When RMI undergrad Lisa Barela Sullivan stepped into the Colorado State Capitol building on Thursday, February 25th, she didn’t know what to expect from her first “Property & Casualty Insurance Day at the Capitol,” an annual event organized by Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA). RMIIA’s “Mission Possible” day galvanized insurance professionals from all over Colorado to attend, meet their legislators, hear from Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar and other legislators, lobbyists, and news journalists, all with the goal of learning about the legislative processes and laws that impact the insurance industry.
For Lisa, it was a return to her roots. You see, Lisa’s ancestor, Casimiro Barela, is a founder and early settler of the state of Colorado. His stained glass portrait shines brightly in the beautiful dome above the capitol rotunda. Lisa hadn’t stepped foot in the capitol since a third grade tour, and was thrilled to see it again after many years. “Casimiro Barela adopted nine native American children, one of whom was my great-great grandfather,” explained Lisa. “It is exciting to be here again and see his portrait.”
Lisa herself recently returned to Colorado to continue her dual major coursework in Risk Management and Insurance/Finance, with a minor in Economics, at University of Colorado Denver’s School of Business. She had been completing coursework online from Florida, where she was based with her husband, Ens. Daniel Sullivan who was stationed in Pensacola completing his naval flight officer program. “As a military spouse, I really appreciate the flexibility of the RMI program to offer courses online while I live with my husband before his deployment.”
For spring 2016 semester, Lisa moved back to Denver to take on-campus courses. Since her arrival in December, Lisa has been busy. She joined Gamma Iota Sigma as chapter Secretary, has attended various industry meetings, including RIMS, CPCU, CSIA, and now Insurance Day at the Capitol. Lisa was also awarded a Pinnacol Assurance scholarship for spring 2016 semester. “I can’t believe the fantastic resources available in the RMI program to help me learn about and launch my career in the risk industry.”
Of RMIIA’s Insurance Day at the Capitol, Lisa said, “Everyone is so nice and welcoming. I feel that I have made a great decision in pursuing my BSBA in RMI/Finance. I now know I have an exciting future ahead of me, wherever my husband and I are stationed.” RMIIA Executive Director Carole Walker invited Lisa to address the group at lunch. “Lisa is the future of our industry, and we are so pleased to have her here with us.”
Lisa’s next mission is to complete a summer 2016 internship, hopefully in Virginia where she can live with her husband. “The program has been very helpful in all aspects of my career exploration,” said Lisa. “The professionals I met at P&C Day all encouraged me to look up opportunities with their partner offices in Norfolk, Virginia. I am so excited about this next step in my education and career!”