IICF Inclusion in Insurance Forum

Advancing Ideas into Action

The IICF Inclusion in Insurance Forum delivers an impactful and action-oriented program with renowned speakers and a unique focus on the future of work in the industry.

Speaker Bios

Sylvia K. Alston

Sylvia has over 20 years experience in risk management. She has worked for some of the largest national brokerage firms in the country to include; Hub International, Willis, Integro Insurance Brokerage and Risk Strategies Company in advisory and leadership roles and was formerly the Vice President, division manager and private client practice leader of Integro (Ventura) Insurance Brokerage, an entertainment specialty brokerage for over 10 years. She has worked consistently with individuals, successful families through family office practices, business management firms and organizations on the negotiation, procurement, placement and management of their insurance programs. Her key areas of focus include but are not limited to; personal risk management, wealth preservation, personal, commercial, directors and officers and professional liability. Her stewardship over the most intricate details of a client's risk management allows them the conveniences to continue their lives with greater opportunity and less risk.

She attended the national treasure and historically black university- Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland where she studied Speech Communication with a concentration in Rhetoric and Public Address. She is still an active alumnus of the university and in 2018, she was a speaker at the Student Government Association Convocation in where she addressed the importance of leadership and civic engagement to over 500 students.

Sylvia is a thought leader in business. She sits on the national advisory board for RLC, Inc. (Rescuing Leftover Cuisine) a national organization headquartered in NYC that provides supply chain procurement solutions that directs excess food from waste and into the hands of the less advantaged. Sylvia is a strategic partner for the Tri State Diversity Council, which focuses on building inclusion and diversity initiatives into executive leadership roles. She is also a member of NYWIFT (New York Women in Film and Television).

Sylvia is also growing a media brand. She is the executive producer and host of a weekly program on the Sirius XM Urban View network entitled Next Nation which focuses on lifestyle, legacy and leadership.

She is a national producer holding multi licenses in life, health and property and casualty insurance and is currently pursuing her Certified Insurance Counseling and Associate in Risk Management designations.

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Barbara Bufkin

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 six 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 Access and an Independent Director of the Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited. She previously held leadership roles at Hamilton USA, Guy Carpenter, Argo Group and Swiss Re.

As current Chair of the International Board of Governors of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) and President of the Association of Professional Insurance Women (APIW), Barbara has been directly engaged in the global and national Women in Insurance Conference series. Concurrently, she advocates for the value of the insurance industry as a career of choice in her role as Co-President and Board of Trustee of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) and as a keynote speaker on The Power of Purpose in various insurance industry forums. In these initiatives, 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, 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.

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Zoe Dunning

Zoe Dunning was commissioned as a Supply Corps Officer in 1985, and spent 6 years serving on active duty before transitioning to the Navy Reserves to attend the GSB. In January of 1993, while still a GSB student, she came out as a lesbian in protest of the ban on gay service in the U.S. military. This action was the first of many on Ms. Dunning’s journey to transform national policy and forever alter the lives of thousands of LGBTQ military service members.

After her admission, Ms. Dunning was one of the first military members to be prosecuted under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. She successfully won her discharge hearing, and served as the only openly gay member of the U.S. military for the next 13 years as a Naval Reservist. During her time in service she led the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a national non-profit dedicated to providing legal services to those impacted by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” as its Governing Board Co-Chair.

After an 18-year battle fighting for equality in the armed forces, President Barack Obama honored Ms. Dunning by asking her to stand next to him when he signed the historic Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.

Ms. Dunning retired as a U.S. Navy Commander after 22 years of service, and is currently a Consulting Portfolio Director at Future State, a Bay Area consulting firm that is purpose-driven and women-led.

Ms. Dunning was appointed by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve as a commissioner on the World War I Centennial Commission, an organization that works to commemorate and educate the nation at the 100 year anniversary of the First World War. Ms. Dunning also serves as one of seven commissioners for the San Francisco Public Library, and on the advisory board of Vets in Tech, a non-profit that brings together a tech-specific network, resources, and programs to enable employment for veterans interested in Education, Entrepreneurship, and Employment.

Ms. Dunning holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BS in Physical Science from the United States Naval Academy.

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Pascal Finette

Pascal is Co-Founder (and enfant terrible) at be radical, Singularity University’s Chair for Entrepreneurship & Open Innovation, and Venture Partner at BOLD Capital Partners, Peter Diamandis' $250M VC fund investing in exponential transformation His work focuses on the intersection of technology, global impact, and culture; inspiring, educating and empowering entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers to tackle the most intractable problems of our time.

