as the Task Force Program Manager and an advocate. She has been with Unbound for 4 years working with survivors. She holds a master's in Clinical psychology and has 10 years of mental health experience.


Ania Caruso

CPL | Managing Director - Southeast

Ania has over 20 years of broker and carrier experience, working with Fortune 1000 clients on their insurance placement, program structure, strategy, and predictive analytics while focusing on their cost optimization and reducing their total casualty cost of risk. In her current role, Ania and her team help clients analyze and underwrite their casualty loss exposures, identify and prioritize cost reduction opportunities in order to optimize their casualty insurance and risk management program. She is responsible for developing complex casualty practice in the Southeast region while also coordinating and developing resources around solutions for complex casualty risk issues, such as loss sensitive or cash flow programs, captives, predictive data analytics, alternative risk financing, and reinsurance. As a leader, Ania works to train, mentor, and develop colleagues on the nationally and regionally. She creates and oversees growth goals for the Casualty Practice and identifies resources available within the organization.

Ania brings depth of experience in helping clients achieve strong financial results, while protecting their balance sheet via risk assessment, risk mitigation, alternative risk and risk transfer efforts. She has spent her career partnering with organizations to achieve risk optimization by using innovation, predictive analytics, critical thinking and strategic execution while leaning on her deep complex casualty risk finance programs and loss cost reduction expertise. Ania is passionate about providing white-glove service to her internal and external stakeholders while executing swiftly and successfully on business strategies and growth objectives.

Ania is active in the local community as she serves on a Board of Directors for the JDRF Atlanta Chapter and United Way ofForsyth & Dawson Country Investment Committee Member. Ania speaks and moderates at various industry events on the topics of casualty, emerging risks, risk management and leadership. In 2021, she was named one of the Hot 100 by Insurance BusinessAmerica. Ania is Advisory Board Member for Advisen Casualty Conference in 2022. She volunteers her time as a national mentor for emerging leaders via Path builders as well as Atlanta RIMS Mentorship Program. Ania served for 3 years as Atlanta City Chair for the Dive In Diversity & Inclusion in Insurance Industry Festival. Ania sits on the Atlanta RIMS Diversity, Equality, & InclusionCommittee and IICF Inclusion Forum Committee.


Avril Castagnetta

Marketing & Customer Strategy Leader

Avril leads the marketing transformation offering for Ernst & Young LLP’s Insurance sector. She is a marketing and customer strategy executive with more than 20 years of experience working for and consulting with financial services companies worldwide. She excels at facilitating innovation and design workshops to help in marketing strategy, target operating model, product and process modernization efforts.  As well as bringing together marketers, product managers, data scientists and technologists to envision and create customer centric and insight driven products and services.

Avril started her career as a financial services marketing executive leading teams of data scientists, campaign and segment managers in developing and delivering acquisition, cross-sell and retention strategies.

She is a frequent speaker and presenter on digital marketing, actionable analytics and personalization at scale.


Paola Chavez

Community Outreach Coordinator

Paola Chavez serves as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Unbound North Texas. She has direct experience at Unbound's Underground working with vulnerable youth. She holds bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington.


Marcus Cooper

Head North American Distribution
Everest Insurance®

Marcus Cooper is Head of North American Distribution at Everest Insurance®. In his role, Marcus leads the Sales & Distribution team and is responsible for the continued growth of our North American insurance operations and deepening and diversifying relationships with our trading partners.

Marcus has over 17 years of industry experience. Prior to joining Everest, he served as Division President for the Midwest Region at Liberty Mutual. Previously, he worked at Zurich for 12 years as the Head of Middle Markets in Zurich’s Commercial Insurance, Middle Market Division. He also held various roles at Crum & Forster and AIG.

During his time at Liberty Mutual, Marcus led the Midwest division, focusing on providing best-in-class service to local Middle Market buyers and brokers while driving profitability and growth for the unit. While at Zurich, Marcus streamlined underwriting procedures for Middle Market Commercial Businesses, restructured the company’s book mix in high catastrophe-prone areas and led national initiatives to elevate broker engagement and pipeline development.

Marcus is a graduate of Texas State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Minor in Business. He additionally earned a Leadership and Management Certification at the Kellogg School of Management. Marcus has held Board positions on the Davey Risk Management Advisory Board, Metropolitan Family Board of Directors, Bryan's House Board of Directors and Sachse Economic Development Board of Directors.


