By Valerie Foster
IMCA has been an integral part of my insurance market career. Through the conferences I’ve attended and committees I’ve served on, I’ve witnessed the difference this association has made to so many insurance marketers and communicators. As your chair, I wanted to see that value-added experience to continue and strengthen.
Like many of you, I first learned about IMCA when I was new to our industry. I was looking to learn from people who did what I did — only with more industry experience. At a PLUS (Professional Liability Underwriting Society) conference I spoke with several marketing people from other carriers, who pointed me in IMCA’s direction. I’m so thankful they did.
One of the biggest benefits that I’ve received from IMCA is the advice and guidance that fellow members have generously given to me. Over the years, they’ve given me advice about new marketing concepts, products, vendors. They’ve offered possible solutions to marketing and communications issues I’ve faced.
When I was new in my position, I needed help finding out more about a technology platform that I had little experience with. My IMCA “tribe” really came through. Members offered me demos of how that platform operated within their companies. They explained how they used the technology and who they worked with to get it integrated with other platforms and systems within their companies. In a short period of time — 90 days — I was able to create a strategic marketing communications plan for the platform’s use within my company. My IMCA tribe helped me to look like a true insurance marketing rock star.
The IMCA executive team, board and I have several strategic priorities for 2019-2020, which I’d like to share with you.
First, is to provide a points of connection between marketing and communications people in the industry through webinars, regional meetings, our annual conference and other events. I’d like to see us engage with all levels of insurance marketing and communications professionals, from those individuals just entering the insurance industry, through senior leadership.
Next, we are aiming to create an IMCA CMO council. This will provide a platform for the insurance industry CMOs to engage with each other and share thoughts, insights and best practices with IMCA members. With the support of our executive team and board members, IMCA Executive Vice Chair, Chris Nance and board member Peter Van Aartijk are heading up this initiative.
Another strategic priority is to evaluate our current annual conference structure and explore options to improve your conference experience to best meet ever-evolving member needs. We want to provide a relevant experience and help our members to connect with each other in meaningful ways.
We also will continue to enhance the recognition of outstanding insurance industry marketing and communications professionals’ through the Icon and Rising Star awards. We can elevate the recognition of the outstanding marketing and communications work done in the insurance industry by continuously recognizing and promoting the 2019 SAMMY winner and IMCA Showcase Award winners. Let’s encourage other industry professionals, including nonmembers, to enter/submit their best marketing and communications work for the opportunity to be considered the best of the best in insurance marketing and communications.
This association is our members. If your day job is marketing and/or communicating for a company or organization in the insurance industry, this is your place, these are your people. We are your tribe.
Valerie Foster became IMCA’s Executive Chair in September 2019. She has served on the association’s board of directors since 2013. Valerie is vice president, director of marketing for Berkley Alliance Managers, a Berkley Company.