Fiona McCormack loves words.
She honed her love of reading and writing as an English major in college and then dove into a career in publishing, where she brainstormed themes, wrote articles and approved page designs at Scholastic for an elementary classroom magazine.
“It was a great job,” she says. “I really loved it.”
But after a few years, McCormack was ready for a new challenge. She went to law school, taking night classes for four years while working full time, first at the magazine and later as a paralegal.
“I was really happy to be learning and back in school again,” she says. “I probably appreciated it more than I ever did when I was traditional school age.”
Finding a career in insurance
McCormack’s interest in risk management developed out of her work as a paralegal and then as an associate for a law firm that provided professional liability coverage counsel to insurance companies. She took her first position in the insurance industry in 2015 and joined Argo in 2017.
“Before you get into insurance, you really don’t think about it,” she says. “It’s kind of like the silent engine behind the scenes, so when you get into the industry, you realize it’s a factor in all aspects of business and litigation.”
In her current role as an Argo Group claims supervisor, McCormack handles claims for numerous professional lines and supervises two direct reports. She still remembers the stellar management skills of her Scholastic mentor and strives to emulate her.
“She just really encouraged people to develop their potential,” McCormack says. “She didn’t micromanage but gave really good feedback and guidance and treated everyone equally. She always made her own copies.”
More women in the room
In the past several years, McCormack has noticed a change in mediations and meetings she attends.
“When I first started out, there were one or two women in the room,” she says. “Now there are more of us. I have seen the participation of women grow.”
Recent news reports highlighting high-profile cases of sexual harassment in the workplace have impacted how people think about and discuss these issues, she says.
“I’ve seen women talk about it with each other more and make note of how it’s good to see more women in the room,” she says. “We have embraced the change in recent years, and I think we’re more aware of it and maybe more supportive of each other.”
McCormack has attended lunches and other networking events geared toward successful women in business and thinks the industry should plan even more of these events “to offer these opportunities for women to get together, hear each other’s stories and form bonds within the industry.”
Female leadership: The past informs the future
Attending an all-girls high school gave McCormack confidence in her ability to lead, a gift of strength she carries with her today.
“I think that laid a good foundation for me to never think of myself as not being a leader because I was a girl,” she says. “When I am frustrated at work or unsure of myself, I often look back to my high school and the values they taught us. It helps boost my confidence.”
McCormack looks forward to expanding her leadership role as she progresses in her career.
“I’ve learned from every job I’ve ever had,” she says. “As long as I can keep learning and gaining wisdom and knowledge, that’s all I can really ask for.”
Learn more about Women in Insurance at Argo.