Established Leader

Diane Brickner, CIP, ICD.D

President and CEO, Peace Hills Insurance Company, Edmonton, AB

Diane Brickner is a charismatic leader who naturally garners respect from those around her. She was one of the first women to lead a Canadian insurance company and has made many important contributions to the industry. She understands that leadership, much like the insurance industry, is about relationships, and she believes strongly in teamwork.

Diane started with Peace Hills Insurance in 1982 and quickly ascended its ranks and was appointed president and CEO in 1990. She has overseen the company through its expansion into all
provinces and territories west of Manitoba, and has been instrumental in increasing its annual sales to $175 million and its work force to 190 employees. The company is owned by the Samson Cree Nation and has a strong presence among the aboriginal community, which is just one example of how Diane and Peace Hills add a distinct touch to the industry.

“Diane is a true ‘authentic’ leader who works for a higher purpose, takes unconditional responsibility for herself, faces all challenges head on, and is not afraid to stand alone for what she believes in,” writes her nominator.

Diane provides leadership, discipline and innovation at Peace Hills. She is a consensus-builder with the confidence and experience to make a tough call. In the aftermath of the Slave Lake fires, Peace Hills carved its own path in its response to the tragedy. While many CEOs would have felt more comfortable joining the industry’s coordinated efforts, Diane trusted her managers and supported them as they pursued unorthodox responses. As a result, Peace Hills continues to receive praise from its clients and brokers for the compassionate way it handled the disaster.

Diane supports her employees in other ways too. She encourages them to take courses and financially rewards their achievements upon completion of CIP, FCIP or other professional designations. She has created a flexible work environment that allows them to participate in industry organizations, and as a result, Peace Hill Insurance employees contribute significantly to the insurance associations.

She has sat on boards for the Insurance Institute of Canada (the Institute), the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, the Edmonton Eskimos Football Team, the International Women’s Forum and Grant MacEwan’s University. She has been involved in many industry organizations, including IINA, IBC, GIO and PACCIC, and community organizations including the Edmonton Police Foundation and the Mustard Seed Church.

She has won many awards throughout her career, including the Award of Merit from the Institute (2008); the Dr. Charles Allard Chair of Business from MacEwan School of Business (2008) – the highest recognition given by the school; the Woman of Distinction in Business from the Edmonton YWCA (1995); and the Insurance Woman of the Year from the Canadian Association of Insurance Women (1990).

Diane has represented the industry during important discussions with provincial governments, most notably with the province of Alberta in the lead-up to the 2004 Alberta Auto reforms, and with the province of Manitoba on the reconsideration of the new RST on premiums. In addition, she is often requested to speak at insurance conferences and other events through venues such as the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and the University of Alberta’s Executive MBA program.

The insurance industry is fortunate to have a person of such high integrity working on its behalf. It gives the CIP Society great pleasure to honour Diane Brickner with this year’s Established Leader Award.