Keasia M. Daniels, PE, ChPP

Founder & Principal Consultant
Vantage Point Solutions

In her early career, Keasia worked in the field of construction management, project controls and civil engineering for companies such as M.W. Kellogg, KBR, and the Public Works Division of the City of Winter Park, FL.  She started her career as a field planning engineer for the re-construction of a chemical plant in Sioux City, Iowa.  She has worked on teams that executed projects in the US, Canada, Germany, Malaysia and spent part of career as an expat in Skikda, Algeria.  Her career has allowed her to contribute to projects in manufacturing, refining/chemicals, LNG, onshore drilling and city/urban development.

In 2005, Keasia joined Royal Dutch Shell as a Project Services Engineer in cost engineering and planning/scheduling for Downstream capital projects executed by Shell Global Solutions. She later became the Team Lead for Cost Engineering in Houston where she was responsible for resource management and quality delivery for all cost engineers who support upstream, midstream, and downstream capital projects executed from Houston. In 2014, Keasia became the Project Services Manager for Unconventional Shales Projects in Canada, U.S. and Latin America.  In 2016, she was named as the Global Project Services Capability Manager, a role which allowed her to focus her passion for people development and training along with her subject matter expertise in project controls and management.  

In her culminating role at Shell, General Manager Project Services Americas, Keasia’s team delivered cost estimating, cost control, planning/scheduling, and risk management for capital projects executed in the Downstream Refining & Chemicals, Deepwater, Integrated Gas, Offshore Wind and Renewable Natural Gas lines of business.  She managed a team of 50+ staff who supported capital projects from $50 million to over $10 billion.

After a successful 26-year career, in 2021, Keasia retired from corporate life and launched VantagePoint Business Solutions.  With VantagePoint, she is able to share her leadership, organizational effectiveness and people development skills with organizations who endeavor to continuously improve, serve the community, develop people and deliver their mission in the most effective and efficient manner possible.


Tom Fitzpatrick

COO, Southwest

Tom Fitzpatrick is the Chief Operating Officer for Chubb’s Southwest Region, and also serves as the Houston Branch Manager.  As Branch Manager, he is directly responsible for the profit and loss, distribution management and overall leadership for the Houston territory, which includes Southeast Texas and Louisiana.

As Regional Chief Operating Officer, Tom works with the Regional Executive Officer,  Branch and Business Segment Managers to lead and influence the results of a nine-state territory.

Tom began his career with Chubb in 1985 as a Personal Lines trainee in Baltimore, MD. After spending the first half of his career in Personal Lines, culminating in a role in which he was responsible for leading Chubb’s Personal Lines US Field, Tom moved into branch management in Birmingham, AL in 2002.  In 2006, he moved to Houston to lead the branch there, and in 2018, he was named RCOO. Over the course of his time at Chubb, Tom has worked in seven branches around the country.

Having been within the insurance industry for over 37 years, Tom has stayed deeply engaged within the industry’s community and the Houston community. He is a board member of the Insurance Council of Texas (former board chair), the Independent Insurance Agents of Houston and the IICF Southeast (Houston) Chapter. He is also a former board chair of the Houston Area Women’s Center, an organization that supports survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking. Tom also served as a board member and board chair of Making It Better (Literacy Now), which provides literacy, leadership and life skills to Houston-area elementary school children and as a board member of the Houston Symphony.

Tom is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, CT, with a B.A. in History. He is a native of Baltimore, MD, and is the very proud father of three.


Kathy Givens

Twelve 11 Partners

Kathy is a wife, mother, author, writer, and advocate who has overcome the dark world of sex trafficking. She is now using her voice and expertise to inspire others to join the fight against such a horrible atrocity. She has presented to faith-based organizations, educators, students, medical professionals, law enforcement, politicians, and leaders from all sectors of society. She has trained nonprofit organizations and individuals who aspire to become better advocates in the field of anti-trafficking. In 2018, Kathy was invited into The Oval Office to witness a bill she advocated for be signed into law. In 2021, Kathy joined the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking by presidential appointment. She is now Co-Founder of Twelve 11 Partners, an organization committed to supporting survivors who are on their journey to thriving.


