Nov 25, 2020
What Do You Think of When You Think of Culture? With Kristen Bakalar
Play • 31 min

Kristen Bakalar is the Interim Chief People Officer at Mendix and is passionate about all things culture, engagement, leadership, and more. As more insurance professionals retire from the workforce, we need to be conscious about our culture, who we’re letting in, and how to bring more diversity and inclusion into the fold. Kristen shares that, as leaders, we might not always know the right response to a diversity challenge, but imperfect action is better than no action.


Key Takeaways

  • How did Kristen get started in this career field?
  • There is a huge talent gap about to happen as more people retire in insurance.
  • How are diversity and inclusion changing the landscape for the insurance industry?
  • Diversity and inclusion are much more than checking a box and bringing someone of a different background in. We need to also cultivate that talent and promote that talent.
  • People want to do things that are meaningful to them. The good news is, insurance is meaningful and that’s what we need to plug into.
  • People see insurance as a “need to get” thing, but they don’t see how it has impacted and helped people’s lives during a tragedy.
  • How can we be aware of our unconscious bias?
  • People don’t know what the right thing to do is, but they also don’t want to do the wrong thing either, which leads to inaction.
  • The most important thing is to take action and if you screw up, learn from it, apologize, and be better next time.
  • Kristen, as a white woman, is excited to have a POC in the White House, but she’s hearing from her POC friends that they aren’t. They aren’t as hopeful things will change in the day-to-day.
  • Is the war for talent over?
  • What does Kristen wish she knew sooner about her career?


Keep Getting Better

Kristen on LinkedIn




“To me, culture is how we make decisions. It’s how we talk to each other. Culture is the worst behavior that we tolerate.”


“It doesn’t matter how many diverse people we bring into the organization, if we are not a culture that promotes diverse people, then we’re not an inclusive culture.”


“It’s having the courage to say something, having the humility to be wrong, and having the self-assuredness to own your mistakes and be better.”


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