The highlight from this year’s Chubb Leaderboard Invitational for many attendees was the first night’s keynote address by Christine M. McCarthy, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer at The Walt Disney Company.
In a fireside chat style, Teresa Black, co-host of the event and Executive Vice President of North America Commercial Surety at Chubb, treated the audience to an interview of Christine, covering everything from her career in finance, to mentorship, to her favorite Disney characters.
Some of the highlights include:
Q: How did she transition from a career in banking to Disney?
Christine had been working as CFO at a midsize bank, and during an everyday conversation with her sister, she wondered aloud about her future there. Her sister had just heard about an opening at Disney. Two interviews later, Christine was meeting with then Disney CEO and Chairman Michael Eisner.
Once she got the job at Disney in 2000 as treasurer, she took the approach that long-time ABC newsperson Barbara Walters once promoted as the source of her success: Show up early, stay late, do your homework and listen.
“Never stop learning,” Christine said.
Q: What’s her approach to a world that is still not always inviting to female business leaders?
After she received her MBA from UCLA in 1981, Christine recalled, she attended a lunch meeting at the California Club. The doormen told her she would have to enter through a side door. Christine refused. Still, she admonishes women in the business world not to walk around with chips on their shoulders.
“File it off,” she said.
Q: What does she enjoy most about her role?
Christine described herself as a “multidimensional thinker” who chooses to work at such a demanding pace.
“I love complex organizations,” she said of Disney, where any given day can involve financial markets or risk and insurance issues, or the opening of a theme park or a blockbuster movie.
Q: What would be her dream golf foursome?
Herself, Amelia Earhart, Katharine Hepburn and Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
Q: Her favorite Disney character?
A composite of three: Maid Marian, Lady Tremaine (Cinderella’s stepmom) and Jessica Rabbit.
The Chubb Leaderboard Invitational is an annual gathering of some of insurance’s most influential female leaders, who meet to rap about Chubb, leadership and golf. This year’s event did not disappoint, in particular on the leadership topic and the overall “empowering” message, as described by Caroline Clouser, event co-host and Executive Vice President of North America Healthcare at Chubb.
Hopefully, you agreed.