Trevor Grandy

Managing Director
Markel Corporation

Trevor Gandy is the Managing Director, Talent, Diversity and Inclusion at Markel Corporation. In this role, he works closely with executives and their teams to ensure the company is viewed by its employees, customers and partners worldwide as an inclusive organization that promotes and leverages the business value of diversity and inclusion.

He previously served as Principal, Diversity & Inclusion at Amazon. Prior to that he was
the Senior Vice President, Deputy Chief Culture Officer at Chubb Insurance. Prior to ACE’s acquisition of Chubb in January 2016, Mr. Gandy was Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Chubb.

Mr. Gandy received his Bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University and has completed an Executive Education Program for Senior Human Resources Executives at Stanford University. He further completed the Human Resources Leadership Academy development program sponsored by the Corporate Executive Board and Boston College Carroll School of Management Corporate Responsibility Management program.

He currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Tri-County Scholarship Fund, the Montclair Film Festival and on the Board of Directors of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW).

He has been featured in articles published by the Chicago Tribune, Catalyst, Business Insurance Magazine, TheGlassHammer.com and DiversityInc Magazine. He has served as
Executive Committee Chair of The Conference Board Council of U.S. Diversity & Inclusion Executives. Additionally, he has served as a Co-Chair of the Center for Talent Innovation Task Force and Catalyst Expert Community.


Jeffrey D. Henry

Director of Learning and Development
Amwins Group

Jeff Henry is the Director of Learning and Development for Amwins Group. His expertise is working with stakeholders throughout the organization to strategize learning opportunities for both individuals and groups. A key component to Jeff’s approach is to ensure leaders and teams understand how to leverage their strengths to the fullest potential.

Jeff has spent his career in the insurance industry working for two carriers and an insurance association before joining Amwins. After a few years as an underwriter, Jeff was offered a training position and has never looked back.  Jeff and his team are passionate about all aspects of program development and execution and strive to be creative with their learning solutions.

Jeff received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Northern Kentucky University and his Master of Education Degree with a specialty in Human Resource Development from Xavier University. He has several professional certifications and participates on several industry boards and committees. He very much enjoys spending time with family which includes two toddler-age grandsons. He lives with his partner, Clem, in Charlotte.


Christine Hofbeck

Speaker, Author, Actuary

Christine Hofbeck is an actuary and analytics expert who specializes in helping organizations optimize their talent, strategy and decisioning. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines and on National Geographic’s award-winning documentary television series Breakthrough, which highlights the stories, people, and technology behind the world's most cutting-edge scientific innovations. In 2020, she released her best-selling nonfiction business book WINNING CONDITIONS: How To Achieve the Professional Success You Deserve by Managing the Details That Matter.

If you are a fan of reality television, you may recognize Christine (“Chrissy”) from Season 35 of CBS’s hit reality television show, SURVIVOR: Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers. Initially on the Heroes tribe for “breaking the glass ceiling for women in business,” she ultimately placed 2nd overall, tied the record for the most individual immunity wins by a woman in Survivor history, and won "Player of the Season" in a landslide vote by Survivor fans.

Christine holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and MIT and is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.


Shandrilya Lewis

Director of Strategy & Planning

Shandrilya Lewis is a business strategist, brand builder and leadership coach. She currently works as a Director of Strategy & Planning at USAA and is the founder of a leadership coaching startup, The Brand Exec. She has worked in the management consulting space for over 10 years, with experience in business development and scaling, organizational development, operations management & change management.

Shandrilya is a proud Howard University and George Washington Business school alum. Prior to business school, Shandrilya was the founder of a boutique brand management company, focusing on the development of emerging businesses within underrepresented communities. She initially embarked on her entrepreneurship journey in 2012 and impacted over 100 individual brands in the private and nonprofit sector.

Having traveled to over 38 countries, Shandrilya is extremely passionate about seeing the world and gaining a global perspective about new business opportunities. She currently resides in Washington, D.C and is passionate about leadership coaching, mentorship, and diversity initiatives throughout her community.


Daniela Mills

SVP Practice Leader

Daniela joined Lockton in 2016 as the Team Leader for the General Property Practice in Lockton Texas. She provides Lockton Texas clients with an analytical approach to designing and structuring their property programs.

Daniela has extensive experience in marketing domestic and global programs, with a specific focus on clients with large catastrophe exposures. Her experience extends to custom design, negotiation and placement of property programs for a wide range of industries, including real estate, retail, manufacturing, construction, telecommunication and other related businesses.

