Top International Minds to Address the Power of Diverse Thought, Innovation at Women in Insurance Global Conference

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) will host an international audience of 650 attendees in New York for its third Women in Insurance Global Conference, June 7-9, at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. Discussing meaningful topics of diversity and inclusion, the Women in Insurance Global Conference will explore the global impact of innovation, specifically the advantages and power of diverse thought on issues of innovation, and the importance of a fully inclusive work environment.

wigc-header_pngToday’s industry leaders are confronting issues related to gender, generation and a more globally dispersed and culturally unique workforce. They are also transforming challenges into opportunities for an ever more inclusive workplace. The Women in Insurance Global Conference will host acclaimed keynote speakers, dynamic panel discussions and interactive breakout sessions that address a range of today’s most relevant diversity and inclusion topics.

Notable speakers will discuss global industry innovation and the business case for diversity, including keynote speakers:

  • Victoria Budson, Founder and Executive Director of the Women and Public Policy Program – Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government
  • Dawn Frasier-Bohnert, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer – Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Ivy Kusinga, SVP, Chief Culture Officer – Chubb
  • Morris Tooker, Chief Underwriting Officer – The Hartford
  • Bo Young Lee, Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader – Marsh
  • Yuhan Li, Founder – Yidu Cloud
  • Jennifer Brown, Founder, President & CEO – Jennifer Brown Consulting

During the three-day event, IICF will announce the winners of its Inclusion Champion Award, bestowed at each Women in Insurance Global Conference. The award recognizes those within the insurance industry who have championed the cause of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and who are personally committed to community service. This year, both a woman and a man will be honored as Inclusion Champions. Nominations are being accepted via IICF’s website.

“From the start, the Women in Insurance Global Conference has exceeded our expectations in terms of attendance and the commitment and passion of those individuals who contribute to it,” explained William E. Ross, CEO of IICF. “Each year we have an eager gathering of attendees – men and women – committed to making our industry stronger through greater inclusiveness and diversity of thought.”

Early registration for the conference runs until April 12, and interested attendees can register up to and including the start of the conference.

For additional information, please contact Betsy Myatt at emyatt@iicf.com.

About the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) is a unique nonprofit that unites the collective strengths of the insurance industry to help communities and enrich lives through grants, volunteer service and leadership. Established in 1994, IICF has contributed $25.3 million in community grants, along with more than 240,500 volunteer hours, to hundreds of charities and nonprofit organizations, reinvesting in local communities where funds are raised. IICF is a registered nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Learn more at www.iicf.org.

Twitter Danger for Realtors: Provocation, Provocation, Provocation

Twitter is not a toy, and certainly not something to be used in haste. Just ask Tony Brust, who until last Monday was a real estate agent in Illinois.

On Jan. 31, Brust took to social media to criticize recent political commentary from well-known comedian Patton Oswald. The war of tweets became heated, and in what can only be called a complete lapse of judgement, Brust tweeted a reference to Oswald’s wife, Michelle McNamara, who died unexpectedly in April 2016, saying “I’m a psychic and I am channeling his wife’s opinions.” Oswald and many of his followers took offense, and the debate went – as they say – viral. Inundated, Brust deleted his Twitter account.

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An image of Tony Brust’s tweet about Patton Oswald’s wife was shared and reshared despite Brust deleting his account.

Brust was fired that day. His employer, Michael Maloof, told the Chicago Tribune, “We were made aware that this had gone on and we parted company.” As of Feb. 6, all of Brust’s social media accounts and his personal website were unpublished. Even his Zillow profile was removed.

The social media lesson here is simple: Don’t be a jerk. Name calling and offensive comments negate the merits of any argument you might be making. And, most importantly, Twitter is not a conversation. It is a permanent digital record subject to review and interpretation by anyone with an Internet connection.

If your livelihood depends on the public choosing you as a professional product or service provider, Twitter debates on any topic – including politics – should be avoided. For real estate professionals specifically, these online spats serve only to expose your reputation to unnecessary risk and can significantly damage your business. What you might think of as a witty comeback can take on a life of its own in ways you cannot imagine – and there are real-life consequences.

If you doubt this, Google “Tony Brust AND real estate.” You won’t find anything about Brust’s advocacy for clients, big sales or his real estate career highlights. What you will find on that first page of your Google search – the holy grail of search and a key to online reputation management – are references to Brust, his infamous tweet and dozens of news articles about the whole affair. And this new reputation – one wholly indifferent to his past real estate career – will follow Brust for a long time.

But it isn’t just heated political commentary that can cause real estate professionals harm. Far too many Realtors post their listings on personal Twitter or Facebook pages – separate from their “business” social media accounts. And under Article 12, Standard of Practice 12-5 of the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics, this is advertising. And if the agent in question hasn’t clearly included information identifying him or herself as a real estate professional and the company for which he or she works, that is a violation of said Code of Ethics.

Social media is a powerful tool for Realtors. It can also be a damaging weapon if not handled with care. Brokerages’ must have clear social media policies and include social media in their crisis communications plans.  Agents would do well to learn a lot more about the platforms they use as well as various social media communications’ best practices to avoid unintended problems.

