As a network with a mission to encourage, engage, and inspire women across the US organization, Power of Women honors National Women’s History Month by recognizing women who have made a strong presence here at Intact and are known to be both a valued colleague and role model by many. Each week, we will be learning more about these individuals and their career experience as a professional woman in the workplace. Today, we are pleased to feature Dana Lenahan!

Dana is the Director of the Liability Claims Group, which handles Auto Liability, General Liability and certain other liability claims for our ongoing and exited business lines. Prior to managing the Liability Claims Group, Dana was a Senior Claim Manager for the Technology business unit and also a Senior Claim Manager for the Public Entities business group. Dana joined Intact in 2013 after a 12-year career litigating cases in private practice. Dana lives in Downers Grove, IL, with her husband, her 13 year-old daughter, three dogs, a cat and three guinea pigs.

How did you get started in the industry?
I got started in insurance after one of Intact’s internal recruiters reached out to me about a claims position working with the Technology business unit. While I did not have any experience with insurance, I did have experience defending pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in product liability litigation, which is an area in which the Technology unit was expanding. I took the leap into insurance and have never looked back. There is always something new to learn in this industry, and I’m appreciative that Intact is open to its employees exploring new areas.

Is there something you wish someone would have told you as you started your career?
There are so many things I wish I would have known when I was starting out, but I think I needed to experience them myself to really believe them. One of the things I learned while at Intact is that you don’t have to have to be an extrovert with an authoritarian style to be a successful leader. Good leaders are transparent and show empathy for others; they achieve success through collaboration and engagement rather than through fear. Also, I’ve learned that giving feedback is kindness, and I try to receive feedback as a gift rather than a criticism (I am a work in progress on that).

What challenges have you had to face in your career? How did you overcome?
There was a period of time when I felt like my career was stalled. I did not get a position I had applied for, and I let that impact my confidence and attitude. I wallowed in that for a while, and then I decided that I would use that experience as an opportunity for growth. I reached out to HR to learn more about how to improve my leadership skills. Then when my supervisor and mentor gave me an opportunity to try something new, I jumped on it. It wasn’t a promotion, but it was an opportunity to demonstrate my abilities that eventually led to a promotion.  My career path hasn’t been linear, and that is okay. I’ve learned so much from every position I’ve had.

What women leaders inspire you?
I’ve always been inspired by Oprah Winfrey. She is a self-made woman, whose work has impacted many women’s lives, including mine.  I admire Oprah’s transparency with her own struggles and her desire to uplift and empower women and children everywhere. She is an example of someone who has developed more power and influence by giving her own power and influence away to others.

What is a secret talent or skill you have?
I’ve always enjoyed writing and editing others’ writing. I don’t think it is as fun for the people whose writing I’m editing as it is for me, unfortunately!

Thank you, Dana, for sharing more about yourself and your career experience! Power of Women appreciates your support and participation in celebrating National Women’s History Month.