For Tenesha Frazier-Levett, global relationship leader, diversity and inclusion is not just a hot topic; it’s a call to action. As a woman of color, she has a personal and professional stake in diversity and thrives on the opportunity to make an impact and difference. Tenesha is an industry veteran with over 16 years of experience in developing carrier and broker relationships. She joined Crawford in 2019 to support the company’s evolution of its client engagement strategy, but she soon found a secondary calling—to help advance Crawford’s I&D initiatives.
It’s no secret that the insurance industry has had difficulty addressing the issue of diversity. A 2019 data study conducted by Million Women Mentor’s Women In Insurance Initiative (WII) found that women are underrepresented among executives, with only 29% of senior leaders identifying as women despite making up 61% of the insurance industry workforce. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 2019 survey found Black, Asian and Latino people make up only a fraction of the industry’s employees.
Crawford formally joined the effort to embrace diversity in 2017 when it launched its Women LEAD program, a high impact e-learning and networking program to help empower women leaders to achieve their goals. The company has steadily increased its focus on diversity, but 2020 has been a transformative year. Crawford launched an Office of Inclusion & Diversity in January and implemented new initiatives like Unconscious Bias training. These initiatives have been well-received by leadership and employees alike. But as COVID-19 and police brutality began to dominate the headlines, it was imperative that Crawford do more to support marginalized employees and communities.
Tenesha in particular saw another opportunity to lead at Crawford. She has been instrumental in developing Crawford’s employee resource groups (ERGs) and in addition to her daily responsibilities, Tenesha co-led the creation of ZEAL, the Women’s ERG. She also chaired the steering committee meetings and collaborated with the team to support the group's execution and launch. Once the charter was near completion, she volunteered to support the development of RISE, the multicultural ERG. Tenesha currently serves as Global Ambassador of ZEAL.
“ZEAL stands for Zealous, Empowered, Authentic Leaders. I’m thrilled to be the Global Ambassador of a group focused on inspiring, cultivating and promoting women to explore personal and professional growth while fostering a commitment to the advancement and empowerment of gender diversity,”
- Tenesha Frazier-Levett, Global Relationship Leader, Crawford & Company
Tenesha is no stranger to diversity and inclusion efforts, having served as the Atlanta Chapter Leader of the Women’s Group at her prior company, Zurich North America. Tenesha is well aware of current issues and uses her knowledge to educate others. In her role at Crawford, she frequently travels, engaging with the C-Suite and executive leadership of top carriers and brokers globally.
“I have an opportunity to be an agent of change and positively shift the industry so that it mirrors the diverse landscape of our customers around the world. Crawford is an industry leader disrupting technology and even the D & I space, and it is important that we listen to and validate our diverse workforce” she mentioned.
Tenesha is also passionate about mentorship. Informally, she has served as a mentor to many she has encountered in the workforce and her personal life. Tenesha recognizes the value of reverse mentorship, which she views as an effective way to connect with those new to the industry and workforce. She looks forward to incorporating mentorship initiatives into ZEAL and partnering with RISE to expand the program reaching as many people as possible.
Tenesha emphasizes the value of allyship having been able to experience support rarely shown to many marginalized groups. “I’ve been fortunate to have allies along my path who have supported my career journey based on my proven track record and professional brand.” She went on to add, “I recognize that sometimes being great at what you do isn’t enough, if you aren’t afforded the same opportunities as others. This is why it’s important for individuals like me, who have benefited from D&I efforts and allyship, to take an active role in promoting and advocating the value of diversity within organizations.”
Although there have been improvements in D&I within the insurance industry recently, Tenesha sees an opportunity to build on the momentum. “The best way we can improve diversity in our industry is by educating and recruiting diverse talent. There is so much opportunity in this field,” she said, adding, “The insurance industry is, for the most part, recession-proof, and there are always new possibilities for growth and advancement whether you are interested in working for a carrier, broker, in risk management or for an organization like Crawford. I want to make sure people know about the various career channels available and ensure they have an equal opportunity to pursue them. Therefore, I make it my mission to open the door for others so they can explore and reach their highest potential.”