Prior to Lockton, Daniela was the Regional Property Leader for USI Southwest and Vice President at Marsh USA Inc. in Houston, TX. Daniela is a graduate of Florida StateUniversity with degrees in Finance and Risk Management.


Molly Nickoles

CEO of Waypoint Wholesale

Molly Nickoles, CEO of Waypoint Wholesale joined AmRisc in 2003.  Molly earned a B.A. in Mathematics with a minor in Business from The University of Mississippi. After graduation she began her insurance career at Vesta Insurance where she was working as an Actuarial Analyst.  Molly has served as a Senior Underwriter, Team Manager, and most recently Chief Underwriter Officer for the Builders Risk product.  Over the last 15 years Molly has played an integral role in the success of the builders risk product, helping to grow the inforce premium to over $250 million.  She has been instrumental in training and developing a successful group of underwriters that specialize in insuring property under construction.   Molly has a passion for training and mentoring and was instrumental in creating AmRisc EDGE Program, a formal mentoring program that launched 2020. In January 2022 Molly was promoted to the Executive Management Team as Chief Executive Officer of Waypoint Wholesale.


Dr. Leroy David Nunery II

Evolution Advisors LLC

Dr. Leroy (Lee) David Nunery II is an accomplished executive and entrepreneur with a unique breadth of experiences formed from over forty years in corporate banking and capital markets, higher education, professional sports, charter school management, public education, and with a family-owned electrical contracting firm, Leroy Nunery & Sons, Inc. In 2007, Leroy founded PlūsUltré LLC, a strategic advisory firm that focuses on turnarounds, transformations, growth and innovation planning, resource development, talent development, governance training, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies.

In November 2021, Dr. Nunery was named President of Evolution Advisors, LLC.

In 2017, PlūsUltré was commissioned by Marsh Companies to author a groundbreaking demographic and psychographic study called “The Journey of African American Insurance Professionals: Past and Present”. Since publication in 2018, the Study has been presented to insurance carriers, agencies, and trade associations, and is recognized as an industry standard for its deep analysis of the industry’s DEI dynamics and acknowledgment of the historic accomplishments of African American practitioners, professionals, and insurance company owners. Based upon the Study’s finding, PlūsUltré provides consulting services to the insurance industry on development and implementation of DEI strategies, exemplified by engagement with the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association (IIABA) as its Executive Diversity Consultant, and Dr. Nunery’s appointment by the Million Women Mentors’ Women in Insurance Initiative as Senior Advisor for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion to help the organization work toward a more inclusive space for all within the insurance industry. His work has been recognized by Insurance Business America in 2020 as a Leader for Change. Future versions of the Study will explore the linkages between effective diversity and inclusion practices and corporate performance, supplier diversity, and how DEI programs impact levels of talent identification, selection, and retention.

Dr. Nunery has extensive experience in governance. He currently serves on the boards of Benchmark School, Philadelphia Outward Bound School, the National Council of Washington University’s Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, Independence Blue Cross’ Regional Advisory Board and Consumer and Business Affairs Advisory Committee and was recently appointed by Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Wolf to serve on Cheney University’s Council of Trustees. He has previously served on the boards of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Inc., Pitney Bowes, Inc., Savoy Bank (New York), and Lafayette College. He is a Lifetime Member of the National Black MBA Association, Inc., and served as National President (1983 - 1987).

Among other recognitions, Dr. Nunery has been awarded the Wallace L. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award by the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, and the Alumni Achievement and Community Engagement Award from Washington University’s Gephardt Institute. Since 2002, Lafayette College has awarded the Leroy D. Nunery Award for Intellectual Citizenship to a senior student of color for leadership and academic excellence.  

Dr. Nunery is a graduate of Lafayette College (B.A., Honors in History, 1977), Washington University (M.B.A., 1979), and the University of Pennsylvania (Ed.D., 2003). He has participated in the Aspen Institute’s Executive Seminar; the Public Education Leadership Program (Harvard); and the Wharton e-Fellows Program (University of Pennsylvania). Leroy frequently speaks on educational access, leadership, and organizational development and has taught at The Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania (2008 – 2015) and Keller Graduate School of Management (1981 – 1984).

Leroy resides in Wyndmoor, PA, and is an avid golfer and loves to travel. He and his wife Gina Golson Nunery have three adult children, Leroy, Gillian, and Dorothy (Jackie). He is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.


