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Western Bios

Stacy Draglia is an athletic pioneer who literally crashed the glass ceiling of Olympic Athletics when she soared over 15’ in the air on a fiberglass pole and won the inaugural women’s pole vault at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In the face of gender stereotypes that insisted that women “aren’t strong enough” to pole vault and that “nobody cares” if women vault, Stacy and her fellow self-described “chicks on sticks” set out to prove the naysayers wrong; and themselves right.

In 1993, Stacy set out to learn how to master pole vaulting -- a sport that that USA Today once called the “3rd Hardest Thing To Do In Sports” amid skepticism and with few track meets that would even permit her to compete. Within 7 years, she was standing on a Gold Medal Stand in front of 115,000 fans as Olympic Champion. She would go on to break the World Record 10 times and win 4 World Championships. Off the runway, she became the face of the women’s movement in athletics as she appeared on everything from Wheaties boxes to Super Bowl commercials.

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Jon Axel Managing Partner at The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers has been working in the insurance industry for 30 years and has an extensive background in Property, Casualty, and Financial insurance products. As Managing Partner, he is charged with the growth of Liberty’s largest office as well as to continue producing and managing Clients risk and insurance needs.

Jon was formally at HUB International for the past 11 years. Prior to HUB, Jon spent 14 years with Marsh in various specialty practices including Political Risk/Trade Credit, Japanese Client Practices, Marketing and as a Client Executive in their Middle Market department.

Jon currently serves as Chair on the Western Division Board for the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation and Chair for the Center Theatre Group’s Corporate Circle Board. He is also a past President of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association.

Jon is originally from New York but has lived in Santa Monica for nearly 20 years, where he currently resides with his wife and 17-year- old daughter. Jon is a graduate of Emory University, with a B.A. degree and double major in Economics and Religion.

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Alon Ben-Nun has been an entrepreneur most of his life. Straight out of high school he worked for a family owned and operated business in the wholesale food business, where he learned the art of selling. With an “old school” mentor teaching him the ropes, Alon quickly realized what sales was all about. Passionate about growing as a businessman, Alon changed career path after ten years, opening up his own business- to-business telecommunications company. This was a fast, and exciting business during its time, and Alon was fortunate enough to staff approximately 75 employees while continuing to service his clients from his former profession.

Turning the page to the next chapter of his life, Alon entered the wonderful word of insurance. As a Producer Alon learned that selling insurance was different, in that you actually had to know what you were selling. Learning more and more every day, Alon was able to services many of his clients that he had been working with straight out of high school.

In 2017 Alon founded Universal Risk Associates, where his passion continues to burn as an entrepreneur at the same time helping people on a daily basis.

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Meg Gibbon is a senior consulting actuary in the retirement line of business and has over 18 years of consulting experience. She regularly tackles high profile, technically challenging projects, such as plan design, interpreting new legislation and regulations, multi-year deterministic and stochastic projections, and contribution strategies.  She is the lead retirement consultant and signing actuary for several large corporations with US pension plans.

Meg is also an internal and external consultant in Diversity and Inclusion.  Her background in education combined with her business experience and inclusive leadership are instrumental in providing outstanding D&I strategy and trainings that help organizations grow toward more inclusive cultures.  At Willis Towers Watson she has served on the North America Inclusion and Diversity Council, as a North America co- chair of the Out@WTW Inclusion Network and is currently a Special Advisor to the North America I&D Council on developing a culture of inclusion.

Meg has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and a master’s degree in education from the University of Virginia.  She is a fellow in the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

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Angela Grant is the Head of Compliance & Legal at Hippo Insurance. She has over 25 years of proven success as an ethics and compliance leader helping organizations to create, build and improve compliance programs. Angela has a technology-driven mindset which she seamlessly combines with her legal expertise to develop and drive scalable business solutions. She provides innovative legal advice & counsel to Hippo, an InsureTech startup. Angela was recruited to proactively assist the leadership team with creating a compliant business model for marketing, selling, underwriting and servicing homeowner products. She is responsible for regulatory compliance, contracts, legal review of new business concepts, licensing, legal and compliance matters, and human resource management.

