In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we would like to honor the many women not just in our agency, but industry-wide that are making an impact each day in our lives now and for the generations to come. Our industry has primarily been male-dominated for generations. However, at Acentria Insurance – women are an intricate part of our foundation as an organization, our leadership and the future of our agency to come. In light of this, we took some time to interview a few of our very own influencers at Acentria Insurance and are excited to honor them here by sharing some of their thoughts on Women’s History Month, women in leadership and how they have grown into the leaders they are today.
Liz Bevelacqua, Jo Chonko and Angie Ooley are a few of our women in leadership with long-term industry experience that are making an impact with Acentria Insurance and across our industry. We asked each of them the following questions to help highlight the importance of women in the workforce, all they contribute and what can be accomplished along the way.
Who is the most influential woman in your life?
“I have had a combination of women that were collectively influential. My grandmother, my mother and my aunt are all strong ladies that I had as role models growing up. From them, I’ve learned so much and it has shaped who I am today both personally and professionally. “ – Liz Bevelacqua , Senior Vice President – Personal Lines Sales
“I’ll share that my father’s mother was an astute businesswoman before her time, owning several businesses and participating in state government. She was direct & forward-thinking and very well respected. I learned a lot from watching her, and especially how important relationships are, both professionally and personally. She somehow managed to be a successful woman while remembering her personal priorities that gave her a balanced life. ” – Jo Chonko, Vice President – Sales Producer
“Helen Crockett (AKA my 2nd mother)”. The Crockett Agency was acquired by Acentria Insurance in 2019; Angie joined Acentria Insurance as part of this acquisition. – Angie Ooley, Branch Manager
How are companies like Acentria leading the charge in women’s diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
“I am so impressed with the number of women in leadership roles here at Acentria. As I meet all of them and learn their backgrounds, I am truly honored to be working with such a group of talented women.” –Liz Bevelacqua , Senior Vice President – Personal Lines Sales
“Acentria’s culture supports the opportunity for all employees regardless of their personal characteristics or traits. Women are recognized for their efforts & expertise, and this is demonstrated by the number and quality of women entrusted in the organization’s leadership roles.” – Jo Chonko, Vice President – Sales Producer
“They are showing the world that women are very ambitious and can carry a lot on their shoulders and perform at an unbelievable level.” – Angie Ooley, Branch Manager
As a woman you wear many hats; how do you take time for self-care?
“It’s easy to put yourself last and take care of everything else first. Over the years, I have learned to schedule my self-care time in advance. I look at the month ahead and am deliberate about planning “me time” to rest, recharge and pamper myself.” -Liz Bevelacqua , Senior Vice President – Personal Lines Sales
“Sometimes you have to say “no” to others and “yes” to yourself.” – Jo Chonko, Vice President – Sales Producer
This can be very hard. I have just learned to set a date with myself to take care of “me”. – Angie Ooley, Branch Manager
Do you have a women’s empowerment moment that inspired you?
“Not one in particular, however when I look at how far we have come and read stories of all the trailblazers who brought us to where we are today, it makes me thankful to live in times where there is so much opportunity for women.” – Liz Bevelacqua , Senior Vice President – Personal Lines Sales
“Honestly for me, it was when Acentria acquired our office and I found that so much of management were women. This is so encouraging to know that women are respected for their accomplishments. I was very concerned when we were acquired by Acentria but it has turned out to be the best thing for our staff and the clients.” – Angie Ooley, Branch Manager
What is something you’d tell your younger self?
“People will talk you out of your dreams. Don’t listen to them. Follow your heart, have your own voice and never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.” – Liz Bevelacqua , Senior Vice President – Personal Lines Sales Personal Lines Sales
“Be persistent but patient, have a sense of humor, and don’t fret the little things. It will all work out.” – Jo Chonko, Vice President – Sales Producer
“Never Settle. If you have a goal don’t settle for less regardless of what other people may say.” – Angie Ooley, Branch Manager
Share with us a message you’d like to tell others on International Women’s Day?
‘This quote from Serena Williams is a favorite of mine. “Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. We’re strongest when we cheer each other on.” ‘ – Liz Bevelacqua , Senior Vice President – Personal Lines Sales
“Each of us offers our own unique perspectives based on what we have learned and what we have experienced. Typing yourself limits your potential. Be the best you can be, and if you find yourself in a culture that does not support who you are, remember that sometimes you have to let go of something good to move on to something great.” – Jo Chonko, Vice President – Sales Producer
“It is great that we celebrate women and all of their efforts. Women have so many contributions that make this company, state and country a better place.” – Angie Ooley, Branch Manager
Women at all levels within Acentria Insurance, across the insurance industry and in business are making a difference each day. We hope this inspires you to continue reaching higher, lead by example and celebrate along the way.
Happy International Women’s Day!