Henna Karna: From Calvin Klein to #5 in the World in Insurance Technology

Henna Karna
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Henna Karna
Henna Karna

A global leader in insurance technology and ranked #5 in the world by Insurance Network News, Henna Karna is an Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Xceedance, Inc., a 600-person start-up with a global footprint that spans North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Karna has had a 20-year career in digital innovation, and has been extremely active in her community. She has been nominated for Forbes’ 40 Under 40 and a member of MENSA. Aside from her many professional accomplishments, Karna has been a mentor and coach for numerous start-ups and budding entrepreneurs.

INDIA New England News: Please tell our readers about your work and what you enjoy most about it?

Henna Karna: Regarding my work, I have led the business model transformations of companies ranging in size from $20 million to $75 billion, with teams of up to 1,000 expert resources.  Most recently I have established and led digital initiatives at Verisk Analytics and American International Group where I designed (and patented) bleeding-edge data-visualization and digital applications built on cognitive intelligence, game theory, and crowd sourcing.

woy-outstanding-logoI was voted #5 among the top 15 leaders globally in Insurance Technology by Insurance Network News, and just recently nominated for FORBES 40 under 40.  My current role is that of an Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Xceedance, Inc.  In this capacity, I am responsible for pivoting our current business model (focused on consultative work in data and analytics for insurance), to focus on a portfolio of products and services. This includes both organic development and inorganic acquisition of critical products that will create value within the insurance carrier ecosystem.

What I enjoy most is the breadth and latitude with which I am able to operate which spans the intersection of data, technology, digital, and innovation.  the work I am doing today in bringing digital network strategy, machine learning, and robotics will be another game changer in our industry – something the industry has not yet encountered. My ability to exploit what I consider to be very strategic and transformative catalysts within the insurance industry are things that motivate me about my current role.

INE:  To which charitable, community and professional groups do you belong and why?

HK: My organization has a Corporate Social Responsibility requirement and it is one of the most satisfying aspects of what I do. We invest part of our profits to benefit several volunteer efforts across the globe, including Ekal Vidyalaya, ASHA Foundation, etc.  In addition, we are designing programs to bring career counseling and career options to high school students in India and other continents to help drive home the importance of career choice as a function of passion or love of a field vs. social expectation.

Also, I have been invited to serve in the Global Women in Leadership group that is dedicated to encouraging women to be a voice of inspiration, strength, and example to both the businesses in which they operate as well as their families.

INE:  What are your hobbies and interests?

HK: I love the multidimensional aspects of life!  I model at fashion shows, paint, carve in wood, race cars on a race track, have a helicopter license, design gamification concepts, etc. I have been crowned Mrs. India International 1st-runner up.  I’ve been a member of MENSA, modeled for Calvin Klein and other companies at NY Fashion Week and loved teaching MBA statistics as an adjunct professor at Babson College.  And, above all else, I do activities with my three children to immerse them in the Hindi language and Indian/desi cultural and values.

INE:  In what way you feel you have most positively influenced or served the local community and your company/organization and professional field.

HK: In my local community I am a MENSA coach, a volunteer at Crisis Center for Women, a mentor at the TIE-Atlantic Small Business Mentorship program and at the Global Insurance Accelerator to numerous small-businesses and an advisor to Global Women in Technology

In the professional field, I significantly improved and supported the career paths of many individuals across the globe.  I’ve introduced digital as a catalyst for transformation at several publicly traded corporations in the insurance sector.  Introduced emotional quotient driven data and technology models for client-adoption and retention.

INE:  Your rare talent?

HK: Inspiring the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary – seeing people for who they can be, not who they are, and helping them achieve their optimal self

INE:  Your favorite books?

HK: “Give and Take” by Adam Grant

“Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse

“Wings of Fire” by Abdul Kalam

INE:  Your favorite quotes?

HK: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. ” -Mahatma Gandhi

INE:   Who inspires you the most?

HK: My mother. She is an angel.

INE:  Your core value you try to live by?

HK: Solving problems through persistency and creativity without compromise of integrity


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