Margaret Meister, president and chief executive officer of Symetra Financial Corporation, will address graduates as the keynote speaker for Bellevue College’s annual commencement ceremony Friday, June 21, at the Courter Family Athletic Pavilion on campus.
Meister leads a growing national life insurer with roots in the Pacific Northwest, $49 billion in assets, over 2 million customers and more than 1,000 employees based at its Bellevue headquarters. Steering Symetra through an exciting chapter in its evolution, Meister is spearheading the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and investing in strategic alliances like its new Seattle Storm partnership that help drive greater brand awareness and align with its core values.
“The campus is very excited to have Margaret Meister as our keynote speaker,” said Dr. Jerry Weber, Bellevue College president. “Her professional journey is sure to be an inspiration to our graduating class—she’s someone who got her start with an entry-level position and worked her way up to becoming a CEO. Her success is a testament to effort, an entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to community and a willingness to learn and grow along the way.”
A Whitman College graduate, Meister joined Symetra as an actuarial student in 1988, rising through the organization to become chief actuary in 2004, chief financial officer in 2006, and the company’s first female president and CEO in 2018. Meister’s professional accomplishments have been widely recognized; she received the CFO of the Year Leadership Award in 2015 and was named a 2018 Women of Influence honoree by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
“I am incredibly honored to speak to the new Bellevue College graduates as they prepare to embark on the next chapter in their lives,” said Ms. Meister. “Change is an important part of personal development. The discomfort and fears that often accompany personal change are where we realize the most meaningful growth. I plan to share my story of facing my own fears, and how I’ve become comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to develop personally and professionally.”
Meister, who serves on the United Way of King County board of directors, heads an organization that lives its ‘Swift to Serve’ core value through local community support. Earlier this year, Symetra committed a second $100,000 donation to The Sophia Way, a Bellevue-based nonprofit dedicated to helping end homelessness for single adult women in King County. The grant ensures that Sophia Way’s emergency shelter will remain open year-round in 2019. Today, Meister will help kick off the 11th annual Symetra Week of Service, during which hundreds of employees will take time from their workday to tackle dozens of volunteer projects across the region at organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue, Food Lifeline, Imagine Housing and Treehouse for Kids.
Bellevue College expects to award 2,838 bachelor’s and associate degrees, certificates and diplomas to 2,479 students. About 2,016 of this year’s graduating class will be comprised of graduates who will receive associate degrees. Approximately 1,123 students are expected to graduate with distinction (3.5 grade-point average or higher).
Last Updated June 10, 2019