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Mary Pat Lawrence: Making change, bridging the gap between Alabama and D.C. – 2024 Woman of Impact

Mary Pat Lawrence’s incredible career is the result of combining her unique skill set with a passion for making change.

From the time she was young, Lawrence knew she wanted to strive to make change on a large scale. Born and raised in a small town in Alabama, she had high hopes of moving to a bigger city and creating a meaningful career.

While attending the University of Alabama for undergraduate and law school, she was given the opportunity to intern for Senator Richard Shelby on Capitol Hill. It was through this experience that Lawrence got a taste for politics and the opportunity to travel the state of Alabama alongside the Senator. 

Lawrence found a sense of belonging among the excitement of the city and later decided to make D.C. her home after graduating from law school. Her first interaction with Protective Life was nearly 20 years ago when she worked on an issue as a lobbyist in Washington representing the company.

“I worked with the company’s previous leadership on legislation that affected the life insurance industry. That was how I cut my teeth and really got to understand life insurance.”

She now serves as Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at Protective Life.

In her role, she oversees the development and implementation of Protective’s government agenda at the state, federal, and international levels. In addition to managing Protective’s Government Affairs department, she is the company representative to various industry associations, including the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the American Council of Life Insurers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Council of Alabama.

In order to strengthen her professional skills, she prioritizes networking and relationships.

“Relationships are everything in the government affairs world,” shares Lawrence. Maintaining close working relationships with industry peers and trade associations is vital to her success, and she ensures that these relationships are held in high regard. 

As for her source of professional inspiration, she points to Senator Shelby. Lawrence cites Shelby’s consistent encouragement and insistence on continued effort as important to her progress. She also shares her respect for Senator Katie Britt and her impactful work.

“I am inspired by her incredible first year in the Senate serving as a leader on her committees, engaging on international issues around the world to keep our country safe and secure, and making sure Alabama is well positioned to create and bring new jobs and opportunities to our state,” Lawrence said of Senator Britt.

“Her love for Alabama shines through in everything she does!”

In terms of her most significant professional achievement, Lawrence highlights her depth of experience. Over the course of her career, she has worked both on and off Capitol Hill and has been able to utilize her unique skillset to see exciting forward movement in her position. Lawrence is also exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to live in a place that she loves in close proximity to family and friends. 

Looking to the future, Lawrence seeks to continue the positive momentum. “I would like to continue, as part of an Alabama headquartered company, to be a partner with policymakers to move Alabama forward to create jobs and great educational opportunities.” She is also proud of the progress that has been made through the Alabama Business Coalition led by Protective.

“We noticed a void in the Alabama-D.C. networking space. There was not a consistent opportunity for Alabama businesses, entities, and professionals to assemble and share ideas and information with their congressional delegation and staff.” 

The ABC meets regularly with Members of Congress, state officials, and key staff members to discuss a wide variety of timely issues that affect Alabama and their shared interests.

The group’s mission is to come together to support the economic development and growth of Alabama by educating and discussing solutions that benefit the businesses, residents, and stakeholders in the state.

In addition to these efforts, Lawrence is involved in several local community organizations including serving on the boards of The Birmingham Zoo, The Alabama Ballet, and The Women’s Foundation, and was a 2022-2023 participant in Leadership Birmingham.

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