International Women’s Day 2017: The females of UK General
Today is a celebration of women. Women who are striving to succeed. They are motivated, dedicated and disciplined. Combine these characteristics, throw in knowledge and you have a lethal combination in business. These women are the future.
Here at UK General we are proud to not only be led by a woman, managing director Karen Beales, but also have a vast selection of female directors and managers who ensure the success of our business every day. In recognition of their influence and leadership, we caught up with a handful of those who are leading the pack.
Stella Jones, Personal lines director, has worked in insurance for 25 years. She began her career as a linguist fluent in both French and Russian, but soon fell into insurance because of its natural partnership to assistant services. Fast forward to today as she’s responsible for managing a team of nine sales people. Stella is well known across the business and to clients alike for her pragmatic approach and can-do attitude. Skilled in insurance, she says that the most rewarding part of her role is strengthening relationships, growing stable brands and building the UKG reputation within the personal lines market.
Similarly, Natasha Modelly; Technical manager, told us that the insurance industry chose her but 20 years later and here she still is! Although new to UK General she has already hit the ground running as part of a task force launching our new division of business; Social Housing Insurance. She says that working in a great team of innovative and market leading professionals, both male and female, is one of the best aspects of the job for her.
In contrast, UK General’s Marketing manager Ria Cusimano is fairly new to the insurance industry but is already making waves across the business. Having worked in insurance for a little over two years she commented that “it made sense to learn about a new industry. No two days are the same. With such a vast range of clients, the industry is extremely diverse. It’s challenging but rewarding”. Committed to delivering a strong brand message across our niche personal lines market, she found her greatest obstacle to be understanding all of the acronyms…they’re like another language!
Skip to Sarah Wood, our Recruitment & employee engagement manager who has financial services in her blood. With her mother carrying out a high profile career in retail banking, Sarah knew from a young age she was destined to work within a financial based company! Whilst she’s always on the lookout for staff that will excel within their roles, she’s certainly aware of the pressures that are facing women within the industry. However, Sarah reckons that’s changing. The stigma of long hours, travel and considerable pressure are becoming a reduced concern whereby most insurance companies now offer flexibility and support.
This was one aspect of the role that field-based Jo Shorthouse, National business development manager for our online trading portal BrokerPal, found extremely appealing. She’s also been in the insurance industry for over two decades and has seen the attitudes towards women in insurance change dramatically. Boards are seeing an increasing degree of gender equality as women are striving for more success. Happiest when she’s out on the road meeting new and existing clients, Jo maintains the industry is dynamic, exciting and progressing with the times.
Together, these women are at the forefront of our business. It’s no doubt that the insurance industry is an evolving market continually striving towards gender balance, yet for those considering insurance they have some advice. Always be true to yourself and confident in the decisions you make. Take every opportunity to learn and develop your own knowledge, but know they won’t come to you. Be brave and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!
This article features a small number of female managers within the UK General business, not to mention the rising stars who are climbing the ranks. Stay tuned for a second instalment, coming soon.