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Declaration of Independents: Kate O’Toole

O’Toole has been heavily involved with Vertafore’s peer-to-peer networking community and has been teaching courses every year since, as well as excelling in her career. The group has opened a world of opportunity not only in agency operations and efficiency—but by also providing “great friends and great people that I can call on for advice about workflow procedures,” she says.
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Declaration of Independents: Kate O’TooleKate O'Toole

Operations & Agency Management Systems Project Manager
Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage Inc.
East Providence, Rhode Island

Since taking NetVU's Sagitta course in 2014, O'Toole has been heavily involved with Vertafore's peer-to-peer networking community and has been teaching courses every year since, as well as excelling in her career.

The group has opened a world of opportunity for O'Toole not only in her area of expertise—agency operations and efficiency—but by also providing “great friends and great people that I can call on for advice about workflow procedures," she says. 

Earlier this year, O'Toole was awarded NetVU's 2020 Volunteer of the Year Service Award for helping NetVU members and for serving as a positive role model to NetVU members and the industry.

About Your Role?

I'm not out there actively selling policies or anything, but I support everyone in the agency from an operations, training, workflow efficiency and project management standpoint, as well as onboarding new products. I like the organization and phases of projects. It's good to have the capability to make an impact on the rest of the agency.

Emphasizing the 'Why?'

We employ close to 250 people in four different states. If I don't start with a why behind anything I'm working on, there's little chance that my message is going to get any farther than the first couple of slides I present.

COVID-19 Challenges?

Offloading 100% of employees to be 100% work from home. It was a task to get everyone up to speed. I had to rewrite some of the procedures for everyone to be able to effectively work from home. No one was expecting to have to do it, but we did it—a great team effort. And they're rocking it right now. There's a lot of positive creativity that's come out of this scenario that we've had to adapt to.

Now that we've been forced to look at ourselves and change, we have realized that certain things work and it's an even better solution. We've had all this technology to be able to work from home for years and years but it has been met with some resistance. That's going to change.

Biggest Industry Changes?

When I first started, it was hard to understand workflows and get a grasp on what actually needed to happen to make a process smooth from start to finish. We had all the pieces to do it, but putting it together was a little bit tricky. Recent changes from an integration perspective and getting everything working together like a machine has been great.

Receiving NetVU's Volunteer of the Year Award?

I was not expecting to receive it. It was an ambush call since we couldn't have the 2020 Accelerate Conference this year. I got a call placed on my calendar for something NetVU related, so it seemed normal. All my friends popped up on the screen—it was really nice.

The individual who nominated me said that I never back down from a challenge and every time there is an opportunity to help someone out, do something different, or try to create something to help others, I jump in. Even if there's no potential solution for it at the moment, I'll find one.

Will Jones is IA managing editor. 

15415
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Agency Operations & Best Practices