“It CAN Be Done!” – The Leadership Story of Eileen McDonnell
Time & Location
About the Event
Chairman and CEO of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company since 2013, Eileen McDonnell will talk about how personal accountability, empowerment and a commitment to shared leadership has impacted her career and leadership journey. Since McDonnell joined Penn Mutual, the company has risen from the 38th largest insurance provider to the 11th and it has accomplished something less than 1% of Fortune 1000 company have accomplished: having a woman in both the CEO and CFO positions. Penn Mutual’s board is also 40% female.
Eileen McDonnell’s parents told her she could do anything that she set out to do. And she believed them. After beginning college with the intent to be a nurse, she changed her major in her sophomore year once she imagined what the future could be with personal computers entering the mainstream. She entered a very male-dominated field, never doubting her ability to innovate and contribute. She soon changed course again and entered the life insurance industry. By the age of 27, she was named the youngest vice president at Equitable, despite being surrounded with people who didn’t think a woman, and especially a young woman, could handle that position. But McDonnell didn’t see it that way; her mantra from that point became, “It CAN be done”.
After building a highly successful career that ultimately led to being President of New England Financial, McDonnell realized that she wanted more and she stepped out of corporate life to adopt her daughter, Claire. After a few years of teaching, consulting, and writing a book while raising her daughter, McDonnell had an opportunity to interview for the Chief Marketing Officer role at Penn Mutual. Not planning to return to corporate life, she went to the interview with the goal of securing a new consulting client. When they wanted to hire her for the position, she was very clear that her daughter would always come first and her career would come second. And she got the job.
Recently named as one of the region’s most powerful and influential people, Eileen’s leadership has been recognized for implementing innovative and unique advancements in the industry and embracing workplace diversity. Join us on October 1st to hear Eileen’s personal story, her business journey, and the “Eileenisms” that define her business and leadership style.
Eileen C. McDonnell (Chairman and CEO, Penn Mutual)
Eileen C. McDonnell has been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since July 2013. She was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2011 and President in 2010, after serving as Chief Marketing Officer since 2008.
Before joining Penn Mutual, she was President of New England Financial, a wholly owned subsidiary of MetLife, and Senior Vice President of the Guardian Life Insurance Company. Ms. McDonnell is a former member of the Master of Science in Management faculty at The American College, where she held the newly endowed chair for Women and Financial Services and is the author of “Marketing Financial Services to Women.”
Ms. McDonnell serves on the Board of Managers of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn Mutual. Ms. McDonnell serves on the board of the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania and the board of Universal Health Services, Inc. (NYSE: UHS).
A graduate of Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY, Ms. McDonnell majored in mathematics and computer science, and received an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree in 2011. She earned her MBA in finance and investments from Adelphi University, Garden City, NY and was recognized in 2013 for ‘Outstanding Service” to the university.