Canadian Underwriter

Robyn Young, Excel & Y

March 8, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Robyn Young, CEO, Excel & Y and president-elect, IBAC

Women need to be confident in their own potential and support other women in their rise up the corporate ladder, suggests Robyn Young, president-elect of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada.

If women are the primary caregivers at home, that could sometimes impede them from moving up into the C-suite, suggests Young, CEO of Calgary-based Excel & Y and past president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta.

“We are just as capable as men of running businesses and we provide different perspectives and different insights that can make a company better. I think that has been recognized.”

Young also firmly believes brokers should hire the best candidate for the job, regardless of the candidate’s race, gender or religion. “You need to look at a broad spectrum of candidates to find the right candidate,” she said.

Like many brokers, Young started working in the family business after the Youngs moved during the 1980s from Winnipeg to Calgary. “I grew up being told I could do whatever I wanted to do,” she said. “It had nothing to do with my gender. I have taken that tack with everything I do in my life. If women believe we can do anything, we can.”

When she was 19, Young founded Southland Registrations, a family business. She started her career in customer service at the front counter, later working her way up to managing Southland Registrations. At the time, her parents were operating the brokerage (known until 2021 as Lundgren & Young) in partnership with founder Jack Lundgren. Her parents (Thom and Val Young) bought out Lundgren in 2000. Fourteen years later, Robyn Young and her brother A.J. bought the brokerage from their parents. The new moniker, Excel & Y Insurance Services, is the result of a partnership with Excel Insurance Group Inc. that took effect Feb. 1.

Commenting in general on women in the business world, Young told Canadian Underwriter it can make it more difficult for women to move up the corporate ladder if they are the primary caregivers at home.

“They tend to put their children ahead of their career and I think sometimes that can be a setback, but I think it depends on the employer as well.”

While mentoring programs for prospective female executives are good, it is even more important for women to support other women in the workplace.

“Women need to encouraging and they need to be more vocal. I think men sometimes are quicker to pat another man on the back when they do something good. Women tend to be more silent, and I think that is changing as well.”

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