EY Linda Roubinek

Linda Roubinek: the savvy strategist

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Combining a tactical business lens with IT knowledge, the Grange Insurance executive is dedicated to mentoring the next generation of women.

Linda Roubinek is energized by the unexpected. The Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer at Grange Insurance is an adept problem solver who thrives under pressure, abilities she first honed during nine fast-paced years with EY Management Consulting in Columbus, Ohio. In 2000, Linda joined Nationwide Insurance, where her ability to drive integrated technology enablement across the business led to opportunities for her to have a significant impact in a variety of IT roles within the organization. Then, in 2010, she joined Grange Insurance, where she now develops and executes corporate strategy while leading key transformational focus areas. Throughout her career journey, Linda has prioritized leadership and career advancement, with a particular focus on women. Linda recently spoke with us about her passion for mentorship and how intertwining business and technology propelled her success.

What initially attracted you to the insurance industry?

It was both opportunity and circumstance. Before I joined EY Management Consulting, I didn’t have an industry specialty. Once I got into the financial services space, I found a passion for the mission of insurance. Our mission at Grange is to provide peace of mind and protection during life’s unexpected events. That’s what keeps me interested — the positive impact that insurance has on our customers when they face a crisis and need help.

Tell us about your journey in technology. Through the lens of your current role, as technology evolves, do you see technology advancement as the goal or the enabler, and how?

One great skill that I developed during my years with EY was business partner relationship building. That’s probably what I became most known for in the early part of my insurance industry career. I was able to translate technology into business language and business value and had the opportunity to lead organizations through complex technology transformations. If you think about any current professional role in any industry today, insurance or otherwise, most benefit from having technical aptitude. IT has taken a major step forward; it’s no longer in the back office. I see technology leadership as driving, advising and partnering with the business on possible opportunities to advance our brand and grow our market share. It’s been an exciting evolution to say the least, and I enjoy leadership roles, like those I’ve played over the years, that support technology advancement to transform the business for the future.

As the first chief strategy and transformation officer at Grange, driving innovation and a continuous growth mindset, how do you and your transformation team instill and activate that mindset at Grange?

Almost two years ago, Grange reorganized enterprise functions where the lines were starting to blur, and we aligned many of our adjacent functional groups doing transformative work into one team. From a strategic perspective, we’re actively considering our near- and long-term priorities while leveraging transformative actions to begin to execute on that vision. We’re also seeing considerable overlap and partnership opportunities among our innovation and digital agendas, especially within the operating model-related work that we’re doing to drive greater efficiency. It made sense to integrate these teams to capitalize on these synergies. We view our team as an internal consulting arm within the organization. I tell my team that, as internal consultants, we must execute and create value that helps us lead the organization and accelerate critical changes and transformation.

How do strategy and transformation relate to Grange’s mission and values?

One thing is clear to us: to remain a key player with a strong market presence in the communities we serve and to be there for the needs of our customers, we have no choice but to transform. The things that got us where we are won’t get us where we need to be. In some ways, it would be easier to operate with a “business as usual” approach, where we sit back and choose not to tackle the complex journey of modernization. It’s often difficult to do that type of work within a company because it’s not visibly creating short-term growth. But it’s also incredibly energizing to make bold decisions that are important for our future, and it’s starting to pay off for us. We’re beginning to see the value of those complex programs and bold investments. This strategic, transformative work is critical so that we continue to create the best customer and agent experiences, as well as keep current on what is needed to carry the company into the future and continue to best serve our customers and agents.

What challenges have you faced in realizing that value, and how have you addressed them?

Grange is a very forward-looking company, both in forecasting and preparing for the unknown. Over the last few years, we’ve had some challenges arise that we weren’t expecting. When things don’t go as planned, we must adjust and pivot. Figuring out how to adapt in such situations gives me tremendous excitement and energy. I’m proud to work at a company with a group of leaders who are willing to make changes and make those tough decisions.

What also energizes me about this role is our innovative culture and our collaborative environment. We are proud of our very inclusive organization. We work in a matrix environment where our people have ownership and accountability. As such, we all lead and work together toward common goals. I consider myself very fortunate to work within an organization that genuinely has that type of culture; it’s our secret sauce.

What advice would you offer to your 25-year-old self as a message to younger women embarking on a career in insurance or technology?