Hippo is a new kind of insurance company that uses modern technology to provide a simpler process, smarter coverage, and a completely new approach to how we care for our homes. Hippo offers intuitive and proactive home insurance by taking a smarter, tech-driven approach. Hippo believes that home insurance should be designed to actively serve the needs of our customers, who can live carefree when they know they've been taken care of.

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Linde Hotchkiss has more than 29 years of experience developing and implementing strategies, heightening client service and retention, recruiting new talent into the organization, and staff development.

Linde is a co-chair of the North American Out@WTW Inclusion Network, helping to set objectives for fostering an inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated.  She is a facilitator for internal workshops focused on raising awareness, understanding of and a call to change Unconscious Bias.

As a Corporate Risk and Broking Market Leader, Linde is responsible for identifying needs and delivering solutions across the Willis Towers Watson (WTW) platform.  Linde will reach deep into the WTW organization to bring our talent, thought leadership and solutions to help clients optimize solutions at the intersection of risk and people.

Mrs. Hotchkiss has an MBA from Simmons College Graduate School of Management in Boston with undergrad studies at both Slippery Rock University and University of Michigan.  She has an Associate in Risk Management designation and is a Financial and Operations Supervisory Principal (Series 27).

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Jennifer Knox is Senior Vice President and Regional Executive for the West Region of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. With over 20 years of commercial insurance experience, Jennifer is managing the company's largest U.S. Region and is charged with driving profitable growth, across multiple lines of business, to ensure the continued success of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions in North America. Jennifer was hired in 2014 to lead the company's West Region sales team and was just recently promoted to Head U.S., West.

Jennifer started her insurance career in the medical malpractice industry and immediately prior to joining Swiss Re, enjoyed a fifteen-year career at AIG, holding a variety of management positions, including leading AIG's energy group on the East and West Coasts, managing the Major Account Practice in Los Angeles, and ultimately functioning as a Managing Director in Southern California.

Jennifer enjoys a marriage of 24 years and is the mother of two teenaged daughters. She is an active volunteer in the Catholic Church and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, in addition to being a member of the Executive Committee of the IICF Western Division Board of Directors. Her hobbies include watching her daughters play sports and traveling with her family, in addition to exploring new epicurean adventures, playing tennis, hiking and reading.

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Ivy Kusinga is Senior Vice President, Chief Culture Officer at Chubb, a position she has held since ACE’s acquisition of Chubb in January 2016. She is responsible for overseeing the culture integration between the two heritage companies by ensuring the clarity and consistency of Chubb’s culture and providing coherence and alignment for the Chubb culture.

Prior to this role, Ivy served as Vice President of Business Development for International Accident and Health at ACE. She was Vice President of Talent and Development for ACE North America, responsible for supporting the assessment, development and retention of talent. Ivy joined ACE Group in 2000 as Project Manager of Global Training & Development in Bermuda. She was appointed Director of Learning & Development in 2002 and, in 2006, Head of Learning and Development for ACE North America.

Ivy currently serves as a Board Member with the Bermuda Wellness Foundation (BWF), The Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics in the Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph’s University and Gamma Iota Sigma, an international business fraternity for students of insurance, risk management and actuarial science.

With more than 18 years of experience, Ivy has a BA degree (cum laude) in International Development from St. Mary’s University, Nova Scotia.

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Riki Nieman currently serves as the CNA Los Angeles Branch Vice President where her responsibilities include profit and loss, agency management, sales execution, as well as building and developing talent. Riki has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry.

Prior to joining CNA, she worked at ACE (Chubb) where she served as National Segment Leader, Vice President, for the Southwest Region. In this role, she was responsible for managing National Accounts, defined as accounts with revenue greater than $1 billion. Riki began her career in claims and transition to underwriting with various reinsurers. She also held several Sales and Marketing leadership positions at AIG.

Over the course of her career in the Southern California and Southwest marketplace, Riki has demonstrated success in a diverse range of claims, underwriting, sales and marketing, distribution management, and segment management roles.

Riki has a bachelor’s degree in business management from San Diego State University.

