Wesley McLeod serves as the Chair of the inaugural Insurance Accounting & Systems Association (IASA ) Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Wesley has played an integral role in establishing a strategic vision for the committee and charting a path forward. This includes raising the awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts and recommending interactive DE&I activities for the insurance industry. His service and leadership in organizing the newly formed committee are few reasons why Wesley was named New Volunteer of the Year by his peers at IASA.
Tell us a little about IASA and how you have been involved in the past year.
IASA is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational content, facilitating collaboration and driving industry innovation through an alliance of insurance professionals. IASA helps accelerate professional growth to shape, influence, elevate and strengthen the insurance industry.
I became involved with IASA several years ago through the opportunity to present knowledge share and CPE presentations to their network of insurance professionals. Last year one of my DHG peers recommended me for the Chair role of the newly forming IASA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee.
Since assuming the Chair role in October 2020, the committee has been meeting bi-weekly and established a strategic plan to chart a path forward. While there may be many misconceptions about DE&I (including that the diversity efforts are solely based on race or gender), we made it a priority to be inclusive as we work to raise the awareness of the need for DE&I in the insurance industry and to highlight successful and sustainable initiatives across the industry.
During CX Week at DHG, we are celebrating our client experience approach and how we provide service to our clients and amongst teams. In leading the IASA DE&I Committee, what in your service approach may have led to you receiving the New Volunteer of the Year Award?
Truly – it is a team approach on the IASA DE&I Committee. All that we were able to do and accomplish thus far this year was a result of diverse perspectives and ideas of our committee members.
Similar to our DHG client experience approach, we sought first to understand our target audience, specifically their needs and the medium in which they would prefer that the information be communicated. To achieve these service objectives, we developed a survey to gather information from members within the insurance industry. Through the data collected from the survey we were able to identify topics of interests, which in turn allowed the committee to focus on presenting relevant topics that raised awareness of DE&I efforts and equally important, to highlight efforts to sustain those efforts. In addition, the survey results revealed that respondents generally preferred receiving DE&I information in a roundtable/panel discussion setting. This allowed the committee to establish a virtual roundtable discussion at the national IASA Xchange conference which featured DE&I leaders, including DHG’s leader of Inclusion & Diversity, Kevin Price, where the panelists discussed efforts for advancing DE&I initiatives.
The committee also developed content for recognition months including Black History Month and Women’s History Month. With respect to Black History Month we shared the perspectives of four African American insurance professionals in a video discussion, highlighting their perspectives and contributions to the insurance industry. Similarly, with our Women in Leadership Subcommittee, we identified activities for Women’s History Month by highlighting women leader pioneers in the insurance industry.
What insights do you have for our team members who are trying to get involved in their communities and in professional organizations?
The initial step is to identify an organization that has a project or goal that you are passionate about and lean into that project. You will likely have the opportunity to work with others who share a similar passion as you. These opportunities will allow you to collaborate and exchange ideas, while simultaneously giving back to the community or project that you enjoy, which in turn will help you to grow and develop.