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Deborah Smallwood




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Deb Smallwood, the Founder of Strategy Meets Action (SMA), is widely recognized as an industry thought leader and known for her expertise in helping companies rethink the business of insurance.  Deb’s passion is to advise insurers on how to bridge today’s insurance world to the future. For over 30 years, Deb has guided customers to tap into infinite possibilities and understand how to leverage emerging technologies, shift strategies, and make the right strategic investments. Deb has worked with hundreds of insurers and solution providers over the years, enabling them to create high business value and to differentiate their businesses through their decisions and investments. 

"Never before have the opportunities for the insurance industry been so phenomenal and the challenges so great. I grew up in the insurance industry and have experienced the shackles that misaligned business processes and monolithic technology solutions are placing on insurance companies. Today, I really do believe those shackles can finally be removed. It's about creating a culture of innovation – and a plan to address the modernization, optimization, and innovation of the business of insurance through enabling technologies investments. My personal goal is to help our clients shape a clear and focused strategy and plan of action – and to help them make informed technology decisions. There is no room for mistakes!”

Deb has held leadership roles in premier insurance companies, professional services firms, and research advisory organizations, where she consistently demonstrated the ability to find new ways to leverage technology to achieve optimal business outcomes. Her skill set includes linking business strategy to IT strategy; development of business and IT roadmaps; selecting, shaping, and delivering core solutions; and the implementation of right-sized governance models.

Prior to founding SMA, Deb served as Chief Transformation Officer for Insurance Company of the West (CIO) where she was recruited to deliver as much IT functionality to the business operations as possible in the least amount of time. Deb led company-wide change that included developing and integrating the corporate business strategies into 5 Strategic Initiatives. Before joining ICW, Deb launched and served as Managing Director of TowerGroup's Insurance Research & Consulting Practice.

As a Partner at KPMG LLP, she launched an IT consulting practice specializing in the assessment and management of IT risks. She began her career at Liberty Mutual, where she directed a variety of large-scale core system replacement projects and rose to leadership of the commercial lines application development and maintenance group.

Deb's expert opinion and counsel are in demand by press, clients, and major industry events. She is a frequent contributor to leading insurance trade journals and has been a keynote speaker at major industry and customer conferences. Deb is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Business Administration.