Running Your Business

Women in Leadership: A Q&A With United Concordia Dental’s Laurie Laspina

  • United Concordia Dental is pleased to honor Vice President of the Western Division, Laurie Laspina

  • With more than 25 years of experience working for United Concordia, Laspina played a vital role in building the organization's PPO network

  • Laspina suggests women not wait to have "all the requirements" of a position before applying for it, as an interview will indicate whether the job is right for them

Posted by October 20, 2018

In what ways have the women in leadership roles at your company fostered positive change? At United Concordia Dental, the impact certain women have made has been immeasurable. Accordingly, the organization is honored to spotlight Vice President of the Western Division, Laurie Laspina.

Not only has Laspina been with the company for more 25 years, she helped to build and grow its national PPO network from the ground up. “Everyone gave weeks of their time after-hours and on off-hours to call dentist offices to encourage them to sign our provider contract,” she recalls. “We were a very small company then, and knew that if we could pull it off, we would propel the company into bigger and better opportunities.”

After that major shift, Laspina took an account executive role that would precipitate her move from Pennsylvania to California in order to service one of United Concordia’s largest new clients. She says, “Fast forward to today, and I’ve been in California for just over 20 years, traveling throughout the western states and Texas, to understand the differences of writing and servicing business outside our core.”

Highlighting Women In Leadership

Laspina’s experience in high-level positions has provided her with unique insights and the opportunity to share her advice with other professionals. The following is an interview that was conducted with Laspina on the topic of women in leadership:

What are some strategies that can help women achieve more prominent roles in their organizations?

— Network with women leaders. Find a mentor—or two—and make a point to engage with them regularly. If someone, male or female, holds a role you could see yourself doing some day, ask them to lunch. Explore what the role is about and how they ended up there.

What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

— Don’t take things personally. People have all sorts of motivations and reasons for doing and saying things. Most have nothing to do with you.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

— While I’m sure there are still some barriers, I think there are fewer today than ever. As generations of leaders retire, and younger people assume roles of leadership, the biases and discriminatory approaches are left behind, too.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you? What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?

— One challenge for the next generation of women is that there will be greater competition for leadership roles. So be prepared that many men, and your women peers, will also be your competition. The best approach I know is to always put yourself in the shoes of the owner; if you owned the company, and it was your money and resources to spend, what is the best use of it? Where can you save?

Other advice I’d give is: Don’t wait to have “all the requirements” of a position before applying for it. No one ticks every box. Take a shot and apply, then during the interview, you’ll find out if the role is for you or not.

In what ways have you found that United Concordia supports and/or encourages women in leadership positions in the organization?

— From the time I started with the company, I saw women in leadership roles throughout the various departments. It was encouraging to me that senior management recognized women could hold significant roles here, and I had some very good mentors who helped guide me to positions of greater responsibility.

Are you looking for an opportunity to honor the women in leadership roles at your organization? You can start small by acknowledging their efforts. A simple email or phone call of gratitude can go a long way! Similarly, it’s a good idea to honor the rising women publicly. Call them out as Employee of the Month, mention them in the company newsletter and most importantly, promote them to positions of leadership.

For more insights on running a business, engaging employees and navigating benefits, explore United Concordia Dental’s helpful online offerings.

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