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Louise Isaacs, Chief Marketing Officer, Cigna Europe: International Women’s Day

I joined Cigna Europe in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit, following a long career at American Express. I am responsible for leading Marketing across International Organizations (IGO and NGO), European Employers and Globally Mobile Individuals.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias, the starting point towards a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination – instead celebrating our differences and creating a world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive (DEI). This is what we strive to achieve at Cigna Europe, and we are continually looking at ways to advocate this, all year round.

We pride ourselves on our diverse workplace and have a continued focus on DEI, especially when it comes to gender equality. Our International Markets Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, now in its second year, is made up of people from across Cigna from various positions and backgrounds. The Council focuses on gender, multiculturalism, pride, and talent with additional needs, with the ultimate goal to put DEI at the heart of everything we do whilst promoting an inclusive, accessible, equal working environment for all.

There are so many women in our organization across every level who innovate, lead and uplift not only our customers, but our entire workforce, and it’s important to recognize the difference that they’re making. So much so that for the past three years, we have held the International Markets – Women Leaders Program, with 50 women leaders participating each year to enhance competencies that promote effective leadership behaviour, helping our talent to assess their full potential as a leader in business .

We are seeing more and more businesses prioritizing equality and diversity and promoting workplace well-being – which has never been more essential, especially after a turbulent two years. We’ve all had the opportunity to reflect on how important our health is – after all, it’s the most important thing we have. We’re prioritizing our health and well-being more than ever before. As a result, employee health and well-being offerings are no longer a ‘nice to have’ employee benefit; it is a business imperative and is rapidly becoming a boardroom conversation. I believe that we must support all employees to improve their overall Whole Health and that this cultural shift will create a workforce of engaged, happy and healthy employees – which will help businesses to thrive as their team will have the drive and empowerment to succeed.

This is exactly what we’re doing at Cigna Europe. We are ensuring Whole Health is the reality for our employees. We are committed to driving a more holistic healthcare approach for employees through a new corporate culture and accompanying set of healthcare products and services to help them reach a better Whole Health. This is why I am proud to work for Cigna Europe.

While the insurance industry has traditionally been a male-dominated sector, there has been much progress towards gender diversity in recent years. Despite this, considerably more needs to be done across the board to attract female talent to the insurance sector, and to improve gender balance through retention and promotion strategies. A profession that is not representative of society will be less equipped to relate to its customers and their needs, to innovate relevant solutions, and attract diverse talent.

There are many reasons that I am passionate about the industry in general, and as a career choice for women. There are so many stimulating challenges, so much room for advancement, and so many different directions that you can take your career based on your interests and talents. I am pleased to find that although there is work to be done, I continue to hear about an increasing number of women in senior positions at competitors, at clients, and intermediaries. Insurance is no longer the male-dominated career it was in the past, and more and more women are embracing the opportunity. When more voices are heard, we all benefit. Creating a more diverse and inclusive industry is imperative, it’s no longer simply an option.

International Women’s Day is a great chance to highlight some of the fantastic work that women are doing across a whole range of industries and the diverse and successful communities that are celebrated remind me that while we may have a long way to go before we have a fully equal society, we are stronger working together than we will ever be apart. This year’s theme means consciously being aware of gender inequality, calling it out when you notice it, and making sure action happens to address it. I think too often we settle into status quo and make it difficult for women to move ahead.

Today we come together to honor all the women in our lives – family, friends, customers, and colleagues – as we continue to #BreakTheBias. Let’s celebrate the achievements of women everywhere!