On International Women’s Day, we aim to uplift and commemorate the achievements of women everywhere, starting right here at Cowan Insurance Group. In celebration, we asked several women in our organization to share the accomplishments that they’re most proud of in their careers.
From mentoring other employees to setting higher standards for Canadian risk management professionals, five Cowan employees share their career highlights, along with insights about the insurance industry’s unique opportunities for women.
Janet Peddigrew, President: Advocating for female role models
“Moving from the corporate world to take on the role of President at a Canadian-owned and independent family business like Cowan Insurance Group has been an incredible experience. Cowan has such a strong culture built on the strength of our people and our communities, and leading this company is one of the most rewarding milestones in my career.
I have also mentored many women throughout my career, and I always encourage them to use their voices. Initially, I was attracted to Cowan because there are fantastic female role models at every level in the company, and I remain proud of our efforts to help our employees grow.
I was attracted to Cowan because there are fantastic female role models at every level in the company.
I genuinely believe that every work environment should have a culture that’s respectful of each individual, and it’s up to leaders at all levels to ensure this happens. We try to be thoughtful and disciplined with our talent management process and hiring strategies to ensure we continue to support full diversity, which includes women. We also engage with local and national women-focused groups and encourage participation with our team members. For me, this is a journey; we have made a lot of progress, but there are still rich opportunities for us to continue championing diversity.”
Tammy Phelps, Practice Leader, VP, Consulting, Wellness and Disability, Group Benefits: Mentoring other women
“I’ve been fortunate to have a long, successful career working in the insurance industry, with increasing responsibility. One of the most satisfying and rewarding aspects of my current senior leadership role is seeing individuals on my team grow and realize their full potential.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my leadership role is seeing individuals on my team grow and realize their full potential.
Recently we announced that a long-time Cowan employee, Cheryl Trussler, was moving from a leadership role in Group Benefits training and development to a newly created role in Human Resources. This new role will allow her to take over the leadership of Corporate Learning and Development for the entire company. When we celebrated this important milestone in Cheryl’s career, she took the time to acknowledge and thank me for the mentorship I’ve been able to provide to her over the years. I could not be prouder of her, and I’m honoured I had the opportunity to help her achieve this goal.”
Tracy Spark, Senior Manager, Personal Insurance and Private Client Business Development: Setting higher risk management standards
“I’ve had incredible career growth opportunities at Cowan, and it’s been a joy to follow this path of increasing responsibility in our Personal Insurance and Private Client segments here.
My passion for lifelong learning has allowed me to achieve some exciting milestones with the support of Cowan. This includes being the first Canadian to receive the Chartered Private Risk and Insurance Advisor (CPRIA) designation, which is offered through the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA) and offers a unique curriculum.
My passion for lifelong learning has allowed me to achieve some exciting milestones with the support of Cowan.
Cowan has proven to be an insurance trailblazer in promoting and supporting the CPRIA designation, which provides the expertise and knowledge that makes us experts in our field for our Private Client demographic.”
Colleen Barnhill, Manager, IT Support Services: Leading a multi-location IT team
“Initially, I joined Cowan part-time in 2000, in the midst of a career change. As I attended school to shift to a tech support career path, I also worked as backup tech support for Cowan, moving into full-time tech support with the company once I graduated. Over the last two decades, I’ve steadily progressed to where I am today: the Manager of our IT Support Services.
When COVID hit in 2020, the streamlined IT Support Services set-up my team and I created proved to be vital.
I’m incredibly proud of the work that my team and I did to streamline and amalgamate our IT Support Services for our three largest office locations—Cambridge, Brantford, and Ottawa—to create one large, synthesized team that can support all our employees. Through this project, we eliminated the “siloed” tech support approach we’d been using previously. When COVID hit in 2020, and we shifted to working remotely, this cohesive IT Support Services set-up proved to be vital.”
Lisa Wetzler, Human Resources Business Partner: Exploring many career paths
“Working in Insurance has been a rewarding experience with many career growth and development opportunities. It’s an industry where women can excel and accomplish great things.
Insurance is an industry where women can excel and accomplish great things.
I am thrilled to have explored so many different aspects of the insurance industry during my twenty years at Cowan. I have worked in customer service, underwriting, sales, training and development, and human resources, which has given me a wide range of experience and a multifaceted understanding of our business. This has proven to be so valuable as we have adapted to changing recruitment and talent needs throughout the pandemic.”
International Women’s Day offers an opportunity to recognize the achievements of the many talented women at Cowan Insurance Group. As we work hard to grow a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we seek to celebrate the contributions of each unique team member.
If you’re curious about a career in insurance, Cowan offers an award-winning culture built on the strength of our people. We’re hiring across many of our growing, dynamic teams.