Nancy Mellard is passionate about the advancement of women, especially in corporate America and in industries that have historically been dominated by men.

She is the executive vice president and general counsel for the Benefits & Insurance Services Division of CBIZ, Inc. And as a successful legal professional in the insurance industry, she knows all too well how committees and boards (particularly in these legal and financial fields) can lack diversity. She sees the advancement of women as part of broader inclusion efforts that are important to greater success for all. And she is honored to be part of it.

The Importance of Connection

Inclusion starts with connection, which is why it’s no surprise that it’s the thing Nancy appreciates the most about Central Exchange. When it comes to programming at Central Exchange, Nancy has enjoyed plenty of events over the years. But she says the thing that excites her – a self-identified extrovert – the most is the opportunity for networking. Whether professionally or personally, it’s the connections with members and guests that make the biggest difference.

“No matter what the event is, I build a new relationship every single time,” she says.

It’s that enthusiasm for connection and advancement that also led her to help create the CBIZ Women’s Advantage, an organization of women dedicated to helping women succeed professionally. For more than a decade, CWA has offered professional training, development, mentorship and recognition to women at CBIZ.

Words of Wisdom

If she could give her younger self some advice – or offer some words of wisdom to younger Central Exchange members today – Nancy would say two things: 1) Realize the strength (not the weakness) in seeking help. 2) Be confident enough to take more risks.

Many women have internalized a feeling that they can’t or shouldn’t ask for help, but it’s part of having a strong voice. No one has all the answers, so there’s no reason to pretend otherwise. And taking calculated risks is about more than simply being competent because waiting until you know everything or have the perfect pitch will probably leave you waiting a very long time.

Why Central Exchange

Nancy was just graduating from law school when she learned about Central Exchange, and she knew right away that it was something she wanted to join. As a new member, she saw the CX membership as incredible role models: They were women (mostly) who were ahead of her in experience, in age or in career development. They made her think, “That’s what I want to be like!”

And as her career has advanced, so has her involvement at CX. Since becoming a member in 2007, she’s chaired the board of directors, led the win|win initiative, and currently chairs the CX Foundation board. She encourages others to participate as much as they can too.

“Be more than just a member,” Nancy says. “Get involved.”

There is a power that can be drawn from being at Central Exchange; it’s the membership’s responsibility to carry that forward.

Many thanks to Nancy for her involvement and leadership in the Central Exchange community! We hope you’ll join us as a guest at our next program, Exchange Circle, or other program for plenty of connection and conversation.