Women of Influence: Nancy RussellBy Donna Glasgow | August 18 2014 09:00AM
A commitment to getting the job done
A Chartered Accountant by profession, Nancy Russell, senior vice-president, chief compliance officer at Great-West Lifeco Inc., says she was attracted to the insurance industry partly because she recognized the importance of advisors in helping individuals to take care of their financial well-being.
“It gives me incredible satisfaction knowing I am part of that value-add.”
Be yourself, work hard and have some fun along the way. Women bring something different to the management ranks – approach, perspective and insight. It is just as needed and just as powerful.
Russell started her career with the London Life Insurance Company as manager of Internal Audit in 1999. In 2009, she later joined the Individual Life Operations area where she was responsible for New Business, Client Service and Claims. Her senior positions included vice-president, Internal Audit, responsible for the audit of Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life’s European and Reinsurance operations; and vice-president and Chief Operating Officer for Quadrus Investment Services, a mutual fund dealer firm and subsidiary of Great-West Life and London Life. Prior to her current role, she was senior vice-president of New Business, Individual Insurance for Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life.
Asked what career accomplishments she is most proud of, Russell said, “I just come to work with a positive attitude and want to get the job done. It has served me well. I am most proud of the people I have had the privilege to lead and work with at our companies – how much they care and how hard they work for the advisors and clients.”
Strong relationships are behind all successful work endeavours. “Once you take the time to build genuine relationships with people, anything can be accomplished.”
In terms of challenges, she mentions establishing a work-life balance – her desire to give 100% to both my family and my job. “I am very fortunate to have an incredibly supportive husband and family.”
She believes that women have made significant progress in the industry since she started out with more women now in senior leadership roles. She believes that, overall, as many opportunities are available to women as there are to men. “We just have to decide if we are willing to ‘pay the price’. Your definition of ‘work-life balance’ may need to adjust.”
Her advice for young women entering the industry: “Be yourself, work hard and have some fun along the way. Women bring something different to the management ranks – approach, perspective and insight. It is just as needed and just as powerful.”
Before joining London Life, Russell was Corporate Controller at, Diamond Aircraft, Internal Auditor at Emco Ltd., and Senior Manager, Deloitte & Touche.
She obtained her Honours B.Comm. from Queen’s University in 1983 and her Chartered Accountant designation in 1991.