03.29.22
Corvus Team

Women in Cyber: Corvus Interview

Cyber insurance lies at the intersection of two male-dominated industries. Women amount to less than one-quarter of the total workforce in cybersecurity, and while on face value there’s stronger gender diversity in insurance — 57% of entry-level roles in the industry are filled by women — the numbers get less encouraging higher up the C-Suite. In 2019, they accounted for less than one in five direct reports to the CEO. 

During Women’s History Month we want to acknowledge and celebrate the progress members of our own flock have made against societal barriers and biases. Our shared mission of a Safer World starts with us. That means empowering our own employees to foster their careers, grow, and mentor other women to join the cyber industry with confidence. Without all of their contributions and unique skills, our efforts towards mitigating and eliminating risk wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

As a part of a relatively young industry, there’s no reason we should fall into old patterns of disproportionate representation. We’ve spoken with women on our team to get their perspective on everything from the best pieces of advice they’ve heard, challenges that arise in a male-dominated field, dealing with imposter syndrome, and more.

Corvus Q&A, Women in Cyber:

[EMPLOYEE HEADSHOT] Maggie DePaul - Senior Underwriter, Corvus InsuranceMaggie DePaul, Senior Underwriter 

What advice would you give to women entering the field of cyber insurance?

Understand your worth, acknowledge what you bring to the table, and don’t be afraid to have your own opinions. If you have something to say, say it. Career development is made when you’re actively in the conversation, not when you’re watching from the sidelines.

What are things you've learned from other generations of women, both younger and older?

The two most important things I have learned from other women are to always advocate for yourself and to hold the door open for other women. A lot of women struggle with self-advocating, but it is something that is crucial to career development. We also need to help other women and pull them up with us. It doesn’t matter how strong or successful you are — if you don’t have a generation of equally strong and successful women coming up behind you then the work you did won’t make as big or lasting of an impact. 

[EMPLOYEE HEADSHOT] Lori Bailey - Chief Insurance Officer, Corvus InsuranceLori Bailey, Chief Insurance Officer 

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would you say?

I would tell myself not to be afraid to fail.  This was one of my biggest fears early in my career and, as a result, I didn’t take some chances (projects, positions, moves, etc.) that might have proven very successful. 

Women are more likely to deal with "imposter syndrome." How do you counteract that? 

Recognition is the first step!  As someone who has personally experienced this throughout many stages of my own career, the first thing to do is realize that you are not alone and it is very common.  Other tips that have worked for me include building a strong support network of trusted peers who can help build your confidence and finding ways to “visualize” your success. 

What advice would you give to women entering the field of cyber insurance?

 Cyber is a fast-growing line of insurance with many opportunities for learning and advancement.  Take every opportunity to learn as much as possible about insurance as well as cybersecurity fundamentals — this combination will be critical to success in the future. 

Amanda Stantzos, VP of Cyber Underwriting [EMPLOYEE HEADSHOT] Amanda Stantzos - VP of Cyber Underwriting, Corvus Insurance

What advice would you give to women entering the field of cyber insurance?

Insurance is a hidden gem. Don’t let the industry being historically male-dominated scare you from leaning in. Come in, set personal goals, and work at achieving them every single day. 

20 years from now, what advancements would you like to see for women in your field?

I’d love to see more women hold executive positions as well as seeing “women-owned” agencies or MGAs. I think representation at the top is lacking across the board. 

What are the best ways to address gender stereotypes, especially in the workplace?

Calling out gender stereotypes when we see them is very important. We have to work hard to change the narrative and make sure that everyone is given an equal opportunity to succeed if they want it. It’s OK to challenge the status quo, that’s how we got where we are today and we only have up to go from here. 

[EMPLOYEE HEADSHOT] Anne Scott - VP of Cyber and Tech E&O Underwriting, Corvus InsuranceAnne Scott, VP of Cyber and Tech E&O Underwriting

20 years from now, what advancements would you like to see for women in your field?

I hope in 20 years we will have established a “new normal” with highly diverse and talented leadership teams across industries. Young professionals should be able to see themselves in the board of directors of their company.  I would love to see 50 women across the Fortune 100 CEO list — selected not because they are women, but because they were given the same opportunities to prove they were the best candidate.

What are things you’ve learned from other generations of women, both younger and older?

I’ve learned that no one will care about your career as much as you do.  It’s important to be proactive in managing your career and not let others define your successes or dictate your path.

What are the best ways to address gender stereotypes, especially in the workplace?

I believe it begins at the individual level. The first step in addressing stereotypes is identifying your own unconscious biases and then working to overcome them.  

Lauren Winchester, VP of Risk + Response [EMPLOYEE HEADSHOT] Lauren Winchester - VP of Risk + Response, Corvus Insurance

What advice would you give to women entering the field of cyber insurance?

Welcome to this wonderful, tight-knit, but rather small industry!  Remember to build bridges and form relationships with everyone you meet. You never know who you’ll be working with years from now.  Get connected to the even smaller community of women in our industry; we’re just starting to come together, realize our collective power, and we’re going to do awesome things!

What are things you’ve learned from other generations of women, both younger and older?

Older generations of women have taught me to empower other women I work with, and find ways for their voices to be heard, regardless of the role I’m in. You can really do this at any level within an organization. Younger generations of women have taught me to demand more of my employer. Older generations of women may say “any paid leave is great” or “at least there are some women leaders in the company now!” Let’s be loud when we say, no, that’s BS, do better. (And to be fair, plenty of women that are older than me will also call BS!).

Women are more likely to deal with “imposter syndrome.” How do you counteract that?

Conjure an image of a man who suffers from the exact opposite problem, and remember he would not hesitate to sit in your role and give his opinion, and you’ll instantly feel more confident that your contributions have value.

[EMPLOYEE HEADSHOT] Imani Palmer - Senior Data Scientist, Corvus InsuranceImani Palmer, Senior Data Scientist 

Did you face any challenges entering a primarily male-dominated field?

The main challenge I faced entering a primarily male-dominated field is the acceptance that I will always be alone. I am from a different culture and I have different viewpoints based on how I was raised in society. This makes conversations and building relationships in this field more difficult than I originally thought. I eventually adapted to this new world, but I have realized no one has adapted to who I am.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would you say? 

I would tell myself that I am worth it. I am a power being that is worthy of all the good things coming her way. I should not stand in my own way.

Savanna Boyles, Senior Director of Claims [EMPLOYEE HEADSHOT] Savanna Boyles - Senior Director of Claims, Corvus Insurance

What are the best ways to address gender stereotypes, especially in the workplace?

I think having an engaged DEI initiative is a great step. From my experience, unconscious bias training is a really useful tool for opening the conversation about the myriad of ways that we might stereotype without even realizing or intending to. Encouraging allyship is also important — engaging allies to recognize and correct bias can really be a powerful tool for a company culture shift.

Did you face any challenges entering a primarily male-dominated field?

Yes. There will be men (and even some women) who will assume that you are less of an authority figure compared to the men in the room. There will be men who assume that the more administrative tasks are in your wheelhouse. For example, I vividly remember early in my career where a settlement agreement needed to be outlined by hand prior to being memorialized in a typed document. Out of a room full of men, I was nominated to write the notes because one of them was “sure I must have the best handwriting in the room." I can only assume the rationale was that aesthetic penmanship is more of a female trait.