Leading the way for young insurance professionals, Gallagher Bassett VP, Carrier Practice, Amy Cooper, founded Rising Insurance Star Executives (RISE) in 2017 as a springboard to help bridge the talent gap by recognizing and advancing the best young talent in the insurance industry.

RISE is a group with a vision to build a platform where young insurance professionals are recognized for their accomplishments in the industry, can learn about new industry technologies and practices, and are encouraged to engage with industry mentors and peers. Their stated purpose is to educate the younger generations on the benefits of joining the insurance industry and to help bridge the talent gap by creating a space for young professionals to network, learn, and grow.

Members of Gallagher Bassett’s Carrier Practice team attended the recent RISE Leadership Summit and Awards Gala, connecting with many of the industry’s talented up-and-comers.

The Summit was punctuated by an Awards Gala to celebrate individuals across the industry for their accomplishments. Mike Hessling, Gallagher Bassett CEO North America, delivered a stirring keynote at the Gala, offering insights into his career in the insurance industry, what it means to exceed expectations, and how to make every interaction count.

“It was energizing to share some perspectives, life lessons, and advice with a room full of ambitious and career-minded insurance professionals from diverse backgrounds,” said Mike.

“The future of our industry will be shaped by bright and driven people, but what matters most is that these talented people become leaders in their area. People who inspire, engage, motivate, and encourage others — who create an environment where people say, ‘I choose and want to be here.’ The RISE event was a great opportunity to connect with those future difference-makers.”

Amy Cooper, VP, Carrier Practice, is the founder of the RISE organization and sat down with Jon Stambaugh, SVP Carrier Practice, after the Summit to talk about the RISE platform, the recognition program, and what’s next.

Jon Stambaugh (JS): What is the purpose of RISE? What are you trying to accomplish?

Amy Cooper (AC): RISE is a group for young professionals in the insurance industry that’s meant to be a springboard for young rising talent starting out in their career, as well as a force to attract new people to insurance. It offers four committees with leadership opportunities, a mentorship program, scholarships, awards and recognition, monthly webinars and continuing education, networking, information on top internship programs, and more. RISE also acts as an aggregator for the industry, showcasing the many career paths that insurance offers and providing scholarships for young professionals to attend other events.

JS: What led you to create RISE?

AC: Well, when I started in insurance, I went to my first big conference and heard a CEO get up on stage and talk about the talent gap that was coming and how we were going to need to fill all these jobs on a cliff that was a few years off. I looked around the room and didn’t see a single other young person. I thought that, if more young people could see the same opportunity that I was seeing, they would definitely want to be in this industry. I started searching for a young professionals group for insurance, like the one I had been a co-chair of in the mortgage industry, and didn’t find one. So, I started RISE.

JS: What does a RISE Award win mean for a young professional in the industry?

AC: It’s a big deal! A RISE Award recognizes the top rising stars in the industry for their contributions to their company, community, and the insurance industry. It means that they stand out amongst their peers as a top performer, and they represent the future of our industry. Especially at a time when the talent gap is widening, not shrinking, these are the people that we’ll be looking to for leadership in our industry, so I think winning a RISE Award is a great accomplishment. So too is being a finalist or winner of the Mentor of the Year Award, which is a terrific way to recognize those advancing and supporting young professionals.

JS: What are some of the standout ideas or innovations coming from this year’s crop of winners?

AC: We saw and heard a tremendous amount of new, innovative ideas at the Summit: ideas from a lot of different insurance sectors and from organizations both big and small. Right now, our Innovation Committee is working on a certificate course to teach how to innovate inside an insurance company. Our DEI Committee also just launched a scholarship program, in which they raised over $5,000 for scholarships for underrepresented groups of college students. They plan to pair these scholarship recipients with mentors and help them get interviews for internships in insurance. These efforts will help get the professionals with the innovative ideas that we’re hearing in the door at insurance carriers, and ultimately help make our industry stronger.

JS: What impact has RISE had on the industry since 2017?

AC: We’ve awarded over 200 scholarships and had 119 RISE Award winners. Our mentorship program has positively impacted dozens of people who, during the pandemic, had no other way to meet new connections or frankly even connect with others. We started publishing a list of the Elite 50 Internships to help future interns learn where they should apply. We’ve awarded CE credit to hundreds of claim professionals. Most importantly, we’ve started to create a new image of what it’s like to work in insurance and have brought together thousands of members to connect with each other and advance their career.

JS: What’s next for RISE?

AC: Expanding membership, which is currently free, is top priority. I’m excited to launch a new and more interactive website in the next month, which will foster more virtual connections for our members. Also on the horizon are more mentorship opportunities, more scholarships and partnerships with large industry groups, and a Junior Advisory Board. Finally, we’re looking to launch more educational certificate courses after the one for innovation.

Amy Cooper is VP of Carrier Practice Sales for Gallagher Bassett North America and founder of RISE.

Connect with Amy to find out how Gallagher Bassett can RISE your practice to the next level.

Blog Author

Amy Cooper

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