Susan Winkler is executive director of the Connecticut Insurance and Financial Services (IFS) Cluster, a business organization representing more than 30 insurance and financial services companies in Connecticut.
She convenes industry, state government and academia towards the goal of creating a brighter economic future for Connecticut and a more robust environment for a thriving insurance, banking and financial services industry.
She is responsible for driving the business recruitment and retention, workforce development and public advocacy efforts of the IFS Cluster.
“Planning for the future workforce is certainly the most challenging and rewarding aspect of the IFS Cluster’s mission,” she said. “We monitor workforce trends through technology and a very engaged executive workforce committee. Our commitment, through a variety of career fairs, boot camps, scholarships, and technology tools, is to ensure a pipeline of labor that is excited about joining the industry and that has the necessary skill sets for today and tomorrow.”
To cope with today’s unstable economy, the IFS Cluster strives to stay ahead of regulations, both state and federal, which have a direct impact on Connecticut jobs. The IFS Cluster hosts an annual informational campaign at the state legislature each year, and frequently testifies on bills that help foster a stronger business climate in Connecticut.
Winkler devotes time to Hartford’s own High School Inc, a National Academy Foundation academy in the city which focuses on educating high school students in the insurance and financial services fields. Another of her community endeavors is the Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA), whose mission is the revitalization of the Asylum Hill neighborhood. Since 2003, NINA has coordinated more than $5 million of new investment, including the restoration of 14 blighted structures into new homes for Hartford families.
“Connecticut ranks number one with the most insurance jobs per capita in the U.S., and most of those jobs are located in the Hartford region,” Winkler noted. “We are the insurance capital of the world with a highly-experienced and educated labor market that is second to none.”