Executive of the Year (Midsize Organization): Doreen DeLaney Crawley

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Doreen DeLaney Crawley

Chief Human Resources & Administrative Officer

Grange Insurance

Doreen DeLaney Crawley admits she "fell into" human resources.

Business was her first calling, as she earned an economics degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and a law degree from the Ohio State University while working for Bank One (including a two-year stint with its Executive Development Program). She continued along the path of executive development and management consulting at businesses like Anderson Consulting (now Accenture) and Computer Sciences Corp.

A 2001 move to CNA Insurance Company in Chicago and Florida opened up the HR world. By 2004, DeLaney Crawley was developing human resources strategies for Countrywide Financial Corp. in California. By 2009, she was in full control of human resources for First Data Corp. in Atlanta.

Since 2010, DeLaney Crawley has been chief human resources and administrative officer at Grange Insurance; her revitalization of the staff while maintaining bottom-line results has earned her Executive of the Year honors for the midsized company.

"What she has brought is the spirit of partnership, as far as enabling our business strategy," says John Ammendola, Grange's chief property and casualty officer. "She has done a great job integrating herself and her team, and to integrating people as part of that team."

Ammendola praises her as a consummate professional with plenty of positive energy. DeLaney Crawley's focus at Grange has been to guide the next generation of leaders through efforts, including:

Development of two associate resource groups geared toward young professionals and the equal promotion of women

Stewardship over the Grange's Emerging Leaders Program, which helps young professionals in the organization develop into leadership positions.

Fostering the Executive Mentorship Program geared toward increasing access to senior leadership and strategic projects for middle managers with executive potential

Developing Grange's Collaborative Succession Planning Program

"I believe Grange is one of the best-kept secrets in the city," DeLaney Crawley says. "It appreciates diversity of thought and wants to be a trailblazer in the industry.

"Insurance…is the seventh-largest industry in the state of Ohio. Where will we get the next leaders? How will we recruit into this industry? We have to make sure we address that need."

To better address the needs of Grange associates, DeLaney Crawley has created forums where associates can sign up and meet with senior leaders, or have a coffee chat with the CEO. In addition, she spearheads promotion of a Consumer Driven Health Plan paired with a Health Savings Account, to help educate associates on making cost-effective healthcare choices.

Delaney Crawley also knows how to help employees have fun while they work, Ammondola says. She organizes associate engagement days where associates and executives play sports and share lunch together.

Delaney Crawley says her ability to think like a business leader while at the same time understanding the human aspects of the company is what drives her success-and drives her to serve Grange's employees every day.

"Even through technology and systems, you still need people to execute on the strategy," says DeLaney Crawley. "Oftentimes, HR can be the architect to helping people do great things."

That understanding grew even deeper for Delaney Crawley last year, as she welcomed her first child at the age of 45.

"It certainly enhances my appreciation for working women," she says. "And now I have a seat to think about and address these things."

HR Excellence Awards 2014

Executive of the Year (Large Organization): A Christine Browning

Executive of the Year (Midsize Organization): Doreen DeLaney Crawley

Executive of the Year (Small Organization): Katie McGrath

Future Leader: Alison Marker

Future Leader: Nicole Mauri

Good Works: Julie Young

Innovation (Organization): Battelle For Kids

Lifetime Achievement: Chester Christie

The finalists