Captivated: Change the Story – A Blog by Richard Smith, President of VT Captive Insurance Association

Captivated: Change the Story – A Blog by Richard Smith, President of VT Captive Insurance Association

By Richard Smith, President of VT Captive Insurance Association (VCIA)

You might remember that earlier this year I did a blog on women in leadership roles in the insurance industry (or the lack there of). I kind of smugly talked about how proud I was of the captive industry and specifically VCIA, in the number of women in leadership roles. And though I am still proud of the efforts in our niche, I was reminded that there is still a long way to go and we, males that is, can’t take these efforts for granted.

I was invited to an event last night that brought together male business and community leaders in Burlington, Vermont who acknowledge that gender equality means a stronger economy.  And although I continue to see extremely talented young women join the ranks of captive insurance, much of the responsibility for effecting meaningful progress toward greater equality between male and female professionals within a corporate culture will fall to the most senior executives.

One startling statistic from the organization Change the Story Vermont was that on our current trajectory, with all the advancements we have made toward gender equality, the gender gap is projected to disappear in Vermont in the year 2048 – that’s 32 years people!

With that in mind, here are a couple of things we can start to do:

  • Encourage women to apply for jobs for which you think they’re qualified but they’re likely to dismiss as beyond their experience.
  • Reach out to younger colleagues who are beginning their careers. Ask them questions about what led them to your field, what they like about their work, and where they’d like to be in 10 years.
  • Give women meaningful opportunities to lead and have a voice in decision-making by inviting them to serve on advisory committees and boards of directors.
  • Invite 1-2 young women to attend a business or social event with you; expose them to new connections and widen their professional circles. Share your own stories – successes, pitfalls, and unanticipated discoveries – with those around you; they can inspire, provide perspective, and encourage persistence.
  • Be an ambassador for inclusion – reach out to a new person in your workplace and help her settle in. When you see people excluded at work or at after-work gatherings, look for ways to change it up.

Check out other ideas and statistics at or a similar organization in your domicile. Let’s make it work!

Thank you all very much, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Rich Smith
VCIA President

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HBR: The Men Who Mentor Women

HBR: The Men Who Mentor Women

Source: Harvard Business Review, Dec. 7, 2016

By Anna Marie Valerio and Katina Sawyer

“While women make up 51.5% of all managers, much fewer women rise to the C-suite. A survey of 25,000 Harvard Business School graduates found that although male and female graduates had similar levels of ambition, men were significantly more likely to have positions in senior management, direct reports, and profit-and-loss responsibility.

We know having a sponsor who supports your career can help level the playing field for women. So who are the men in your organization known as informal champions of women, for the way that their behaviors advance female leaders? And what do they have in common?

From previous research, we already know that these “male champions” genuinely believe in fairness, gender equity, and the development of talent in their organizations, and that they are easily identified by female leaders for the critical role they play advancing women’s careers.

But we wanted to know more about what these men do differently. How do they stand up to pressure from peers or the expectations of outmoded organizational cultures? How do they use their power to create diverse, inclusive organizations?

We asked senior male and female leaders in Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations to tell us about the behaviors of these “male champions.” We conducted 75 semi-structured confidential interviews with leaders in the C-suite or one to three levels below C-suite in both Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. After subjecting these interviews to a rigorous qualitative analysis, we saw several themes emerge.

Generally, we saw that “male champions” have learned that gender inclusiveness means involving both men and women in advancing women’s leadership. Although many organizations have attempted to fight gender bias by focusing on women – offering training programs or networking groups specifically for them — the leaders we interviewed realized that any solutions that involve only 50% of the human population are likely to have limited success.”

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State of America’s Fathers

State of America’s Fathers


State of America’s Fathers reveals never-before-seen data in this first-ever comprehensive report on U.S. fatherhood. It takes an honest look at what it means to be a dad in the United States today, how it’s different than ever before, and the future of this fatherhood revolution.


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A message to men! Yes, you’re invited, too!

A message to men! Yes, you’re invited, too!

To the men that think they can’t attend an event with “women” in the title…

Here’s a personal message from Colin Ryan. He currently serves on the  Vermont Commission on Women.

“It’s a problem of language. When you put “Women” in the title, as men we assume that it’s not about us, it doesn’t affect us, and it’s probably not even for us. But when you do go, it becomes clear right away that equality is not a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue. And we have a far bigger role to play than remaining silent for fear of saying the wrong thing.”
 – Colin Ryan, Commissioner, VT Commission on Women
Get the latest stats and information about Vermont’s wage gap: read our latest report: 2016 Status Report: Women Work and Wages in VT.
How Society Pays When Women’s Work Is Unpaid

How Society Pays When Women’s Work Is Unpaid

“In countries around the world, the ways in which men and women spend their time are unbalanced. Men spend more time working for money. Women do the bulk of the unpaid work — cooking, cleaning and child care.

This unpaid work is essential for households and societies to function. But it is also valued less than paid work, and when it is women’s responsibility, it prevents them from doing other things.

“This is one of those root inequalities that exist all over in society and we just don’t talk about it very much,” Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Gates Foundation, said in an interview. She said she was inspired by her own observations when traveling to other countries as well as by time-use data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “If we don’t bring it forward, we basically won’t unlock the potential of women.”

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Catalyst Knowledge Center

Catalyst Knowledge Center

A “Knowledge Center” filled with reports, infographics, recorded webinars, etc. relevant to the workplace diversity, corporate governance, men, sponsorship/mentoring, women in leadership, etc.

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