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Sarah Remsburg is a Learning and Organization Development Consultant at Farmers Insurance. With nearly two decades of experience in understanding and influencing human behavior and performance, she helps leaders maximize results while motivating their teams. Sarah has designed and delivered multiple workshops and courses to help leaders build their coaching, communication, delegation and relationship- building skills. When she’s not in the classroom, you’ll find Sarah working with some of the best and brightest at Farmers – encouraging and inspiring them while helping them refocus their priorities.

Sarah has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Professional Studies from Davenport University, where she specialized in behavioral, social and psychological sciences. Sarah is a Crucial Conversations Certified Instructor, Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, Certified DiSC Instructor, and has a Bob Pike Instructional Design and Delivery certification. She is currently working toward the distinction of Master Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation.

With over a decade of experience in the Property and Casualty Insurance industry, Sarah is knowledgeable in customer experience, sales and marketing, and underwriting and product knowledge. She earned her Certificate of General Insurance and her Associates of Personal Insurance from the Insurance Institutes of America. She also served as a course instructor for several of the Insurance Institutes’ courses.

Sarah was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she lives today with her husband and their two sons. Her interests include world travel and adventure, attending live music shows, and getting lost in nature. With an intense passion for reading, Sarah insists that reading is a need, not an interest. Sarah uses her irrepressible optimism and deep empathy for others to bring out the best in people every chance she gets.

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Karen Rice is the Head of Construction Claims, North America for XL Catlin. Working out of the Los Angeles office, she supports several business units, including Construction, Excess Casualty, and Surplus Lines. Prior to joining XL Catlin in 2011 she was the National Construction Defect Claim Manager for OneBeacon Insurance (OBI), and the AVP of National Construction Defect claims and Western States ACE Risk Management claims with ACE USA.

Karen has sat on the DRI Construction Law Steering Committee for the past several years, and is on the Construction Advisory Board for CLM. She is also on the advisory board for ALFA International Construction Committee and has been a frequent lecturer at various Construction and Insurance Law seminars throughout the country, including Defense Research Institute, Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, West Coast Casualty Annual Construction Defect Seminar, HB Litigation Construction Law, and the American Bar Association.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of LaVerne.

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Ms. Mandana Sadigh has been Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Mattel, Inc. since 2010. She is currently responsible for all aspects of global treasury operations, capital and investment policy, global insurance and risk management, and global real estate. Mandana has over 25 years of experience at Mattel in a variety of senior leadership roles, including VP/Assistant Controller (1999-2000), SVP of Corporate Strategy and M&A (2000- 2003), SVP of International Finance and Strategy (2003-2005), and SVP of US Finance and Strategy (2005- 2010). Prior to joining Mattel, Ms. Sadigh spent 8 years in the banking industry in Los Angeles.

Ms. Sadigh serves as the chair of Mattel’s Administrative Committee, responsible for overseeing the company’s various retirement plans, health and welfare plans, as well as deferred compensations plan. She also serves as the chair of Mattel’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Advisory Board, and holds the position of the Treasurer of PAC. She is the President and Member of the Board of Directors of Far West Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. Mandana also serves on the board of directors of Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

Ms. Sadigh holds a Bachelor degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Business Economics from the University of California in Santa Barbara.

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Faye Sahai has been identified and celebrated as an innovation growth leader, change catalyst and strategic initiatives across multiple companies such as AIG, Blue Shield, Deloitte, Charles Schwab, and Kaiser Permanente.

She served as the AIG Global Head of Advanced Technology, Innovation, Employee Experience. She is also AIG Executive Advisor of Global Women in Technology and UP Upward Professionals and nominated for Women Executive Leaders Initiative, and Global Inclusion and Diversity Task Force. She was one of founding members and leaders for Kaiser Permanente Women in Technology (WIT) and Women Embracing Life and Leadership (WELL).

Faye has been an innovation adviser to companies, start-ups and accelerators and serves on the Board of Directors for Ayogo Health Inc., CMC Berger Research Institute, CMCAA Board and Board of Advisers for Somnology MD, Asia Foundation Lotus and Autonomous ID. Faye is on the Board for Ascend Leadership Western Region, and Co-Chair of the Innovation Executive Forum.

