Member Highlight: Katerina Donovan

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Vice President of Employee Benefits for USI Insurance Services.

Every month, we will feature an active member of the ACG New York community in a brief interview. Reflecting industry insight and personal perspective, this feature will introduce industry leaders and offer advice on the tools you need to succeed in the ever-changing middle market.

ROLE/FIRM: ACG New York Westchester Network Chair and Vice President of Employee Benefits for USI Insurance Services

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Quick basics– role/firm/focus/how long have you been an ACG member?
I am a Vice President of Employee Benefits for USI Insurance Services, a national insurance brokerage and consulting firm approaching $2 billion in revenue with more than 150 local offices connected across the U.S.  I lead a group of dedicated analytics, underwriting, wellness and compliance experts who make up the region’s Technical Research Team: a nimble team dedicated to providing quick-response diligence and ongoing service, with a focus on immediate improvement to bottom line costs.  I have been an ACG member since 2015.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles in the middle market today?
Besides the abundance of capital and the increase of family/multi-family offices participating in the private market, thereby driving up valuations, we also find human capital costs, specifically rising healthcare expenses, to be a source of pain for middle marker players.  

How has ACG helped you in your career?
ACG has helped me develop a network of esteemed professionals—and what I would call 'connectors’ in the middle market M&A space—faster than any other association I have encountered.  Meeting people comes naturally to me, meeting the right people comes naturally to ACG; it’s been a great match thus far. I have been able to form strong bonds with strategic partners that I value and trust.

Most importantly, the intellectual capital shared within ACG, whether at social or formal industry events, has been essential to my professional development.  

Can you tell us about your greatest success story/ proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement within the organization has been the invite to chair the Westchester network of ACG New York.  This was my first leadership opportunity outside of my actual profession, and I was met with such support and encouragement.  

What changes do you foresee happening in the middle market in the next 3-5 years?
We are finding many of our private equity and family office partners developing strategies that focus on using technology, specifically automation and artificial intelligence, combined with corporate social responsibility strategy, to gain market strength and recognition.  The workforce is rapidly changing, demanding much more from their employers than ever before. To improve returns at a faster pace and get the most value out of this new workforce, all PMs, not just impact investors, will be required to look at investment opportunities that are forward thinking and socially conscious.