Monika Bolkun-Robert: The Rise of Female Leadership Redefining the Insurance Industry

Schaefer Enterprises Best Insurance Industry Monika Bolkun-Robert CIO Women Magazine

In the traditionally male-dominated industry of insurance, the increasing presence of female leaders signifies a notable change in dynamics and perspectives. Their roles in the insurance industry extend far beyond mere contribution— they drive change, innovation, and progress.      

Women leaders in the insurance sector bring a distinct set of skills and perspectives to the table. Their ability to direct complexities, develop collaboration, and understand diverse stakeholders sets them apart. 

Monika Bolkun-Robert, Chief Operating Officer of Schaefer Enterprises, founded her company in 2010. She aimed to keep insurance costs low and provide long-term security for her clients. In the field of insurance, Monika is often one of the few women in meetings, standing out in a predominantly male-dominated industry. Similarly, she is one of the few women directing a competitive business environment in construction.  

From Past to Present

After completing her master’s degree in Poland, Monika focused on studying marketing, management, and foreign trade in London. She also gained experience through internships at major publicly traded companies across Europe. In New York City, she started as an assistant to the president at an insurance and bonding brokerage firm. Within two years, she was promoted to vice president of the insurance division and had significantly increased the company’s revenue.

Monika found herself drawn to the complexities of the insurance business. Her daily interactions with a diverse range of business owners, from Italian manufacturers to gym proprietors and builders of multimillion-dollar projects, fueled her passion. She enjoyed the challenge of creating tailored solutions for individual needs and collaborating with entrepreneurs to support their growth. Now, Monika is serving as a Chief Operating Officer of Schaefer Enterprises. 

Schaefer Enterprises provides a range of business and personal insurance products for various industries. One of its main sectors is the New York City construction market, but the company also caters to businesses in sectors such as grocery stores, senior living facilities, hospitality ventures, medical offices, venture capital firms, and others.

Monika’s chief responsibility at Schaefer Enterprises is sales. She oversees teams at the agency, conducts analyses to identify new markets, and manages operational tasks such as negotiating bonuses, tracking sales, and fulfilling C-suite leadership duties.

Breaking Barriers

Under Monika’s leadership, the company is known for its outstanding customer service and has a strong track record within the industry of retaining clients. Many clients stay with the company and experience growth in their businesses over time. Monika finds these challenges energizing and is comfortable taking an assertive stance when needed, thriving on quick thinking. Rather than feeling afraid of competition, she embraces it wholeheartedly.

Monika recognizes the diverse aspects of women’s lives. She understands their multiple responsibilities and the importance of balancing various aspects of life. Her strong listening skills enable her to connect with others and have led to numerous opportunities in her career at Schaefer Enterprises.

Witnessing Growth

Her most significant achievements are client relationships and the remarkable retention rate that Monika’s company maintains. One of her earliest clients, a plumber who started with a $5,000 policy, has now grown his business to a $100 million revenue enterprise, all while remaining Monika’s loyal client. She takes pride in working with motivated individuals and witnessing their growth over the years, considering it the ultimate validation of their business practices.

The following are the Monika’s Industry Accolades and Recognitions:

Schaefer Enterprises: Best Insurance Industry | Monika Bolkun-Robert | CIO Women Magazine

Flexibility in Leadership Style

Monika has effectively managed the challenges of recent years with quick and innovative responses. The disruptions caused by COVID shutdowns in 2020 led to a complete overhaul of Schaefer Enterprises’ business model. Embracing the hybrid work scenario early on, it has experienced a shift, where now 80% of its employees work remotely—a change that has proven advantageous.

While some businesses adhere to the traditional belief of daily office presence, Monika and her team have introduced a new approach to business operations. Thorough vetting of new hires, with continuous communication throughout the day, has developed a culture of trust and autonomy, reducing the need for micromanagement.

