An interview with awards judge Annette Andrews

Back An interview with awards judge Annette Andrews

Why do you think these awards are so important?

I am continually amazed by women, the work that they do and the wider contribution they make. They are often the unsung heroine that goes around making a difference. This is a great opportunity to highlight the work being done, the difference being made and to highlight these individuals. It’s their moment to shine …. we don't celebrate success & individuals enough so this is an opportunity to do just that …

How important is introducing greater gender diversity to the ongoing relevance and success of the insurance market?

I often describe the Insurance Market as a hidden gem - its a great business, with great & varied careers, and loads of opportunity. We need to share this with the wider world, but also change perceptions. We have an opportunity to do that but ensuring that a diverse global talent pool is aware of the opportunities - attracted to them, supported in developing their careers and sharing this with others - is key to the future. All the research shows that the more diverse your talent (every aspect of diversity) then the more successful your business will be. It also needs to reflect your customer group - who are also increasingly diverse. An obvious one to me is always - women are 51% of the UK population for example - we need to ensure we remember this when we think about our customers and employees and reflect that in all we do ! It doesn't just make business sense - it is the right thing to do …

How do you think the pandemic has changed the gender balance in the insurance industry?

I am hoping in several ways the pandemic has affected us all - it has highlighted the challenges and also the opportunities. The more agile employers will adapt their policies and practices - they will survive and grow. People just wont be prepared to work and live in the same way they were previously. So we now know that we can successfully and productively work from any location - it doesn't have to be office based. It is OK to have variable start / finish times that accommodate individuals personal lives as well as their professional lives The smart employers are rethinking their benefits and policies - knowing that their customer and employee needs are changing. This will help the market attract and retain more diverse talent, and will mean that its flexible approach will be more attractive to women in particular but also to talent of all ages / backgrounds

Who is/was the professional mentor in your life that you most admire? Why?

I am so lucky - I have had different mentors throughout my career : they have all helped shaped who I am today, and have proved invaluable both personally and professionally. I met a very senior female leader a long time ago when I was at Ford - she was my HRD based in the US and I was based in the UK but with a global remit. She not only inspired me as a senior female leader who provided excellent support to her team on a remote basis, she absolutely supported flexible working when it wasn't the norm, but she was also very family focused and openly shared her challenges and joys as a working parent - she showed me that its important to share the whole you with your team / customers and to be flexible in your approach. And her virtual door was always open - she was very approachable.

Which category interests you the most and why?

For me it is the role model category - role models are so important for us all. They inspire us, they are individuals we can learn from, who we can aspire to be like and they have made a difference…..