Velocity Risk Underwriters open its doors in 2015 in a small office in Nashville with a dozen employees and an idea to disrupt the catastrophe insurance business. Velocity not only looked at the industry differently than most, it also knew the importance of diversity and launched its operation with women making up more than half of the original team, including women in senior leadership roles.
As we celebrate Women’s History Month in March, Velocity is proud that it has continued to develop women in the workplace. Our employee count has surpassed 100, and half of the people in leadership roles are women, including roles in the senior leadership ranks. Those statistics are rare in most organizations, where recent numbers in the U.S. show managers make up less than 40% and senior leaders less than 30%.
Women celebrated the first International Women’s Day in 1911, and since then the impact that women have made in the workplace, in politics, on the economy and in the home has been tremendous. And thanks to our CEO who didn’t think it was necessary for women to break glass ceilings to succeed at Velocity, Phil Bowie started the company with the philosophy that everyone’s voice matters, and that value continues today.
When one of the first employees shared the news that she was pregnant, the company didn’t yet have a short-term disability policy in place, but knew the importance of supporting women in the workplace and made it possible for her to take a three-month fully paid maternity leave, a policy that remains in force today. Carolyn Parker, Chief Underwriting Officer at the Birmingham office also knows the importance of this benefit, as a mom herself and as a leader of the organization: “We have worked with all of our new moms to make sure they understand that they won’t be overlooked or fall behind by taking time to be with their families.”
As we take time to share the evolution and influence of the women’s movement for the past century with our daughters, nieces and other young women entering the workforce, it’s important to let them know we have made progress, and there are organizations that reflect the ideals of society. Let’s continue to work together as a community in supporting a belief that all men and women are created equal.