You wouldn’t try to sell a house without studying real estate and being trained. The same commitment and effort is needed when using social media to promote your business.

In Real Estate, Relationships Matter Most

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What was the lesson our real estate clients (and their peers) learned in 2016? Relationships matter—and those relationships are changing. As Baby Boomers continue to retire and Generation X settles into midlife, the next big boom in real estate rests with America’s largest generation: millennials. However, the means of communicating with millennials, and other real estate buyers and sellers, have also changed.

Whether its millennial buyers—who, according to the National Association of Realtors, are now moving into their prime home buying years—or their big brothers and sisters in Gen X who have been taking advantage of historically low mortgage rates, the lessons are the same. Engaging with consumers has evolved and Realtors are working to match that pace to maintain and grow these relationships.

To ensure these relationships flourish, Realtors are taking advantage of social media, asking for and responding to online reviews, highlighting their civic and charitable efforts and pursuing a variety of third-party validators to help influence the decisions of today’s buyers and sellers. A clear majority of millennials say they don’t trust advertising, but user-generated content (reviews) and third-party endorsements (news coverage, testimonials, etc.) weigh heavily in their decision- making about hiring a Realtor. Owned media – company websites, blogs, digital newsrooms, whitepapers, etc. – present tremendous opportunities for improved engagement with home buyers and sellers.

These are the lessons of 2016 and beyond. So while NAR predicts a continued lack of inventory and increasing demand for real estate, real estate professionals need to increasingly rely on building relationships. Our public relations efforts for real estate brokerages across the country and here in Pennsylvania, like those noted above, are bearing that out. So make your New Year’s Resolution to build relationships by communicating more effectively.

 

Bay Area real estate update, moment of HGTV Fame

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Alain Pinel Realtors’ Cait Hudson, far right, discusses Bay Area market trends with KTVU-TV’s morning news team. To see the entire interview, click the KTVU FOX 2 link below.

 

Realtor Cait Hudson was recently featured on San Francisco’s KTVU FOX 2 morning news talking about the lack of homes currently listed for sale in the Bay Area and other trends in the local real estate market. This Alain Pinel Realtors agent was also on the show to let viewers know she is working with HGTV’s popular “House Hunters” program to find and recruit buyers to feature on the network’s show about buying a home in the Bay Area.

Risk brings reward as Ecopax begins construction of its second Lehigh Valley facility

Christina Wong, vice president of operations at Ecopax, understands the risk her father, Peter Wong, took when he brought his family from China to the U.S. At the groundbreaking event of Ecopax’s new Bethlehem facility, she spoke of his determination to build a successful business and the journey that has led to investing in this $20 million project. The building should be complete and ready to open its doors to the public in 2017. Discover how this family continues to grow their company and create jobs throughout the Lehigh Valley in this article from Lehigh Valley Business.

Chef Polignano of the Ryland Inn brings his own flavor to one of the state’s premier restaurants

Fulfilling one of his culinary dreams, Chef Craig Polignano of Basking Ridge, New Jersey joins the Ryland Inn as its newest executive chef. Find out how he and one of the best eats in New Jersey are making Craig a top chef and the Ryland Inn a top restaurant, in this NJBIZ feature story.

Responding to Golden (State) opportunities

I was recScreen Shot 2016-07-20 at 2.16.36 PMently reminded that publicity is perhaps one of the most important tools for a non-profit organization. Athletes C.A.R.E., a student athlete organization focused on ending homelessness and hunger, received an unexpected shout out from Nick Young of the L.A. Lakers on a recent episode of Cupcake Wars: Celebrities.

This was an unplanned windfall for Athletes C.A.R.E., but absent a plan to respond and capitalize on the event, it would have ended as a one-time happening missed by many.

Fortunately, Athletes C.A.R.E. took advantage of its active social media presence. For non-profits, leveraging social media can mean a huge boost in messaging attention, and even fundraising.

The first step is to post about the event. Take to every platform where you have an active presence and let followers know your organization has been publicly recognized. In those posts, be sure to tag the relevant names and organizations. For Athletes C.A.R.E., this meant tagging Nick Young, the L.A Lakers, The Food Network and Cupcake Wars. By tagging the appropriate parties (and their social media accounts) you widen the reach of your post and expose your organization to broader audiences. Now not only will your followers see the post, but the followers of anyone you tag will see the post as well.

Additionally, you can reach out to your local newspaper and other local media outlets to alert them of events such as having Nick Young reference your non-profit on national television. Something at that level might warrant a local news story.

Finally, you can follow-up two or three more times via social media over the course of the following week, pointing out different aspects of the initial event to extend the message and the reach. However posting more than that will likely be unwelcome. And any additional social posts about the event should be broken up by other content on social media.

With limited budgets and personnel, publicity and social media are two of the strongest tools in a non-profit’s arsenal. The ability to capitalize on and expand your organization through opportunities such as the situation with Athletes C.A.R.E. will strengthen your organization and help spread your message.

This post is courtesy of Cassidy Taylor, Lafayette College class of 2017, Kimball’s summer 2016 intern.