Celebrating International Women’s Day with Arrowhead women leaders
- As we celebrate International Women’s Day, today we’re spotlighting Lisa Stahl, on of Arrowhead’s women leaders.
- Joining Arrowhead in 1996, she’s worked in customer service, operations and underwriting, rising to become Arrowhead’s Commercial Division COO.
- What does she love about her job? “Having the freedom to work on solutions that make things easier, better, faster with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met.”
Continuing our series highlighting women leaders in the insurance industry, today we’re turning to our own Lisa Stahl, one of Arrowhead’s women leaders.
Stahl, chief operating officer for our commercial division, has been part of Arrowhead since 1996. We chatted with her recently about her beginnings in the insurance industry, how she’s seen the industry change in the past two decades and her journey to becoming one of Arrowhead’s women leaders.
How did you choose your career path?
I think it chose me, more than me choosing it! I started by working part time in my brother-in-law’s small San Diego insurance agency here in San Diego. Arrowhead’s marketing rep would come visit us; she recruited me to apply at Arrowhead. That sounded like a good spot while I finished my degree, and 23 years later, I’m still here!
I started as a personal auto assistant underwriter, which really meant I was in customer service. From there I moved into personal lines and commercial lines, operations and underwriting. Most of my roles were new positions created when I took on new responsibilities, and my career grew alongside Arrowhead’s growth. Along the way I went back to school to get a master’s degree, thinking I’d go into teaching. Someday I may – after I retire from Arrowhead!
What awards or accolades have you received along the way?
I was awarded the Brown and Brown Mentor of the Year CFO Award and in the past have been a Volunteer of the Year.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
Like so many others, I’m often my harshest critic, so remembering to put things into perspective. For example, when I make a mistake, I ask myself, “how important will this be in 5 years?” which helps reduce my angst.
What’s the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
Honestly, the worst part of the job is when we have to separate employment with a team member. I make sure that we’ve done everything we can to make the relationship successful, and if we have and it’s still not a good fit, I hope they’ll be happier in the next job they choose.
What’s the most enjoyable part of the job?
Having the freedom/autonomy to spend my time working on solutions to make things easier, better, faster with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met.
What do you do differently from your peers in the same profession?
Because I rose through the ranks from an entry-level position and continue to be hands-on in day-to-day operations, I’m able see solutions as well as avoid unintended consequences when considering innovation.
What advice would you give to women aspiring to join your profession, or advice to newbies in the field?
Be passionate, “ABL” – Always Be Learning. Find a mentor to guide you. Lots of people are willing to help, if asked.
Who’s your favorite female role model and why?
Katharine Hepburn – she was independent, outspoken, assertive and successful in her career all while refusing to conform to society’s expectations of women.
Any fun facts about you?
I was born on Leap Day – so I had an actual birthday this year! I’m grateful for the life I have and prioritize giving back by volunteering for charities that support either people with physical or mental health challenges and animals. I especially like working on a farm refuge organization where I get to interact with cows, sheep, goats, turkey, and chickens – very fun for a city girl!