March 29th 2023
At her very core, Anne Ingoldsby, COO of Davies Life & Health, is a woman of integrity. Inspired by her late Aunt Anna Falzone, she habitually practices five key values:
We were able to sit down with Anne to continue the conversation about her experience as a woman in the insurance industry and how her nursing background helped her develop certain programs in the field.
I’m a nurse by background, and it’s due to my past medical history that I decided to become a nurse. So, I started out as a nurse and I actually worked in the oncology field but I experienced quite a bit of burn out. At the time, my aunt worked at an insurance company and she suggested I work in the industry for a while to see if I liked it. I agreed and worked at a big insurance carrier, staying there for five years in the health insurance sector. I helped develop early versions of claim management or case management programs, using my nursing skills and background when developing these programs. I really enjoyed drawing on my nursing background while helping individuals in the insurance world. While I was there, I got my master’s degree in public health, which was a great mix with my academic background and current profession.
So, I worked with the large insurance carrier doing new program development, data analytics, data analysis, and reporting using the tools they had at the time. I was then offered a position as a nurse to lead the clinical side of the development of a new insurance company and I worked there for seventeen years. I learned a lot about the long-term care insurance industry and I helped develop a lot of tools that the industry still uses today, like cognitive testing and claim management protocols. I then moved to a different company, Tri-Plus, now Davies. I started out mostly focusing on long-term care insurance claims and over time, I became the Chief Operating Officer, which is my current role. At Davies, I oversee the long-term care operations. So, it’s policyholder services, claim management, claim payment, as well as the innovations and client interactions. I love my role and I love the people I work alongside as well as working with and helping the clients, which is where I get my joy.
Unfortunately, I have. Very often, I have been the only woman at the table. Certainly in the early going, especially when I was fresh out of working with patients, people didn’t really think I knew anything, didn’t take me seriously, or used to call me “the kid”. As a woman coming into a male dominated industry, all my bosses were male, until I encountered one woman, who really took me under her wing. I think that’s what it’s really about. I think women have to take each other by the hand and help one another along, and that’s what I try to do. Women need to support other women. Coming from a woman dominated industry in nursing, some women tend to be brutal to each other. It’s one of the things I have decided in my career that I would not tolerate. Regardless of gender, you always want to look for good players. But when there’s a woman that you think can really make a difference, that’s where I like to see and help people make an impact.
I think the best piece advice that I’ve ever been given is to be true to myself and to act with integrity. Those are two things that I really try to practice in my life. In terms of integrity, I always want to do what I think is the right thing, even if it’s hard. I’ve been given a lot of other great advice over the years but being true to yourself and acting with integrity I think will always steer you in the right direction.
I have, although not as much as I would like to see. For example, I have a position that, when I look around at other companies, not a lot of women have. So, I have seen movement for sure, but we still have a way to go. Companies still tend to look toward the male and I think in the past at least, there was a lot of thought, conscious or unconscious, that even if you hired a woman, they were eventually going to get married and then have children and then they were going to leave. I do think there’s a lot more open mindedness about that now and more understanding that women want to have a career and they want to move ahead and contribute professionally. So, I do think there are advancements, although I also think it depends on who your leaders are. I’ve been lucky enough throughout my career to have male bosses who were willing to take a chance on me and who saw that I could bring something to the table that they could depend upon. Maybe it’s because I always show up, but I think women have to work twice as hard. I’ve always felt like I had to work twice as hard to get to where I am. I also think women have been socialized not to advocate for or promote themselves in professional environments. I think those are skills that we should teach women how to do in a way that’s acceptable. Sometimes, if you’re forceful, if you’re strong, it’s seen or perceived in a different way for women as it’s seen for men.
The biggest message is dream big. Don’t be limited by where you may have started. For example, I started as a nurse and there was nothing to say that I would end up running the operations of an insurance company or a TPA. So, dream big and set your goals and make a plan to achieve them. Another one is to find people to mentor you. You need to find a mentor who is going to honestly tell you what skills you need, where you need to develop, and be somebody who can pull you along and really advocate for you as well.
One hundred percent, and it’s my aunt, Anna Falzone. She was born in 1928 and was incredibly smart, graduating from high school when she was 15 and starting at John Hancock. She was an incredibly hard worker, worked with that integrity, and really pushed and scrapped her way to a point in her career that was unheard of for women in that day and age. She even took on a male name in the office; they called her Rony because that was more acceptable. She’s my inspiration and she’s the one who always inspired me to be my best self. She went to school at night to get her undergraduate degree and really encouraged me to get my master’s degree and always mentored, encouraged, and talked to me about what I should do and how I should interact in the workplace.
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