Soft Skills for Hard Work
By Cindy Powell, President, Bespoke Management and Technology Services LLC

As one of the insurance industry’s leading trade associations, IASA is the go-to place for education and collaboration of ideas and information amongst our membership. 

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Opportunities to learn and share are facilitated by the organization all year.  This is accomplished via social media, on-line training, electronic and print publications, regional meetings and the annual conference.   Alongside the very important “hard skills” in insurance and technology, our education offerings also include the work done by the Career Skills Development Committee (CSD). We focus on the “soft-skills” needed to work effectively and efficiently in this challenging and dynamic industry.  The heavily regulated, extremely competitive and technically complex requirements of our industry requires expertise in many disciplines so that companies and their employees can succeed.   Acknowledging the need to continuously improve our soft-skills is also essential to furthering our career, retaining exceptional employees, or for our own well-being!

CSD committee members understand the importance of soft-skills in order to navigate diverse work environments and to maintain a positive attitude and enthusiasm for the work we are doing.   Alongside planning and scheduling for the CSD annual conference sessions, we also participate throughout the rest of the year in publications and social-media forums.  Our focus is on topics that we hope will help prompt members to give some priority to honing soft-skills, along with the required technical skills for their profession.   

CSD allocates time and resources to two learning tracks, which include career skills applicable to everyone, as well as specific skills required for leadership and management career paths.  Our contributors and speakers share their experiences, tips and advice to promote professionalism, effective communications, and teamwork.   Our topics frequently cover multi-cultural and multi-generational sensitivity and awareness training, as well as ethics and work-life balance.   Additionally, the annual conference CSD Super Session engages entertaining highly sought after speakers who bring us thought provoking ideas and out-of-the-box suggestions for how to incorporate positive life skills into our jobs.  Through these talented and professional speakers we can learn things like how to incorporate enthusiasm, energy and passion into our customer service approach. 

2017 will not disappoint. We are bringing in a combination of volunteer and paid speakers to meet the growing needs of career development skills.  The Super Session will provide us an insider’s view into “Disney Magic”, as we are entertained and informed by former Disney Executive Danny Snow.  This session will highlight ways to assure an excellent customer experience.  Regional Leadership Forum RLF offers speakers with years of IT leadership experience, knowledge and education. Two of their speakers will be joining us to discuss providing environments in which tomorrow’s leaders can understand and enhance their leadership skills.  Cheryl Morgan will speak on Emotional Intelligence and Kevin Ryan will present a session on Value Driven Leadership.  Below is a list of some of the additional sessions being offered at 2017 Conference.  We will be sharing a little bit more about our speakers and their topics in the upcoming months.  Our goal is to get you as excited about Career Development sessions. 

Session Title

Speaker/ Presenter

Who are they…

Inclusive Leadership

Fred Colon

Vice President Chief Diversity Officer & Head of Organization Effectiveness; Travelers



Performing at your Peak: Three Principles for Presences under Pressure

Eleni Kelakos

Chief Transformational Officer; The Eleni Group

Mission Possible: Strategies for Today's Talent Challenges


Margaret Milkint

Managing Partner: The Jacobson Group.


Taking Yourself to the Next Level . . . The Ultimate Use of your Confidence


Norbert “Nobby” Lewandowski


Speaker, professional baseball player, to founder of one of largest accounting firms in Northeast Ohio and successful entrepreneurial venture

Woman In Leadership: Insights and Perspectives

Cathy Elwood, Ruth Estrich and Louise Zieman

Past Presidents of IASA


As we approach a new year, and begin registering for the next annual conference, we invite and encourage all members to consider each of the CSD sessions and the CSD Super Session in your conference planning.   You won’t be disappointed! 

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