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2018 Women to Watch: Jeanette Ward

Jeanette Ward
Chief operating officer
Texas Mutual Insurance Co.
Austin, Texas
Age: 48

At a time when employees frequently move from one company to another, Jeanette Ward is a significant and inspiring exception.

Soon after graduating in 1993 from the University of Texas, where she worked part-time at the Texas state capitol to help put herself through college, Ms. Ward joined an insurance company known as the Texas Workers Compensation Insurance Fund as an executive receptionist. The insurer had been recently authorized by state lawmakers and was later to become Texas Mutual Insurance Co.

Twenty-five years later, Ms. Ward remains at Texas Mutual, moving up in a series of promotions, and now is the Austin, Texas-based insurer’s chief operating officer.

In that time with Texas Mutual, she has racked up many accomplishments, including the creation of the insurer’s health care network where injured workers can get medical care, as well as supporting the development of a mobile application to enable injured employees to have access to all of their claim information.

Looking back, Ms. Ward said she relishes having spent her entire professional career with one company.

“This has given me the opportunity to grow and contribute and solve problems. I really love working here,” Ms. Ward said.

Texas Mutual executives say Ms. Ward has several major talents.

She has “great organizational abilities, is very good at motivating people and quickly understands how to solve problems,” said Texas Mutual President and CEO Richard Gergasko, who has known Ms. Ward since 2013.

“She is wise and thoughtful,” said Cathy McHorse, vice president of Success by 6 for the United Way of Greater Austin, who has known Ms. Ward for about a year. Ms. Ward has been a volunteer at the United Way for several years, where, among other things, she has reviewed financial grant applications from nonprofit organizations.

Ms. Ward also serves on the Volunteer Firemen’s Insurance Service Inc.’s grant review panel, which provides safety and wellness grants for volunteer firefighters across Texas.

NEXT: Cate Whiddon
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