I am very fortunate that I haven't encountered many barriers because of my gender. When I look back at my EY experience, it is noteworthy that the firm started prioritizing diversity and inclusion early. The firm was ahead of the curve, providing an excellent foundation for me. That kind of maturity was a gift, and it catapulted me into my corporate career as I shifted from consulting. At Grange, we’ve seen diversity, equity and inclusion evolve, mature, and really take hold. Our senior leadership team is 66% women, and one-third of our board of directors are women, including the Chair. I prioritize paying it back and mentoring other women associates trying to grow their careers. I’m proud to be part of a company that promotes diversity, mentorship and an open-minded culture where women are empowered to achieve their true potential — and Grange flourishes because of it.

My advice to my younger self would be to embrace differences and to leverage the strengths you bring while capitalizing on differences in others who work around you. Engage and invest heavily into learning and work where you are part of a learning culture. The best experiences and learnings you gain along the way will be via working with others who know different things, have different styles and think differently from you.

How does Grange work toward equity, and how do you play a part?

Our senior leadership team prioritizes fostering a culture of belonging among our associates. We’re committed to cultivating a safe environment for open discussion and understanding. At Grange, equity in the workplace is about leveling the playing field for all and giving every associate the resources they need to have access to opportunities. A few examples of how we’ve enabled an equitable work environment include making job descriptions accessible, empowering associates, and offering equitable benefits and diversity training programs like unconscious bias training and inclusive leadership training.

We prioritize building an inspiring and inclusive company where everyone can be, and do, their best every day. It’s important for our associates to represent the diversity of our communities, including people of all abilities and everything that makes us unique as individuals. Their collective ideas, opinions and creativity of a diverse workforce are necessary to deliver the innovative solutions and customer service our agency partners and policyholders deserve. The role I personally play with all I’ve noted is to do as much as possible to advance our DEI initiatives and position toward an even more mature state.

How have your experiences shaped your approach to mentorship?

As a mentor, I have valuable experience and insights that can benefit a mentee. Being available and active are two ways to approach a successful mentorship relationship. I’ve been active internally with our Women’s Associate Resource Group and externally with organizations in the Columbus metropolitan area. For me, being available means being intentional about making time for the people with whom I’ve worked in the past or who I’m mentoring, either formally or informally. I find it easy to prioritize the consistency of those meetings around everything else going on at work and outside of work because I get great reward from helping others in their careers and because these mentoring relationships help me to learn and grow, too.

What has your EY experience meant to you?

The firm has always had great success at hiring very smart people who were also very good humans. There was so much to absorb and learn, all of it very quickly. We used to say that the EY environment was like an MBA on steroids. The fast pace of learning, interacting with different types of people at various ranks across clients in different industries with unique problems to solve, set me up for success. When I stepped away from IT and into a senior business leadership role at Grange, I really began to see and appreciate how my EY experience laid the foundation for so much of what I’ve been fortunate to experience.

Who are some of the people from your time here that stand out to you?

In the Columbus office, Rich Sheely, Don Mrowzinski and Denver Shaffer were all great partners and teachers in very different ways. When I was working on a client engagement with Cincinnati partners, Tom Lambert, Stan Brown and Tom Lindeman all left a memorable impact on how best to lead others. All these partners truly helped set the stage for me to advance my career. I also developed many valued friendships, too many to name, in my time at the firm. Some who I stay in close touch with and I consider dear friends include Kelly Gratz, Lynette Humphrey, Melanie Kolp, Eileen Orr and Maria Urani. We are still very connected and supportive of each other personally, and in our careers, to this day. Look at this list of people; it underscores how fortunate I’ve been and how critical it is that I pay it forward.

More about Linda Roubinek

Friday night lights: Linda’s daughter is a marketing major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Linda enjoys visiting Knoxville and attending Vols football games. “Tennessee has been doing well over the last couple of years in many sports, including football!” she says.

Turn up the volume: A fan of music, specifically country music, Linda enjoys going to concerts with her immediate and extended family and friends. Recently, she and her husband visited Nashville, where their daughter was working for the Country Music Association during CMA Fest. “All the big country artists were there,” Linda says. “That was a unique experience and a lot of fun.”

A room with an ocean view: When it’s time for R&R, Linda opts for beach vacations. “It’s the fastest way for me to recharge,” she says.


EY alumna Linda Roubinek, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer at Grange Insurance, spoke with us about her passion for mentorship and how intertwining business and technology propelled her into executive leadership roles.

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