He has spent his career pushing the boundaries of technology and passionately believes it can profoundly impact the betterment of humankind. He got started on the net before there was a web browser, founded a series of technology startups, led eBay’s Platform Solutions Group in Europe, launched a consulting firm helping entrepreneurs with their strategy & operations, and invested into early-stage tech startups. Pascal led Mozilla’s Open Innovation Lab, created Mozilla’s accelerator program WebFWD, and headed up Mozilla’s Office of the Chair. As Principal at Google.org, he invested into social impact organizations around the globe. Most recently he built Singularity University’s startup programs including the SU Accelerator and Venture Fund. Further, he founded the nonprofit organizations Mentor for Good and The Coaching Fellowship; the “GyShiDo” (Get Your S%#& Done) movement and publishes the opinionated newsletter, “The Heretic”, which is read by tens of thousands of change-makers globally. He’s the author of the published book “The Heretic - Daily Therapeutics for Entrepreneurs”.

Pascal frequently speaks and writes about the magic and potential which happens at the intersection of technology, culture & global impact. He is also a trained Co-Active executive coach working with clients on achieving their full leadership potential. Most of all – Pascal loves to work with changemakers who want to, and can, make things better.

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Dr. Robert Hartwig

Robert P. Hartwig is Clinical Associate Professor of Risk Management, Insurance and Finance in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina and Director of the school’s Center for Risk and Uncertainty Management. He teaches courses in risk management, insurance and corporate finance, mentors students, pursues a variety of research interests and works with insurers, regulators, legislators and many other insurance industry stakeholders, including media.

Dr. Hartwig is immediate past president of the Insurance Information Institute, an organization he led from 2007 to 2016. He joined the I.I.I. in 1998 as an economist and became chief economist in 1999, focusing his work on improving understanding of key insurance issues across all industry stakeholders including media, consumers, insurers, producers, regulators, legislators and investors.

Dr. Hartwig previously served as director of economic research and senior economist with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) in Boca Raton, Florida, where he performed rate of return and cost of capital modeling and testified at workers' compensation rate hearings in many states. He has also worked as senior economist for the Swiss Reinsurance Group in New York and as senior statistician for the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the American Economic Association, the American Risk and Insurance Association, the National Association of Business Economics and the CPCU Society. He has also served on the boards of directors of the American Risk and Insurance Association, the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation and the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association of New York. Currently, Dr. Hartwig serves on the board of trustees for the Griffith Foundation for Insurance Education.

Dr. Hartwig received his Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has served as an instructor at the University of Illinois and at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Hartwig also holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) credential.

Dr. Hartwig has authored and co-authored papers that have appeared in numerous publications, including the Journal of Health Economics, the Proceedings of the Casualty Actuarial Society, the John Liner Review, Dossiers et Etudes (Geneva Association), the Journal of Workers' Compensation, the Journal of Insurance Operations, Global Reinsurance, Risk & Insurance, Insurance Day, Compensation and Benefits Review. He is also a regular contributor to Best’s Review and many other industry trade publications.

In 2011, Dr. Hartwig was awarded the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) Chairman's Award. In 2010, he was a recipient of a research award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform in the area of torts and tort reform.

Dr. Hartwig makes frequent presentations to industry associations, company management, industry executives, analysts and clients and speaks internationally on a wide range of insurance issues. He has testified before numerous state and federal regulatory and legislative bodies, including the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises and the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Dr. Hartwig serves as a media spokesperson for the property/casualty insurance industry, and is quoted frequently in leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, CFO, Fortune, Forbes, The Economist and many others throughout the world. Dr. Hartwig also appears regularly on television, including programs on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, CNBC, Fox, PBS and the BBC.

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Susan Johnson

Susan Johnson is the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at The Hartford, responsible for leading enterprise-wide D&I initiatives and aligning them with business strategies. She partners with leaders across the organization to ensure that The Hartford's workforce reflects their customer base, that they drive successful acquisition, development and retention of talent, and that they focus on the right internal and external business and operational activities related to diversity.

Prior to her role at The Hartford, Susan was at Pitney Bowes Inc., where she was most recently Vice President, Executive Succession and Diversity Strategies. Under her leadership, Pitney Bowes was selected the #1 company for diversity by DiversityInc. She has also held HR management positions at Pepsi-Cola and Campbell Soup Companies. Additionally, Susan has participated in local, state and national political campaigns and has worked on domestic policy and management issues in the public sector.

