This month we hear from Elaine Casaprima, Managing director, head of Bowring Marsh Continental Europe & Middle East, on how she gives the organisation an authentic sense of purpose and empowers and motivates her colleagues.
Born: Englewood, New Jersey, USA
Your current role:
Managing director, head of Bowring Marsh Continental Europe & Middle East. I lead Bowring Marsh’s placement operations in Continental Europe and I am also the Chairwoman of MMC Switzerland. Marsh helps clients of all sizes and in every industry better quantify and manage risk – and transform uncertainty into opportunity.
Your nickname as a child:
What was your first ever job?
Working as a counter girl at the local bakery at the age of 15 – I started work at 5:30 am every Saturday and Sunday.
When did you join the insurance/risk profession?
In 1986, immediately after finishing university.
What is your single proudest achievement?
Achieving a high level of professional success while still maintaining work/life balance and a high quality of life.
BA History, Yale University and MBA International Management, New York University.
Favourite work focused saying:
“Being in charge does not necessarily mean that 1) you have to do it; 2) you have to know how to do it; 3) you have to run things; 4) you have to be in control at all times. It just may mean that you need to support the best in each person so that the team can get the job done.”
What did you want to be when you were a child?
An engineer, just like my father and brother.
When did you last ride a bike?
Last weekend (it’s practically mandatory in Switzerland).
What car/s do you own?
An Audi A5 – perfect for driving in the mountains in winter.
If you were a superhero what powers would you want to have?
I would fly like Superman (I love to travel).
Beautiful calligraphy – I still handwrite Christmas cards every year.
Are you competitive?
I come from a family of engineers and decided at a fairly young age to study chemical engineering at university. But I took a Spanish history class my first term and fell in love with the subject; I graduated four years later with a history degree, no job and no idea what I wanted to do. I accepted an internship with Cigna in their newly formed captive insurance unit – it sounded interesting and I liked the idea of working in an international business environment. Three years later I switched to the broking side of the table and I have stayed there ever since, first as a retail broker and later as a wholesale broker. I’ve travelled the world, worked in New York, London, Brussels and Zurich and enjoyed a varied and challenging career.
About the Insurance Supper Club
The Insurance Supper Club is a private members’ group of senior leaders from around the globe. It provides a forum to meet, network and debate business issues while seeking to inspire the next generations of leaders in the industry and the community as a whole. It is recognised that companies currently have an imbalance between genders at the senior executive level. It is also recognised that having a more even gender balance has a positive effect on the performance and value of a business, yet change has been slow. Many reasons are used to justify this lack of progress: career breaks, reduced opportunities, poor networking and also inaccessible female role models. The Insurance Supper Club offers a platform which promotes active participation of its members.
Find out more at: www.theinsurancesupperclub.com
About the Chartered Insurance Institute
The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) is a professional body dedicated to building public trust in the insurance and financial planning professions. Their 125,000 and more members commit to high professional standards and success in CII qualifications is universally recognised as evidence of knowledge and understanding.
Find out more at: www.cii.co.uk