Two of the largest life insurers in the U.S. announced executive hires today to advance their respective diversity and inclusion strategies.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. named Regina Heyward head of supplier diversity, a new position reporting to William Porter, head of procurement. The insurer said Heyward will "strengthen its supplier diversity program focused on sustainable business relationships with diverse suppliers."
Likewise, Lincoln Financial Group announced that Brandy Smith has been named vice president, workplace diversity and counsel – part of the company's ongoing expansion of its diversity and inclusion function. Smith will report to Allison Green Johnson, senior vice president, chief diversity officer.
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, MassMutual and Lincoln ranked third and fourth in 2019 based on individual life insurance total premium.
In the aftermath of George Floyd's May 25th death in Minneapolis police custody, life insurers have been vocal about diversity issues. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners hired Evelyn Boswell as its first diversity, equity, and inclusion director and created a special committee on race and insurance.
Heyward most recently served as senior vice president and head of supplier diversity at Wells Fargo & Company where she was responsible for a $1 billion-plus portfolio of diverse business relationships. She has worked globally in Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
“Regina is a seasoned leader who brings more than two decades of multi-industry global supply chain and diversity, equity, and inclusion experience to her role,” Porter said. “We look forward to adding her vast industry knowledge and strong leadership to the company, which will be invaluable as we work with our suppliers to help make true systemic change.”
She was featured in DiversityPlus Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity.” A native of Thomasville, Ga., Heyward is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and earned her J.D. from North Carolina Central School of Law.
In her new role, Smith will "provide strategic leadership to drive the implementation and execution" of Lincoln's workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives, the insurer said in a news release. She will partner with leaders across the organization to drive Lincoln’s work in support of its recently-announced commitments and actions to advance racial justice and equity within the company and the communities Lincoln serves, the release said.
“Brandy shows a strong passion for the work of Diversity and Inclusion and I am excited about her addition to our team,” Johnson said. “Her promotion and transition to the team will allow us to meet our company’s growing needs around diversity and inclusion and employee engagement. With her assistance we will expand diversity in our people and ideas, continue bolder and more candid conversations about issues that are important in building a more inclusive culture, and use data and actionable insights internally to make sure that we are staying true to our commitments.”
Smith previously served as assistant vice president and chief compliance officer and counsel for group protection for the company. She has held several positions of increasing responsibilities since joining Lincoln in July of 2012. Smith recently spearheaded Lincoln legal department’s involvement in Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule, a program that measures Diversity and Inclusion for the legal department’s top roles, high visibility projects and outside counsel representation.
Smith holds a B.S. in elementary education from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a J.D. from Creighton University School of Law.