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October/November 2011

Diversity/Careers October/November 2011 Issue




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Managing

Victor Williams: business unit relationship manager at Chubb

He manages the relationship between a Chubb business unit and its IT outsourcing partner and takes care of infrastructure needs and requirements


Victor Williams is an AVP for IT, and Chubb Personal Insurance (CPI) business unit relationship manager for Chubb Corp (Warren, NJ). CPI provides personal property insurance for homes, valuables, cars and yachts, as well as excess liability coverage.

"I'm the business unit relationship manager for the personal lines division," Williams explains. "I manage the relationship between our Chubb business partners and our IT outsourcing partner, and take care of their infrastructure needs and requirements. If they're kicking off a major initiative I sit at the table with them to assist in delivering their technology solutions."

Solving problems with a team
For example, Williams remembers a time when Chubb's personal lines appraisers were having technology issues that led to inefficiencies. "The tablets they were using had many defects and produced a lot of downtime for them," he recalls. "I launched a campaign to find a solution." Williams worked with his business partners, the business end users and the IT leadership in personal lines, all the way up to the CIO, on needs assessment and user testing.

"Having the hardware contacts I do, I was able to pull together three new vendors and procure evaluation units for my business unit to review. We developed success criteria and shared them with the vendors as the yardstick by which they would be measured.

"After three months of testing we made a selection, ordered and built 150 units and equipped the appraisers in the field. To date results have been very favorable with a significant reduction in downtime," Williams concludes.

Long term and day to day
There are two components to his job. One is the project component, assisting clients with technology deliverables. The other is managing day-to-day "lights on" support including troubleshooting telephone or computer problems.

"While I don't head up a team, I have more than 200 IT people accountable to me," he says. "I can basically tap any one of them to assist me to get a job done."

An IT career with Chubb
Williams has been in this job since 2005 but with Chubb Corporation for thirty years: "My entire IT career," he says with pride. "Chubb has a pretty decent number of individuals who have been here that long.

"Thirty years ago 'diversity' wasn't a term you would hear coming into a Fortune 500 company. Over time, companies realized the value in having a diverse organization and I think Chubb was at the forefront of that."

Early days
Born in Kentucky and raised in New Jersey, Williams excelled in math and science in high school and knew he was on an engineering track. He went to the University of Delaware in engineering and interned at Merck Pharmaceuticals (Rahway, NJ) where his father worked for more than thirty years. "It was a great job and paid a lot of money but what they did day to day just didn't excite me," he says.

He heard about Chubb through an employment agency. "I was looking for a job in technology and I hadn't finished college yet," he explains. "I started pretty much near the bottom of the organization, delivering computer tapes and making microfilm."

He worked full time during the day and went to school at night. "I think you appreciate it more when you do it on your own," he says.

Chubb financed most of his education. He earned an associates degree in computer IS from Union County College (Cranford, NJ) in 1988 and graduated from Bloomfield College (Bloomfield, NJ) in 1998 with a degree in computer IS.

Networking at Chubb and ITSMF
In the past year Williams has been on the steering committees for two of Chubb's ERGs: the Chubb Black Employee Network and the IT Minority Development Council. Outside the company he's a member of the IT Senior Management Forum (itsmfonline.org), which is dedicated to cultivating executive talent among African American IT pros.

"Chubb has equipped us with tools like the regional leadership forum (RLF), where they take you through a CIO training track," Williams notes. The RLF program is sponsored by the Society for Information Management (Chicago, IL).

A committed employer
Reflecting on his long tenure at Chubb, Williams continues to be impressed by how well the company treats its employees. "I was looking for a company with a real sense of family and commitment to their people. That's probably why I've been here so long; you don't walk away from your family!"

D/C



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