Katie Beth Ongena

Executive Talent Management Consultant

Katie Beth is currently an Executive Talent Management Consultant on Chubb’s Global Talent Management team.  She implements Chubb’s Executive Talent Management strategy, partnering with the Global Centers of Excellence and Business Talent Management teams.  Additionally, she consults with multiple business segments in the North America Region, partnering with leaders to develop and implement talent strategies.

Katie Beth is passionate about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and holds leadership positions throughout the industry. She serves as Co-Chair of the Southeast Region IICF Inclusion and Insurance Forum, and she is immersed in culture work within Chubb. Katie Beth is also passionate about philanthropy and believes anytime a group is gathered, there is an opportunity to make a positive impact in the community. She co-chairs a philanthropic event for the Wesley Rankin Community Center in West Dallas, raising over $100,000 for the organization, annually.

Katie Beth also led the creation of the Chubb Virtual 5K, raising over $90,000 for charities around North America. Katie Beth is passionate about learning and development, and she is a certified teacher of The Enneagram. She is also a change management practitioner, and she is earning her coaching certification.  She is a graduate from Southern Methodist University with a degree in Marketing.


Mark Shults

Head of Sales and Distribution
The Hartford

Mark is the head of Sales & Distribution for The Hartford’s Middle & Large Commercial business with national sales responsibilities for enterprise distribution and sales execution strategy with the country’s largest agents and brokers.

Prior to his current role, Mark was the Division Executive for The Hartford’s Middle and Large Commercial business responsible for underwriting and enterprise distribution in Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas and Houston regional offices.

Before joining Hartford in 2016, Mark worked for Zurich North America in key leadership roles, including Regional Executive (Atlanta), Area Executive (Houston) and Global Broker Relationship Leader.  In addition, he has a strong understanding of broker and carrier relations from his previous work experience at McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Willis Towers Watson, AIG and Assurant Group.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design from Texas A&M University and completed an executive leadership program at Southern Methodist University.  He was formerly the Co-Chairman of the Board for Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) Southeast Division and previous board member of Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Gulf Coast and Louisiana Chapter.  He lives in Dallas with his wife Kimberly and their two children.


Margaret Spence

The Inclusion Learning Lab

Driven by a belief that inclusion is the key to solving the greatest challenge of our time, Margaret founded The Inclusion Learning Lab to help organizations create more inclusive work environments. Margaret has been a transformational keynote speaker, author, business strategist, and visionary for over two decades. She is known for her ability to help businesses achieve their goals and create sustainable change. Her business-advisory firm specializes in human resources compliance, talent development, diversity and inclusion, and women’s leadership development.

Margaret has spent her award-winning career working with organizations to develop internal diversity strategies and build more inclusive cultures. With over 23 years of experience in strategic human resources consulting, she knows that it takes more than good intentions to drive change – it takes action.

The Inclusion Learning Lab is on a mission to drive change through advocacy, education, research, community, and action. We know that it's not enough to write an internal diversity strategy – no organization exists within itself. Every organization has internal and external stakeholders – including everyone from employees, customers, your board of directors, your vendor partners, and the community. The Inclusion Learning Lab was awarded the 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Innovators award by Property and Casualty Magazine.

We know that true inclusion is about more than just having a diverse workforce. It's about creating an environment where everyone can thrive. We work with organizations to develop strategies and solutions that champion diversity and inclusion for all internal and external stakeholders. We understand that it takes a village to create an inclusive workplace, and we're proud to be part of the global movement for change.

Margaret's industry contributions include a six-term member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Special Expertise Panel. She represented SHRM on the CIDRAP Board – Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy during SARS and H1N1. Two-term VP of Professional Development for the Greater Miami Society for Human Resource Management (GMSHR). For ten years, Margaret served as the Workers' Comp Institutes (WCI) – Return to Work Section co-chair. For eight consecutive years, Margaret was voted Top 5 Speaker at the SHRM Annual and Diversity Conference – she has represented the HR Community globally speaking at conferences in Dubai, London, Canada, Trinidad, and Jamaica. Margaret is also a continuing education provider and trainer for SHRM and the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). Margaret has a post-graduate certification in Leadership Coaching and Executive Leadership Development, and she holds a certification in the ISO Diversity and Inclusion Standards.
Industry Awards:
Winner of the 2021 Diversity Innovators Award Property & Casualty Insurance
Winner of the 2021 ACORD Women’s Insurance Innovators Award
Winner of the 2020 CompLaude Workers’ Compensation Industry Leader Award
Ambassador and Board Member for Quesnay InsurTech Female Technology Incubator
Winner of the 2017 Women Leading the Way In Workers’ Compensation Award  
Member of the Insurance Industry CEO Initiative Black Insurance Professionals Roundtable