Recognizing the importance of mentorship, she has paired younger employees with senior account executives to provide guidance and support. This initiative nurtures talent and strengthens the company’s core values.

Flexibility is a significant aspect of Monika’s leadership style. Her ability to adapt has helped her to handle changes and succeed in a dynamic business environment effectively. Employees value the trust and freedom they receive, resulting in increased dedication and productivity, contributing to the company’s success.      

Sources of Inspiration

Monika admires her mother as an inspiration and role model, citing her as the hardest-working person in any room she enters. Her mother pursued college in the 1970s, which was uncommon for women from her small town in Poland. Despite the challenges, she managed to attend medical school, supported herself throughout, and completed her education.

Her mother’s determination to overcome the limitations of her upbringing and struggle for a successful career deeply influenced Monika and her siblings. This influence is reflected in their professional accomplishments, as each of them holds advanced degrees such as PhDs and MBAs. Monika and her siblings attribute their mother’s exceptional work ethic and unwavering determination to instilling in them a mindset of continuous growth and a refusal to limit their aspirations.

Adaptability in Action

“Our company cares about our employees. We support them by showing them trust and flexibility. I like to think we are good people, and we hire good people,”

Monika

Monika credits Schaefer Enterprises’ success to its outstanding company culture. The company has long-serving employees who have been with it since the beginning, realizing the investments made in them and growing their loyalty to the company. Schaefer’s ability to adapt to changes has been crucial in its growth. Monika also highlights the importance of ongoing learning, including attending conferences, keeping up with new technologies, and their strategic partnership with Patriot Growth Insurance Services, LLC.

Monika and Greg Schaefer’s partnership is a crucial element of their joint success. Their shared passion and dedication to the business create a strong foundation of mutual support. Their synchronized decision-making processes, team-building approach, and overall business management strategies reflect their aligned vision and goals.

Monika advises young business leaders who aspire to succeed in their careers to prioritize discipline. She emphasizes that hard work is essential. Even with immense talent, a person’s progress may be limited without consistent dedication and discipline.

Beyond the Office

By combining dedication and family values, Monika manages her work-life balance. She believes that achieving perfection in this balance is unrealistic, but her children are a source of motivation and empowerment for her. At 11 and 8 years old, they closely observe her hard work and take pride in her accomplishments, learning that pursuing passions does not always require external validation, a lesson she feels is especially valuable for her daughter.      

Due to her professional position and financial stability, Monika actively participates in fundraising and volunteers her time when possible. Involvement in their church as a family further reinforces the values of success intertwined with community support. Encouraging her children to engage in enriching activities promotes their personal growth and strengthens familial bonds, creating a sense of balance in their lives.      

Tailored Solutions for Every Business 

“Every single business needs an individual approach, which is the best way to serve our clients,” 

Monika

Under Monika’s leadership, the company is expanding its range of cyber-insurance policies, which has been a vital focus for growth. This expansion has required the team to develop expertise in this area from the ground up. With the increasing reliance on technology, businesses that previously overlooked cyber policies now see them as essential.

There has been a noticeable increase in claims in New York, which has added complexity to the challenges in the property markets. As a result, Schaefer Enterprises is putting more effort into policy analysis and structuring. Keeping a close eye on industry developments and working closely with insurance experts and legal professionals in New York is a top priority. These efforts give the company a competitive advantage and ensure thorough preparation for meetings. 

Inspiring Words from Satisfied Clients

 “Professional, quick, and top-notch service. Schaefer Enterprises is nothing but extraordinary. I would highly recommend this firm for all your insurance needs.”

L & Z Restoration Corp

“We are a non-profit that needed insurance coverage in a pinch. Schaefer Enterprises was gracious, courteous and the most efficient organization I’ve worked with in a very long time.”

Elisa Nikoloulias

“I have experienced the highest level of professionalism and assistance in advising and protecting our company as it pertains to liability insurance. The staff is user-friendly, responsive and goes above and beyond to help us.”

Jennifer McDade

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