She has been recognized by Insurance Business Hot 100 in 2017, Elite Women in Insurance Business America in 2017, Ascend Leadership Award in 2017, and Computer World’s Top Premier IT Leaders in 2015, Award for Outstanding Contributions to Kaiser Permanente Asian Community 2014, and received Innovation Enterprise Best Ideation award in 2014.

She has been a speaker on innovation at Consumer Electronic Show CES, ABIM, Chief Innovation Officer Summit, Venture Beat, Apps World, Watermark, Smart City, UCLA, Monte Jade Science and Technology, Blue Print, ACG Silicon Valley, UIX Global, Women in Tech. Institute for Health Technology Transformation, C200, Alchemist Accelerator, Plug & Play, EY Disruptive Innovation, Worth Conference, Insure Disrupt, and Corporate Innovation Huddle.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Psychology from Claremont McKenna College and her Master of Business Administration at the University of California, Los Angeles – The Anderson School of Management.

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James “Chip” Stuart is the Chief Sales Officer for HUB International of California responsible for the production sales of 50 plus offices with 350 Sales professionals. He also serves on the California Management Team and oversees recruiting for over nine years with HUB.

Chip was formerly with USI Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for four years and 21 years with Johnson & Higgins then acquired by Marsh & McLennan in 1997. He was in the role of Property Department Manager and Client Executive developing strong relationships with large Risk Management clients and underwriters. Most of his clients were household names for 20 years. He was a featured speaker on insurance issues, catastrophic risk, terrorism, changing insurance market cycles, Y2K, and several industry conferences. We served on several insurance company advisory boards.

He became deeply involved in claims negotiations for clients during the Los Angeles Riots and the Northridge Earthquake. Chip served as a senior member of the management team at Johnson & Higgins for the partners who had over 600 employees in the flagship Los Angeles office.

Chip is a multi-generation native of Southern California and is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He enjoys golf, paddle tennis (Men’s A Division Double Champion 1997) and is involved in numerous Los Angeles charities and Boards, serving as President of The Beach Club of Santa Monica, and on the Board of Counselors for USC receiving The USC Alumni Volunteer of the Year in 2012. Chip also hosts a live show with The USC Head Football Coach Clay Helton and John Robinson known as “Monday Morning Quarterback” seen on the Pac 12 Channel.com. after football games. With his wife Jill of 26 years, they have three boys, two of which are twins and all in College.

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Barb Thoms is currently Director, HR Business Partner for CNA Insurance’s Western Zone.  Previous to CNA, Barb was an Assistant Vice President, Human Resources with Chubb Insurance, supporting multiple locations and various roles and capacities across the company.   She has deep Human Resources and Insurance expertise, and provides consistent leadership and guidance to the business, providing business informed and solution-focused recommendations using a coaching and consulting approach.  She has expertise in change management, organizational design and effectiveness, employee relations,  diversity and inclusion, and workforce planning.

Barb  holds a M.S., Human Resources, Organizational Development, from Golden Gate University and a B.A., Business Economics,  from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She also holds the following Human Resources certifications: SPHR-CA; Senior Professional in Human Resources - California Designation from the HR Certification Institute and SHRM-SCP; Society for Human Resource Management- Senior Certified Professional.

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Sophia Yen is the Insurance Strategy & Innovation Leader in EY’s Insurance Advisory practice, focused on market trends & insights, innovation, and digitization and emerging technologies.

Sophia has nearly 20 years of experience in the insurance Industry with deep experience in disruptive technologies and digital transformation. She has led global initiatives focusing on growth, M&A integrations and separations, integrated business and financial strategy planning and streamlined target operating models.

Sophia joined EY from KPMG, where she was the Head of U.S. Insurance Strategy & Operations.  Before KPMG, Sophia drove the transformation at UBS Investment Bank achieving more than 30 million in cost savings. Prior to UBS, she was at Swiss Re and held several senior leadership roles, including running their Americas Client Solutions team, SVP of Financial Services Origination, Chief of Staff to the CEO and COO and Head of Operations and Reporting, where she was responsible for the strategic financial planning and operations of a $2.5 billion portfolio and was a member of the Americas Executive Committee.

Sophia holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor of Science (dual major: Finance & Computer Science) from Boston College and graduated both with honors. She is a regular speaker at industry conferences throughout the Americas, EMEA and Asia.

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