Back An Interview with awards winner Julie Rayson-Flynn
What does it mean to win the award?
I was absolutely delighted and very surprised to win the award against some strong competition. Having been nominated by one of my own team members that only added to the value. I suspect like many women did not set out from school for a career in Insurance and found it by chance. Having spent now 30 years in the Profession and having seen it develop, I’m hugely proud to work in Insurance. To then receive an award as recognition of my efforts and contribution to the role of Women in Insurance makes it even more valued and appreciated.
What one personal achievement in the last 12 months are you most proud of?
My biggest personal achievement would be the Insurance Institute of Leicester annual dinner during my Presidential Year. Most dinners have seen a drastic decline in numbers ad support and I was determined to buck the trend and demonstrate the fun and business value to all who attend. After a lot of personal letters and calls and support from a great team we saw a record attendance of **** also accompanied by a record amount of sponsorship from Insurers and other supporting businesses. Feedback from the event was overwhelming with many comments not just from attendees but other around the profession who had heard about it.
How do you develop diversity within your own company?
Whilst working at Brokerbility and with our member brokers I have always strived to breakdown barriers. When I started in the group, I was the only female attendee at Directors meetings and constantly in the minority all events as well as being generally much younger than my colleagues. As part of my role I constantly looked to encourage brokers to consider their succession plans but also to highlight the noticeable difference. Whilst I would never advocate a woman getting a role “purely because”, nor should she ever be ruled out because of how she might or might not change when with a partner, married or having a child. Brokerbility previously launched an apprenticeship scheme for our broker and we ensured we attended events with both male and female representatives and also in all documentation. Your gender should be irrelevant.
How do you think the pandemic has changed the gender balance in the insurance industry?
The biggest change I have seen is the change in attitude towards flexible working and working from home. Any stigma of “working from home” being an excuse or perception that people would work less have been proven wrong in my experience. Whilst it has undoubtedly put child care issues high up the list, it has made it as much a man’s issue as a female’s rather than the stereotype the woman will always sort it. I have experienced a number of fathers implementing more flexibility of their own schedule to accommodate children and their partners jobs. The increased flexibility has also seen a greater acceptance of “school drop offs” etc. and an acknowledgement that staff can work more flexibly and from home. As we move forward I’m aware of many roles and people who will adopt this more flexible style and in some cases never likely to return to a full week in the office.
What is your key message to women looking to progress or start a career in the insurance industry?
Do it! Its not the stuffy old male dominated world you might think and offers a wide range of challenging and rewarding roles. We contribute a vast amount to the economy and although it often feels unappreciated, the industry is hugely important. As the industry develops there is also a great choice to diversify using your skills and to progress your career. Opportunities exist now so take them!