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2018 Women to Watch: Kathy Kranz

Kathy Kranz
Vice president and chief financial officer
Pinnacol Assurance
Denver
Age: 45

Kathy Kranz likes the big picture.

“I love that I get to do a little bit of everything, including working closely with operations and our chief customer officer on strategy and priorities,” said Ms. Kranz, vice president and chief financial officer for Pinnacol Assurance in Denver.

“I also get to do all the pure financial stuff,” such as overseeing the firm’s actuarial work, financial planning and accounting.

She has found satisfaction and success at Pinnacol. “I’ve always been able to find new and exciting work to do at Pinnacol,” Ms. Kranz said. “I’ve moved up there throughout my 10 years as well,” from an original job as controller on to associate vice president and then about four years ago to the CFO role.

Early client experience in public accounting led her to insurance. During her first year of public accounting with Coopers & Lybrand in Chicago, she got put on two big accounts — a pharmaceutical company and State Farm in Bloomington, Illinois — which led her to stay in insurance, she said.

“It was fate that I found it, but I still did have some choice in the matter,” she said.

She joined Pinnacol in 2008 after working with captive insurers and then increasingly in corporate finance.

“Pinnacol had a great reputation in the insurance industry and as a great company in Denver,” Ms. Kranz said. “As chief financial officer, a C-suite person, as someone who has a good work life and still has time to spend with my son, I am very grateful to Pinnacol.”

She also values those around her with whom she works. “I am grateful I have great people reporting to me,” she said.

They feel the same way about her, too.

“What makes her exceptional is her drive to transform our business through innovation, while at the same time being one of the most accessible and effective mentors in the organization,” said Phil Kalin, president and CEO of Pinnacol. “Her accomplishments have earned her admirers inside and outside of the organization, and I am chief among them.”

Ms. Kranz said she has seen progress for women at her firm during her tenure.

When she first started at Pinnacol, it had one or two women each on its executive teams and board, she said. “Ten years later, half of our executive team are women and I believe a third of the board are women.”

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