As Auckland gears up for its second annual Women in Insurance Summit, we spoke to industry leaders from across the continent about their journey into the highest ranks of insurance, and the leaders who helped them get there.
Gallagher area director Kylie Hull has been in the industry for over 25 years, having started out as a receptionist with Commercial Union Insurance after graduating Year 12. According to Hull, the industry has progressed a lot since that time – but it still has a way to go to support the new generation of potential high-flyers.
“For me, one of the biggest role models in my personal life has been my mother,” Hull told Insurance Business. “Coming from a remote outback town, she had a challenging upbringing but always let me know I could be anything I wanted to be if I was willing to work hard.
“In my professional life, I have had the pleasure of working with Sarah Lyons, chief executive at Gallagher since she came to Australia and she continues to be an inspirational leader to me. Sarah sets high expectations and has pushed me outside my comfort zone many times because she believed in me.”
“Having just returned from Chicago along with 700 of my fellow colleagues at Gallagher, looking around the room reminded me that we have such a breadth of diversity in the Australian business,” Hull explained. “At Gallagher Australia we have a roughly 50/50 split at multiple career levels, which we have achieved organically. This highlights that we have amazing women in our business and while other regions may be working towards achieving this, they still have a long way to go.”
Hull says that many young women still face hurdles when it comes to bringing their voice to the table, and that support from leadership is vital to ensure that no talent gets overlooked.
“Many women struggle to put themselves out there, so having strong and visible women leaders who are also mentors helps show other women how it can be done,” Hull said.
“But the industry has definitely changed. Gender balance and salary equality has achieved a greater balance over the last 10 years, and the introduction of a more flexible working environment for women to continue their careers and still have a family has opened up new opportunities for talented female insurance professionals to thrive and grow in their chosen career path.”