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Lenika Milne: Leading One80 Intermediaries’ Brand and Strategic Vision

One80 Intermediaries, a leading insurance intermediary firm, appointed Lenika Milne a few months ago as Chief Marketing Officer to spearhead the company’s brand and strategic vision. With over two decades of experience in sales and marketing, Lenika is responsible for upholding the One80 brand, sustaining One80’s customer centric culture, leveraging data analytics, and anticipating market change and disruption. 

Lenika joined One80 Intermediaries in 2019 as the National Director of Sales and Marketing, where she played a key role in boosting the company’s revenue and brand awareness through her leadership of sales and growth initiatives. She also oversaw media relations, sponsorship activity, and social responsibility efforts, all of which contributed to the company’s success.

As a CMO, Lenika is set to take One80 Intermediaries to new heights by leveraging her expertise in branding and storytelling to strengthen the company’s market position. Her strategic approach and vision will be instrumental in shaping the future of the firm and driving growth in a highly competitive market.

The interview highlights how One80 Intermediaries, led by Lenika, is well-positioned to lead the industry in providing highly specialized and comprehensive insurance solutions.

Prior Work Experiences

Prior to joining One80 Intermediaries, Lenika enjoyed a 10-year career with Citigroup with posts in New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai and London. She began her banking career working alongside Citi’s CEO, Vikram Pandit, in the office of Global Corporate Affairs in New York. She was then asked to relocate to the Asia-Pacific region to serve on the Regional Government and Public Affairs team. Here, Lenika supported Citi’s public relations strategy as the bank expanded its consumer presence throughout the Chinese market.

Lenika was then appointed to regional trade marketing head for Europe, Middle East, and Africa for two years, until she was promoted to global trade marketing head, based in London. In this role, she led global trade marketing efforts to drive product and client segment strategies, worked with leaders throughout the globe to execute marketing strategies that differentiated Citi, de-commoditized Citi’s product set, and drove 20% year-over-year growth for Citi’s $1.6B trade business.

She began her career at American International Group where she held a variety of underwriting, sales and marketing roles throughout the US. She served as a media relations intern for the White House in 1999, graduated with honours from the University of California in 2000, and received an MBA in International Marketing from Georgetown University in 2008.

Lenika is active in her local community. With three daughters under the age of nine, she is passionate about empowering women and developing the next generation of leaders. She serves on her local school board and leads a committee dedicated to nurturing father-daughter relationships. She is also involved with USA Women’s Water Polo and is a volunteer with the National Brain Tumour Society.

One80 Intermediaries: Innovating at the Pace of Change

The culmination of Lenika’s experiences has led her to her dream job as the Chief Marketing Officer for One80 Intermediaries. As the CMO, she leads all marketing, advertising, media, and public relations efforts for the $500M organization. Lenika’s team and agency partners are responsible for driving the One80 brand through digital and performance marketing, SEM, SEO, conversion rate optimization, and content strategy.

Lenika joined the company in 2019, when it was still in its early stages as the second employee. She served as the National Director of Sales and Marketing, responsible for defining the company’s strategic vision, mission statement, and values. Lenika crafted the One80 Intermediaries brand and narrative, while also defining its culture.

In just three years, One80 has grown to become one of the largest intermediaries in the United States, employing over 1,800 employees with offices in 55 locations throughout the US and Canada. In 2022, Business Insurance ranked One80 as the 5th Largest MGA/Underwriting Manager/Lloyd’s Cover holder and 5th Largest Underwriting Manager in the country.

One80’s success is attributed to its culture built on trust, unparalleled industry expertise, and entrepreneurial spirit. These values were at the core of One80’s business plan prior to launch, and the company has remained committed to them since its inception.

Learnings from Experiences

Ten years into her career, Lenika was serving as a Marketing Associate for Citi’s Office of Global Corporate Affairs when she witnessed the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest investment bank in the United States and the climax of the subprime mortgage crisis, on the morning news. Lenika worked tirelessly in the following months, often sleeping under her desk in the office at night, to contribute to Citi’s response to the volatility of the markets. She experienced confusion, fear, and excitement during this time.

Lenika worked closely with Citi’s CEO, Vikram Pandit, and the public relations team to craft talking points for the Congressional Oversight Committee. She played a part in an effort that instilled trust in lawmakers and beyond. Although she did not realize it at the time, the lessons she learned during this time continued to inform her professional decisions well into the future. These lessons included the importance of dedication, teamwork, strategy, remaining calm in the face of crisis, mental and physical endurance, clear communication, and transparency.

Culture Built on Trust

One80 launched in January 2020, just two months before the Covid-19 outbreak that would change the world. The pandemic forced the company to quickly adapt and develop an inclusive culture through new ways of working and advanced technologies. At the time, it was challenging to quantify the economic implications of the pandemic. Similar to Lenika’s experience at Citi during the financial crisis, it was crucial to build trust with employees as they faced uncertain times.

To alleviate employee concerns and signal that their jobs were protected, One80’s top 200 employees volunteered to take a 20% salary reduction. This action removed financial insecurities and conveyed the message that any fiscal burden would be contained within the management team.

Unparalleled Industry Expertise

One80 focuses on highly specialized areas in the market, maintaining deep understanding of the clients and industries they we serve; and responding with tailored solutions that are not offered by our competitors.  These attributes are underscored by One80’s ability to respond to market changes with speed and decisiveness.  One80 continues to prioritize the development of new programs in response to ever-changing market needs. In 2022, Lenika spearheaded an initiative to establish the NextGen Innovation Forum. This forum brought together the next generation of leaders at One80 for a three-day offsite event. As part of the forum, One80 invited industry influencers to host an Innovation Workshop.

Following the workshop, forum delegates were divided into teams and tasked with creating a product, service, or solution to meet the needs of One80’s clients. These groups will present their ideas to the executive committee in May, with the goal of launching viable products in the coming year.

This initiative serves as an example of how One80’s culture is centered around bringing new programs/MGAs to market, delivering consistent products and capacity to distribution partners, and providing a home for entrepreneurial underwriting talent.