Celebrating the Women of NetVU
By Lexie Anderson | Posted: 3/16/2021

What better way to celebrate Women’s History Month than to recognize the women of the NetVU board and staff, past and present, who have helped shape NetVU into what it is today. What started as just one day, March 8th, International Women’s Day has evolved into a month-long celebration of the achievements and contributions worldwide by women. Women’s History Month also allows everyone a designated time to critically look into equality, to learn about the history of women’s rights and how things have evolved and are still evolving for women everywhere.

NetVU has never shied away from putting women into leadership roles and watching them to grow within the insurance industry. Having had eleven women on the NetVU Board of Directors dating all the way back to 1992. “Many leaders have come to talk about diversity and inclusion as part of their elevator speech,” explains Jessica Jeffress, Chairman of the Board since 2020. “At NetVU we don’t just talk about empowering women to drive change, we put them in places where they can inspire the next generation of women leaders and be catalysts for permanent change in our network and industry.” NetVU had its first woman Chair, Linda E. Rollings from 1992 to 1993. Since then, we have seen six other women elected as Chair: Bev J Coats (2000-2001), Pam Parry (2002-2003), Martha Williamson (2004-2005), Kay Barrett (2006-2007), ( Debbie Miner (2014-2015), and Barb Dale (2017-2018). Pam Parry served the insurance industry up until her retirement in 2017!

NetVU currently has six all-star women serving on its Executive Board of Directors. Four of them are Board Members at large; Michelle Hoffert (2017-2021), Lorraine J. Plezia (2019-2021), Joyce Sigler (2019-2021), and Kate O’Toole (2020-2021). Cassidy Smirnow is the Chief Revenue Officer at Vertafore and has served on the NetVU Board of Directors since 2020 as the Vertafore Executive Sponsor. Jessica Jeffress was elected by her colleagues to the position of Chairman of the Board for her outstanding leadership qualities and vast industry knowledge. You should have seen almost all these women featured in the NetVU monthly newsletter “Meet the Board” series. And if you have not, they will be featured in a future newsletter so be sure to look for those to get a closer glimpse into the lives of these incredible women in leadership. 

Not only are there more women than men on NetVU’s Board of Directors, the NetVU staff is also mostly made up of a team of women located across the country. Debbie Ivie has been NetVU’s Learning Experiences Manager for five years. Karen Moore our Member Experience Manager has been with NetVU three and a half years. Brittany Brockman, Community and Experiences Coordinator is coming up on five years and Lexie Anderson, Member Development Coordinator is our youngest female employee having been with NetVU only a year and a half. These four women all work in the Dallas headquartered office so if you have called NetVU directly it is very likely you have spoken to one of these amazing women on the phone.

The rest of the female NetVU staff is scattered from coast to coast. Lauren Crosby, Community and Experiences Manager previously worked for NetVU in 2011-2012, she came back in 2015 and has been with NetVU for six consecutive years. Dianne Merfeld is coming up on six years as our Member Relations Specialist. If you are a NetVU Corporate Partner or Associate Member, then you know Lynn Walsh Albertson very well. She has been the Business Development Coordinator for a little over four years. NetVU’s Governance and Event Logistics Manager is Liz Leger. She originally was a consultant with NetVU in 2015, however she formally joined our team two and a half years ago. If you know NetVU then you know Melissa Bond our Member Relations Manager. She has been serving NetVU for more than 22 years.

Those who have attended Accelerate have more than likely seen the incredible impact and commitment to our membership of the women volunteer and staff leaders at NetVU. Additionally, for those who have attended Accelerate, Powered by NetVU, in the past as an industry-leading-in-person conference or during 2020 as a virtual offering, Debbie Ivie is our education queen – it is hard to miss her in her crown!