Susan’s community involvement includes Board service for the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford (Board Chair) and the National African American Insurance Association. She is active with The Links Inc., and with her church community. She has been actively involved in community, government and academic organizations and has spoken at national conferences on managing diversity, executive succession and leadership, career development and talent management. Susan received the BRAVA! Award from the Greenwich YWCA in recognition of her professional and community service work, was named to Savoy Magazine’s 2012 Top Influential Women in Corporate America, and as a Top Executive in Diversity by Black Enterprise Magazine in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Susan received her BA degree from Spelman College and a Masters in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. She and her husband Randy Kinder live in Stamford, Connecticut with their son Cameron and their black Labrador, Langston.

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Dr. Leroy Nunery

Dr. Leroy (Lee) David Nunery II is an accomplished executive and entrepreneur with a unique breadth of experiences and competencies formed from 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 whose clients include charter schools, public school districts, non-profit and for-profit enterprises, and governmental entities with a focus on turnarounds, transformations, growth and innovation planning, resource development, talent development, governance training, and diversity and inclusion strategies.

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”. Following its publication in 2018 and presentations to insurance carriers, agencies, and trade associations, the Study has been celebrated for its deep analysis of the industry’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) dynamics and acknowledgment of the historic accomplishments of African American practitioners, professionals, and insurance company owners. PlūsUltré consults several industry participants on implementation of D&I strategies, exemplified by engagement with the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association to advise on national and state level levels. A future version of the Study will explore the linkages between effective diversity and inclusion practices and corporate performance, and how well-designed D&I programs can affirmatively impact 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, Alumni Advisory Board for University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education Executive Doctorate Program, and the National Council of Washington University’s Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement. 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.

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Angela Peacock

Angie is the founder and CEO of the London based consultancy PDT Global.

She has led her firm from being a boutique training company toone of the foremost blended learning consultancies, specialising in helping organisations the world over to create inclusive environments where everyone with the capability to excel can do so.

A Board Advisor and coach to “C” suite executives, she employs over 20 years’ experience, bringing large organisations to a place of cultural and strategic change.

Angie and her team promote a more radical approach to inclusion and diversity. She has learnt that by being frank, via strategic, and not just well-meaning conversations, linking the personal fears and biases of leaders to the reasons for almost inertia in this field – organisations can drive better results. Not just in attaining their diversity targets, but also in business success. Her organisation promotes a truly blended approach, offering leading edge digital nudge and micro learnings with live virtual classroom capability and charged in-person workshops - in multiple languages and in every country in the world.

Her client list is impressive, and ranges from Bain Capital to State Street; Microsoft to Walmart & Accenture; Cisco to the National Basketball Association. Angie has published articles on the importance of this work and has been quoted in the Financial Times, Authority magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and many more.

Angela is an inspiring speaker and conference moderator, whether working with a small group, or addressing very large audiences, her style and approach is always engaging, entertaining and most importantly – valid. She uses storytelling, hard facts and her history in building strategies to ensure her messages hit home and are remembered long after the workshop has ended.

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Kristen Race

Dr Race is a bestselling author, founder of Mindful Life™, and Head of Mindfulness for Solvasa. A world-renowned expert in the field of mindfulness, Kristen's programs and services are rooted in neuroscience and designed to build resilience to modern day stress.

She focuses her work on making mindfulness practices accessible and easily incorporated into our daily lives. Instead of chasing the elusive goal of work/life balance, she creates simple exercises to bring balance to our brains – more relevant than ever in the world of COVID-19. Kristen's work has been featured in the New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and CNN, to name a few, and clients include Coca-Cola, Spanx, Match.com, Wells Fargo, AIG, Sanofi, The City of Ft. Collins, Cherry Creek School District, and more. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and has trained over 50,000 leaders in her methods worldwide.

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Jake Thompson

Jake Thompson is a professional speaker and the Chief Encouragement Officer at Compete Every Day, a brand he started in 2011 by first selling t-shirts out of the trunk of his car.

Jake works with organizations and individuals around the country, teaching how they can develop accountability, mental resilience, and leadership skills in order to make bigger impacts in their careers and in their life. It’s through his experience and research that he’s discovered how people who harness a competitive mindset against themselves can reach their goals, commit to action over motivation, and step into the leader they were created to be.

Jake is a third-generation entrepreneur, the youngest strategic advisory board member at the University of Dallas’ College of Business, and a graduate of both Texas Christian University (B.S.) and University of Dallas (M.B.A.).

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Peggy Tsai

Peggy Tsai is currently Vice President of Data Solutions at BigID. BigID is an advanced AI data discovery platform that helps enterprises identify and protect their customer and entity information on structured and unstructured sources. BigID is built entirely on APIs which are used to create apps for use cases related to ensuring data privacy compliance, reducing data security breaches and improving data governance.