Margaret has authored three books. Her first book – From Workers’ Comp Claimant to Valued Employee (2008), challenged employers to value injured and disabled employees. Her second book, The Injury Management Challenge (2013), empowered front-line managers to manage workers' comp injuries effectively. Her third book, Leadership Self-Transformation (2017), challenges women to clarify their vision, pivot from expert to leader, and build the career they want. Margaret’s fourth book, What’s Your Possible?, will be published summer of 2022.


Eddie Turner

Principal Consultant

Eddie Turner is a Linkage Principal Consultant and an in-demand leadership development expert. Eddie has worked as an executive coach for senior and emerging leaders, and Forbes has called him the preeminent authority one merging leaders. He also delivers keynote speeches and facilitates learning delivery and executive strategy sessions.

Eddie is a Certified Speaking Professional™ (CSP®) and ranked #6 on the“Top 30” list of Motivational Speakers by Global Gurus. He is also a certified trainer and master facilitator. He has appeared in national print, radio, and television media, such as the Wall StreetJournal, CNN, Fox News, PBS, NPR and ABC. He is a published author, successful podcast host and former national media commentator.

Eddie is one of Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Coaches, an International Certified Coach, an Affiliate Coach with the Institute of Coaching (McLean/Harvard Medical School), a Professional Certified Coach (PCC)with the International Coaching Federation, and an official ICF Mentor Coach. Of the more than 45,000ICF members in 147 countries, he was selected as a 2020 ICF Coach of the Week. Additionally, he is one of 60 contributing subject matter experts to the Talent Development Body of Knowledge—the definitive resource for the talent development profession by the Association for Talent Development.

Eddie has extensive experience working with all levels of leaders in Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, international conglomerates, universities, and public, private and nonprofit organizations as a technology and leadership consultant. He studied leadership and organizational behavior at Northwestern University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science, and holds an ExecutiveCertificate in Public Leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School.


Jeanette Ward

Chief Operating Officer
Texas Mutual Insurance Company

Jeanette Ward joined Texas Mutual in 1993 after earning her government degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She has since climbed the Company’s ranks and has an accumulated almost 30 years of valuable experience, serving in a variety of roles ranging from strategic planning and budgeting to overseeing claim, safety and medical network operations.  As COO, Jeanette is responsible for policyholder services, underwriting, information technology, and actuary.

Jeanette also gives her time and talent to several charitable organizations, including the American Heart Association, United Way, Early Matters Greater Austin and the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF).

In addition to her duties as COO, Ward is an advocate for diversity and inclusion at Texas Mutual and in the insurance industry as a whole. She has been a professional mentor to numerous women offering guidance to her mentees about how to lead with confidence in the workplace and maintain a strong presence in their respective roles, especially in male-dominated workplaces. She also serves on the IICF’s IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) Council with other professionals across the industry.

Jeanette has been a featured speaker at numerous national industry events, was named a 2018 Business Insurance Woman to Watch by Business Insurance magazine which recognizes women leaders doing outstanding work in risk management and commercial insurance worldwide, an Executive to Watch in 2020 by Risk & Insurance Magazine, and honored by Insurance Business America as one of the 2020 Elite Women in the insurance industry.


JJ Whichard

VP, Unit Manager

JJ joined Lockton Companies in June 2010 and is a General Industry Property Account
Executive. She specializes in procuring and developing complex multinational property
insurance programs for industries such as manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare,
real estate, food, and service companies. She is engaged through the client lifecycle,
providing support for data analytics, risk engineering and forensic accountants to
ensure that each risk is appropriately understood prior to marketing and complex
claims are able to be handled correctly and in a timely manner.

Prior to joining the property group, JJ attended Lockton University, a development
program for Account Managers and Executives in the Lockton Kansas City office. While in
the program, she went through extensive insurance training in coverage analysis, contract
reviews and placement strategies. After completion of Lockton University, JJ joined the
property group in the Lockton Texas Series as an Associate Account Manager.

