Lynn Oldfield, MBA, CRM, FCIP
President & CEO, AIG Canada, Toronto, ON
Lynn Oldfield possesses many qualities that distinguish her as an outstanding leader. Her colleagues describe her as passionate and courageous, and as a talented communicator with the ability to captivate her audience. “Lynn has a thorough understanding of what leadership means and demonstrates her unique brand of leadership at board of directors meetings, employee town halls, client meetings and outside of work in her community,” writes one of her supporters. “Lynn is adept at leading ‘out front’ in very public forums, and is an equally effective leader in one-on-one settings, where effective leadership requires subtlety and nuance.”
Lynn joined AIG Canada in 1991 and was named President in 2008 and CEO in 2010. During her leadership, the company has experienced consistent growth and profitability and has expanded into new lines of business. Lynn has navigated the company through significant challenges over the years, most notably the aftermath of the financial crisis in late 2008 through to 2009, when public sentiment towards financial institutions in general, and parent company AIG specifically, became unfavourable. At the time, Lynn personally met with many of AIG Canada’s clients and broker partners and was able to secure those relationships by successfully demonstrating AIG’s long-term viability.
More recently, Lynn has helped seal the company’s reputation as a valued insurer when, in response to the devastating floods in Southern Alberta in June 2013, AIG Canada encouraged partner subscription carriers to issue advance partial claims payments to affected insureds, relieving immediate financial stress and putting the focus on rebuilding. Such compassionate – and smart – business decisions have the added benefit of placing a positive light on the insurance industry as a whole.
Lynn completed her undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University, and her MBA at McMaster University. She has earned her Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional and Canadian Risk Management designations. A serious proponent of education, Lynn taught Principles and Practices of Insurance at the Insurance Institute of Canada for 10 years. She also served for six years as the Chair of the Academic Council, and helped make important updates to the Chartered Insurance Professional program.
Lynn continues to be very active in the life of Wilfrid Laurier University and their School of Business & Economics. In 2011, she was named one of the university’s 100 Alumni of Achievement, and in 2013, was selected as CEO in Residence, presenting a keynote address and hosting a networking session for students and young alumni. In the fall of 2013, Lynn was also the inaugural recipient of the J. Alex Murray Alumni Award, the highest honour given by the Laurier School of Business & Economics.
As a true leader, Lynn fosters teamwork and collaboration, where successes are shared and problems are tackled together. “(Lynn’s) passion has an infectious quality and it has permeated throughout the industry,” writes her nominator. “I believe this passion comes from a love of the insurance industry, but more importantly, the joy when she sees someone succeed. While her business acumen is beyond reproach, it’s that combination of managerial excellence and passion that makes her such a good leader.”
To help shape the next generation of leaders in her company, Lynn created the AIG Canada Emerging Leaders program, which gives 16 to 24 young employees a year the chance to work with the company’s local and global leadership group, provides additional education opportunities, and involves them in a series of real time work projects and case studies.
Lynn also launched the Pay It Forward campaign that focuses on connecting experienced professionals with younger ones in an effort to encourage more young people to enter the industry. She led a Pay It Forward event for the Toronto Insurance Women’s Association in 2012, which focused on talent development and retention. She also presented at the Speaker’s Luncheon in Conestoga in 2012 where she invited top insurance and risk management students from Conestoga College and Wilfrid Laurier University to join her table and network with the industry leaders in attendance. Lynn’s most recent Pay It Forward event was at the RIMS 2014 conference in Denver, Colorado, where she addressed over 150 Spencer Foundation university students and spoke about the art of networking.
Lynn implemented AIG Canada’s corporate social responsibility program, Make a Difference, to connect employees with worthy causes such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ride for Juvenile Diabetes, Light the Night and Second Harvest. All events are led by employee volunteers, and support their personal passions. In addition, her employees are encouraged to take two days leave per year to volunteer for their favourite community causes as part of a global AIG initiative. Outside of her company, Lynn and her husband Tom have established a charitable foundation to advance the causes of education, health and well-being.
For all her accomplishments, it gives the CIP Society immense pleasure to recognize Lynn Oldfield as an Established Leader in 2014.