How She Leads: Anne Marie Chapman
Anne Marie Chapman isn’t afraid to stare down fear.
As principal and CEO of Underwriting Management Experts in Towamencin Township, Montgomery County, she knows how to navigate a constantly evolving marketplace, steer her company through waters turbulent and calm, and she knows mistakes can be the most instructive teachers.
Having a stable place to grow, learn and lead has been vital in shaping Chapman’s career. A willingness to explore and to learn from failure are among the traits she prizes most.
UME is a health care Managing General Underwriting provider specializing in self-funded health care programs for all sized employer groups.
Chapman credits her late father, whose example of hard work and tenacity continues to influence her leadership style. “I’ve always wanted to be a decision maker, like my father, Chapman said.
In addition to her father, a former boss informed her approach with equal portions of guidance and independence.
“He had a very hands-off approach while still being encouraging, [and he] never micro managed. [He] taught me to come to him with my problems and a solution,” Chapman said.
“Never be afraid to make a mistake. Making mistakes is one of the best opportunities you have in life to learn,” Chapman said.
While one manager exemplified positive leadership, another supervisor’s poor peopleskills may have been just as valuable to Chapman’s formation, according to Samantha Gallagher, UME president and a long-time partner.
Another key leadership lesson Chapman embraces is humility. “You should never expect someone to perform a job that you are not willing to perform yourself,” she said.
She said there’s no place for gender bias in business, and women’s attitudes and beliefs are more powerful in overcoming a male or female style perception to getting the job done.
“If you refuse to view yourself as different from a man then you will never feel at a disadvantage [while you] navigate the market place…gender is not a factor,” she said.
“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield is at the top of Chapman’s reading list these days. She said it speaks to personal resistance, and how such inertia often gets in the way of tackling challenging issues.
Throughout her career, Chapman remains mindful of important formative lessons.
They’ve shaped her leadership style which includes being personally invested in the company’s success, always walking the talk and being compassionate.
“[You must] lead by example - by showing that in order to achieve your goals you always have to be willing to put in the time and effort it takes,” Chapman said, as her leadership inspires those around her.
She sees the rewards of being a successful leader come from within, along with seeing the finished product and end results, rather than the notion that being a leader is a “thankless” job.
Her best advice to aspiring women leaders is to be self-aware and truthful about their weaknesses and to be comfortable and willing to be flexible but not jeopardize your integrity and core values.
As the health care insurance market shifts and changes, and government regulations change, Gallagher said Chapman’s voracious appetite for being informed about news, trends and government regulations meant a steady, informed visionary would be at the firm’s helm.
“She molds herself to industry changes. She brings the rest of us along with her, it’s this ability that helps us stay relevant,” Gallagher said.
Chapman said providing growth and professional development opportunities drive her goal to improve the lives of her employees. This speaks to perseverance. “Never, ever, give up,” she said.
Chapman hopes these characteristics form a leadership legacy for which she’ll be remembered.
“[I hope] they would say that I have bettered the lives of the employees, partners and clients … by supplying leadership and believing in their abilities to do great things, and never give up,” Chapman said.
“Be willing to take risks and do something that scares you, because on the other end of it you will be a better person, leader, friend and partner,” Chapman said.
Written and published by: Lehigh Valley Business, September 10, 2018