Your current role:
Global head of operations and global practice leader, Allianz Multinational – at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty. I look after insurance operations, real estate, business continuity management and procurement – all in all around 800 people all around the world, on the Allianz Multinational side – this is our global program product – so this is about ensuring that Allianz is delivering the service our customers expect.
Your first ever job?
If picking apples at the age of four counts then that – I earned 50p! Next from that was a paper round and then a Saturday job at an electronics store.
When did you join the insurance/risk profession?
In 1987 at the age of 18.
What is your single proudest achievement?
Becoming the first ever female manager for my company in 1999, before that over half the staff were women but not a single manager – 40% of the men employed were managers.
Favourite work focused saying:
“What can I change today?”.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be yourself and don’t worry what other people think.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Leave …. The advice my boss in Maidstone gave me when I was offered the London opportunity.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
A pilot (unfortunately not a path really open to women at the time).
When did you last ride a bike?
Couple of weeks ago in Hyde Park and got very wet when it poured down!
If you drive, what car/s do you own?
Volvos – big one and a little one.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can play the flute and I am a really good holiday planner!
What is your favourite song/piece of music?
En Bateau by Debussy – loved playing it, on the non-classical side then “This charming man” by the Smiths – fresh, new had such an impact on my life.
If you were a superhero what powers would you want to have?
To be instantly at a different location – imagine the commute or being able to holiday anywhere every weekend!
Spidery and unintelligible.
Are you competitive?
How I got here …. The simple answer is I picked Allianz because of two things – the receptionist knew my name when I came in for the interview and my offer letter arrived the very next morning – for me that equalled nice people and they want me to join. I joined Allianz as an A Level trainee – I had been doing science A Levels but they were not my strength, having obtained a place at uni to do Biology and French – I had come to the conclusion I was more interested in the French … not a good foundation. I worked in the Maidstone branch on personal lines underwriting then commercial and after four years spotted an internal advert for a role in London that was the same grade – it ended up being my first lateral move. From there I went to property underwriting, then specialised in energy underwriting becoming the London head in 2002, moved to chief underwriting officer for energy in 2006 before being offered a chance to run a bigger team in operations. So, took the role of head of operations UK, did that for three years, then moved to Paris to be head of operations, France (so the French ended up being useful!), then created a global team from my own idea and came home. The global practice leader role then came up which spans all parts of the company so I went for that, six months later added in the global head of operations role. Lots of changes, lots of moves, variety and change are what I need.
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: 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: cii.co.uk