Women in Finance: Women of Protective Life

Recap from the evening's event. Many thanks to our leaders from Protective Life!




On April 25th at the Valley Hotel in Homewood, AL, a discussion on a variety of financial topics with a panel of women from one of Birmingham's preeminent organizations, Protective Life.


The event was held at the Valley Hotel on April 25th from 5:30 to 7:30p


About Our Panel:


Pooja Rahman

Pooja Rahman joined Protective Life Corporation in June 2021 as senior vice president and chief risk officer. She is responsible for leading Protective’s enterprise risk management (ERM) function and overseeing implementation of the Company’s strategic risk appetite. As part of this mandate, Rahman leads the ERM group in managing programs covering insurance, actuarial, product design and pricing, investment risk, market risk, hedging and risk mitigation, operational, regulatory, and reputational matters.


She has over two decades of risk, finance, and legal experience in the insurance industry. Prior to joining Protective, she most recently served as head of financial risk at New York Life.


Rahman earned her Juris Doctor from Drake University Law School, her master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans, and her bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Mumbai. Outside of work, she is proud to serve on the national board of Easterseals.


Laura McDonald

Laura Y. McDonald is Protective Life Corporation’s senior vice president, chief mortgage and real estate officer. She is responsible for Protective’s commercial mortgage loan and real estate portfolio. McDonald joined Protective Life in 2013 and has over 29 years of commercial real estate lending and corporate banking experience. Previously, she worked for Capmark Finance (formerly known as GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corporation) and SouthTrust Bank. Prior to SouthTrust, McDonald worked in the audit division of Arthur Andersen, LLP.


McDonald was awarded the Dai-ichi Life President’s Award in 2020 in recognition of brand enhancement and corporate value creation as well as her contribution to resolve social issues. She also serves on the advisory board of the UAB O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center in the current role of president elect 1. McDonald has also served on the executive leadership team of the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball, the Beyond Blue Host Committee benefitting the Mike Slive Foundation, the capital campaign to redevelop The Bell Center, as a past board chair of the American Cancer Society and the capital campaign for the expansion of the Ronald McDonald House. In addition, she is an alumna of Leadership Birmingham’s Class of 2019 and is a current member of the Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Central Alabama.


McDonald earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from The University of Alabama and is also a Certified Public Accountant – State of Alabama (inactive).


Diane Griswold, CFA

Diane Griswold, VP Investments, manages Alternative and Sustainable Assets for Protective Life. Previously, she held various roles on the Investment team: Head of Public and Private Credit, Leveraged Loan Portfolio Manager and Corporate Bond Portfolio Manager. Prior to joining Protective, Ms. Griswold worked at The Retirement Systems of Alabama where she was Assistant Director of Fixed Income. She graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University with a BS degree in Economics and is a CFA charterholder.


Sherri Hickman, CFA

Sherri Hickman is a senior financial executive with more than thirty years’ experience in corporate and public accounting settings. Sherri is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).


After spending most of her career in the accounting and financial reporting areas, Sherri transitioned into the world of corporate finance for approximately four years, before rotating back into accounting in 2019. Sherri currently serves as the VP, Investment Accounting & Operations of Protective Life Corporation.


In addition to being actively involved in the mission of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Sherri is a graduate of Momentum’s executive leadership development program and remains active with the Momentum Alumni Programs, whose goal is to elevate the professional potential of women leaders throughout the state of Alabama. Sherri also serves on the Board of Directors for Opera Birmingham.


In her spare time, Sherri enjoys traveling, gardening, and cheering on her beloved Auburn Tigers!