Podcast: The Building BITE

Episode: Growing into a Leadership Role as a Female in the Insurance Industry


Tune in to The Building BITE Podcast as we hear from industry experts about key topics to help you be successful. In this episode, hosts Valerie Bono and Peter Duggan welcome Heather O'Neill, CRIS, AVP of Construction Specialty Products for Arch Insurance Group. Heather shares her journey growing into a leadership role as a female in the insurance industry. A graduate of Texas Christian University, Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History with a minor in English. Leveraging her liberal arts background, Heather discovered a passion in the insurance space – where she can assimilate different information to understand the nuances of complex risk.


Heather has held various positions across the industry, beginning her career in construction insurance at American Contractors Insurance Group (ACIG). She then transitioned to the broker side as an Account Executive at Roach Howard Smith & Barton (RHSB) and then spent nearly six years as a Senior Underwriter for Subcontractor Default Insurance at AXA XL. 


Heather most recently took on an active leadership role as AVP at Arch Insurance Group within the Construction Specialty team, focused on Subcontractor Default Insurance. In this role, she has the unique opportunity to work within an incredible team of four female underwriters – which is notable since women in the insurance and construction industry continue to be underrepresented. 


Through the art of storytelling, Heather shares those most influential throughout her career, including those she works closely with at Arch. She continues by sharing the ultimate personal responsibility mantra, inspired by her grandfather, "No one can make you think, act, feel or believe in any way you don't want to". Heather’s three takeaways include for listeners looking to find their leadership growth:

  • Find trusted mentors: Find mentors who will give you open and honest feedback while having a vested interest in you and your development.
  • Don't be afraid to take risk: When taken with purpose, fear of failure dissipates, and opportunities to learn emerge. 
  • Find your balance: Find the balance between working hard and seeking opportunities to promote / advocate for yourself.


As an action item, Heather encourages listeners to find a trusted advisor and ask for feedback. It's essential to have a safe space to receive positive and constructive feedback which provides continued opportunities for improvement. 


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Connect with Heather O’Neill, CRIS on LinkedIn

Follow Arch Insurance Group, Inc. at www.archinsurance.com

Email Heather at HOneill@archinsurance.com

Connect with Valerie Bono

Connect with Peter Duggan

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