Gunster, one of Florida’s oldest and largest full-service business law firms, last week kicked off Women’s History Month by holding its inaugural Florida Women in Insurance Leadership Awards. Distinguished award winners were announced at a luncheon on March 3rd at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, hosted by Of Counsel Attorney and Government Affairs Consultant Sha’Ron James

The first-ever Awards honored women from across the state that have and continue to make extraordinary contributions to Florida’s insurance marketplace. Attendees gathered to recognize the extraordinary impact female insurance leaders have on the state’s insurance market and the work that must be done in the future to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry. Vivian D. Wesson, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel of Marsh & McLennan Companies, served as the luncheon’s keynote speaker and challenged attendees to forge a path for women in the industry through sponsorship, mentorship, and courageous leadership.  

“The goal of the Florida Women in Insurance Leadership Awards is to improve DE&I in the industry. By awarding several outstanding women and an industry-led organization that is committed to breaking down barriers, we encourage and empower women to help fill the growing talent gap that exists in the industry,” stated James. 

More than 40 nominations were submitted for the Florida Women in Insurance Leadership Awards.  The winners are:

  • Emerging Leader – The Emerging Leader Award recognizes an exceptional young woman under the age of 35 that has shown a clear commitment to and passion for the risk and insurance industry in Florida.
    Winner: Paige Crider, Litigation Manager, Florida Peninsula Insurance Company
  • Leadership Pacesetter – The Leadership Pacesetter Award recognizes a woman that has taken the lead within Florida’s risk and insurance industry, within her company and/or organization and continues to set a high standard of achievement for others to follow.
    Winner: Veronica Della Porta, Managing Partner, The Della Porta Group
  • Lifetime Achievement – The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a woman that has made a significant impact on Florida’s risk and insurance marketplace through her outstanding achievements and career contributions to the insurance industry.
    Winner: Elana Schrader, MD, Senior Vice President of Health Care Services, Florida Blue and President of GuideWell Health
  • DEI Catalyst – DEI Catalyst Award recognizes a company or organization within Florida’s risk and insurance industry that has demonstrated its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by advancing programs and initiatives that break down barriers in the risk and insurance industry by promoting a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture.
    Winner: American Property & Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA)
Paige Crider
Paige Crider
Veronica Della Porta
Elana Schrader, MD

James added, “Through the Florida Women in Insurance network we will begin to engage in critical discussions regarding the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Florida’s insurance marketplace and develop ways to move the industry forward on this important issue.”

Florida Women in Insurance Leadership Awards further Gunster’s Leading Florida Forward initiative, which hosts a variety of thought leadership programs to educate and empower its attorneys and professional staff, and the greater community.


About Gunster

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 11 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With over 220 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at

Jenni Garrison
Director of Business Development & Communications


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