Peggy has over 18 years of practitioner experience in data management, stewardship and governance in the financial services industry. Prior to joining BigID, she was Vice President of Data & Analytics at Morgan Stanley where she helped run the data governance program across the Wealth Management division. She held various positions at Morgan Stanley where she supported the data science teams on analytical data governance and led a project team to document data lineage and business definitions across enterprise systems in order to comply with Basel regulations. Peggy was also Data Innovation Lead in the Enterprise Data Management group at AIG. She was responsible for implementing enterprise data management practices to support Anti-Money Laundering, Solvency II and GDPR in the Latin American region and Commercial line of business. Peggy also worked at S&P Global Ratings where she held various positions in enterprise data group and technology in order to drive the value of data between the business and IT.

Peggy has a Masters in Information Systems from New York University and a Bachelors of Arts in Economics from Cornell University. In her spare time, she tweets and writes about her favorite topics including data governance, women in data and the future of fintech.

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Grace Vandecruze

Grace Vandecruze is the Founder and Managing Director at Grace Global Capital LLC, a consulting firm providing M&A financial advisory, restructuring, and valuation services to the insurance industry and financial regulators since 2006.  She was a Managing Director at Swiss Re and was responsible for the firm's regulatory advisory practice in the insurance and financial services industries. She has extensive expertise in mergers and acquisitions and capital raisings, and most notably she provided expert testimony on the valuation of Conseco during the largest bankruptcy in the insurance industry. Prior to joining Swiss Re, she was a Vice President at a private equity firm specializing in the insurance industry and an Associate in the Financial Institutions Group at Merrill Lynch. She earned an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BBA in Accounting from Pace University. Before attending The Wharton School, she was an auditor for six years in the financial services industry at EY and Grant Thornton. She is a Certified Public Accountant.

Grace is currently a board member of M Financial Group and was appointed to the Wharton Graduate Executive board.

Grace is a licensed sailor and mountain climber. She has climbed Everest Base Camp, Mount Kilimanjaro, Annapurna, and the Himalayan in Bhutan.  She has been featured in two books: "Be Happy at Work, 100 Women Who Love their Jobs and Why" by Joanne Gordon and "Doing it Ourselves:  Success Stories of African American Women in Business" by Donna Ballard.  Grace is frequently quoted in the financial press, including The American Banker, Insurance Journal and SNL Financial. She was the keynote speaker at the Mid-West Zone Conference of National Association of Insurance Commissioners, M Financial Annual Marketing Meeting and The Baker Tilly Insurance Conference. She has recently authored the book, “Homeless to Millionaire – 6 Keys to UPLIFT your Financial Abundance.”

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Sophia Yen

Sophia Yen is a Senior Partner/Principal and is the Insurance Strategy & Innovation Leader in EY’s Insurance Advisory practice, focused on working with clients to drive profitable growth through strategic ventures, market trends & insights, innovation, and digitization and emerging technologies. She also serves on the Americas Insurance Leadership team.

Sophia has over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry with deep experience in reinsurance, insurance, banking, disruptive technologies and digital transformation. She has led global initiatives focusing on growth, M&A integrations and separations, integrated business and financial strategy planning, and streamlining target operating models.

Sophia has a unique combination of industry and consulting experiences as she started in consulting and then spent half of her career in the insurance and banking industry before returning to consulting. Some of her notable accomplishments included driving the transformation at UBS Investment Bank where she achieved more than 30 million in cost savings. Prior to UBS, she was at Swiss Re and held several senior leadership roles, including running their Americas Client Solutions team, SVP of Financial Services Origination, Chief of Staff to the CEO and COO and Head of Operations and Reporting, where she was responsible for the strategic financial planning, reporting, and operations of a $2.5+ billion portfolio and was a member of the Americas Executive Committee.

She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor of Science (dual major: Finance & Computer Science) from Boston College and graduated both with high honors. She is a sought-after speaker at industry conferences throughout the Americas, EMEA, and Asia on such topics as strategic transformation, digital transformation, enabling innovation, culture change, and diversity & inclusion. Sophia lives in Chappaqua, NY with her husband and daughter.

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Dr. Lauren Young

Dr. Lauren Young is the Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Zurich North America. Prior to working at Zurich, Dr. Lauren Young served as an organizational change consultant for 10 years with a variety of Fortune 500 corporations. Her specialties include organizational design, improving the employee experience, establishing corporate culture initiatives and performance management. She has a Master of Science degree in Organizational Psychology and is completing her Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership; both from the University of Southern California. She also holds the SHRM-CP certification.

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