by Bobbin Wages
On Friday, February 24, the Risk Management Foundation at the Robinson College of Business and the Atlanta Association of Insurance Professionals co-hosted “Career Secrets Revealed,” a panel discussion held in conjunction with Black History Month. African American insurance industry leaders spoke on topics including their personal pathways into the profession, an average day in the field, whether a degree is necessary to succeed and even cybersecurity. Panelists included Renee` Collins, regional director, Travelers Companies; Aisha Danzy, CEO, Five Star Insurance Agency; James Hartsfield, claims account manager, LexisNexis Risk Solutions; Paul Young, broker, All Risks Ltd.; and more. Bruce Hinton, a principal with Global Legacy Management as well as a 2012 graduate of Robinson’s undergraduate risk management and insurance program, moderated the panel.
The event underscores the department’s efforts to increase the diversity of its student population. “We had a huge turnout with minority students,” says Erica Miller, project coordinator with the Department of Risk Management & Insurance. “Maybe when they saw the panelists’ faces on the flyer, they thought, ‘These people look like me, and I could achieve that in the next 10 years.’”
Although the event highlighted African American speakers, both undergraduate and graduate students from all academic majors across Georgia State University were invited to attend – not only because the subject matter could resonate with anyone but also because the panelists are in a position to hire talent. One student who posed a question about the pros and cons of pursuing one’s passion versus financial stability gathered several of the speakers’ business cards after the Q&A session, Miller notes.
Lauren Buehning, a senior risk management and insurance major, left the event feeling confident that her degree will set her up for success. “All the panelists hold different positions, and it’s comforting to know there are so many opportunities in the field,” she says. “Even if you start in underwriting, you can become a broker or open your own company down the road.”
Because the attendees nearly maxed out the space, Miller hopes “Career Secrets Revealed” will become an annual event. “I’m excited about pushing this out again next year and making it bigger and better,” she says.