Coming Soon

IICF Southeast Division


Barbara Bufkin
Financial Services Independent Director / Senior Advisory / Ambassador
Amwins Group
Chris DeSantis
Author, Speaker, Consultant, and Podcast Host
Cubicle Confidential Podcast
Katie Beth Ongena
Global Talent Management Consultant; Executive Coach; Speaker; Enneagram Teacher; DE&I Advocate
Frank Scardino
North America Executive Leadership, Head of Dallas Market
Dr. Andy Stoker
Ph.D. in Family Science
Jeanette Ward
President & CEO
Texas Mutual Insurance Company
China Widener
US Consulting Tech Sector Leader; Director, US Board

What’s happening at the Forum

Download Program

Agenda Coming Soon


7:30 am

Registration & Breakfast

8:30 am 

Welcome  & Opening Comments

Sarah Conway, IICF Southeast Executive Director
8:35 am 

The Waze  Forward

Katie  Beth Ongena: AVP, Executive Talent Management Consultant, Chubb
8:55 am

”Why I  Find You Irritating: Navigating   Generational Friction at Work”

Chris  DeSantis: Author, Podcaster, Organizational Behavioral Practioner
9:55 am

Where Do  We Start? Industry Snapshot & Hierarchy of Needs

Frank  Scardino: North America Strategic Sales Leader, Dallas Market, WTW
10:15 am 

Morning  Break Sponsored by Gen Re

10:40 am 

Rerouthing  Career Progression by Design

China  Widener: Principal, Deloitte
11:10 am

3 or  More Routes: "3 in 10" Career Stories Panel

Dr. Leroy Nunery II, President, Evolution Advisors
12:00 am

Lunch  & Networking Activities

Paola Chavez Reyes, Community Outreach Coordinator,  Unbound 
Kathy Givens,
Chris Cage, Director, Unbound Underground
Lydia Givens, Advocate, Author, Writer
1:20 pm

Navigating  the Middle    Change Agent- From Understanding Systems to being change-makers

Dr. Andy  Stoker
1:50 pm

Breakout #1:  Importance of Networking & Sponsorshiply HUMAN Leadership: Are you ready to be a post-pandemic leader?

Barbara  Bufkin: Ambassador , Amwins    Megan Fuchs

Breakout #2: How  to Be A Sponsor

China  Widener: Principal, Deloitte

Breakout #3:  Coaching: What it is, what it isn’t, and why it’s interesting

2:50 pm

Afternoon  Break Sponsored by Marsh McLennan Agency

Moderated By: Barbara Bufkin, Senior Advisor, Amwins Group
Ania Caruso, Regional SVP - Managing Director, AJG
Julie Bolton, Head of Middle Markets Risk Engineering, Zurich
Tom Fitzpatrick, SVP Regional Chief Operating Officer, Southwest Region, Chubb
Jeff Henry, Director of Learning & Development, Amwins Group
3:15 pm

Where  do we go from here?

4:00 pm

Cocktail  & Networking Reception

Mark Shults, Head of Sales & Distribution, The Hartford
Marcus Cooper, Head of Distribution, North America at Everest Insurance
IICF Southeast Division

Forum Committee

Senior Associate Broker l Mergers & Acquisitions
Financial Services Independent Director / Senior Advisory / Ambassador
Amwins Group
Vice President – Georgia Operations
Amwins Insurance Brokerage
Regional Executive Consultant – Business Insurance
Marsh & McLennan Agency, LLC
Vice President, Relationship Development
Amwins Insurance Brokerage, LLC
Manager, Risk Management- Dallas
Senior Account Executive, Co-Chair BLACC Enterprise CRG, & Mentor
Marsh McLennan Agency
Division President, SVP
Senior Vice President, Principal-Property & Construction
Brown & Riding Insurance Services
SVP, Practice Leader - General Property at Texas Series
Katie Beth
Executive Talent Management Consultant
National Broker Executive
PMA Companies
VP/Regional Business Development Manager, Distribution
VP-Client Advisor, Construction
Executive Vice President
RT Specialty
Executive Assistant to CEO at MHBT
Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC
AVP, Account Executive – General Property
Lockton Companies
President & CEO
Texas Mutual Insurance Company
Senior Vice President
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