Larissa Vaughan on stepping outside of your comfort zone

"Don’t be afraid to put yourself in unfamiliar situations and give yourself a variety of challenges"

Larissa Vaughan on stepping outside of your comfort zone

Insurance News

By Lucy Saddleton

“Being deliberate about challenging yourself and stepping outside of your comfort zone is a great way to advance in your career,” said Larissa Vaughan, acting CEO at Kiwi Insurance.

Vaughan chose to step out of her own comfort zone in April 2018 when she made the leap to insurance to satisfy a curiosity to explore new challenges. With a background in law, Vaughan previously worked as Kiwi Bank’s head of legal but she jumped at the opportunity when encouraged to take on the role of head of insurance for a team of 23 people. When the CEO of Kiwi Insurance stepped down earlier this year, Vaughan rose to the challenge again and took the reigns as acting CEO. She brings 25 years of experience in financial services to the role, having worked at banks and fund managers in New Zealand and London.

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself in unfamiliar situations and give yourself a variety of challenges,” she advised. “Be deliberate about owning your career and making a plan. Being brave enough to try something which took me beyond my technical skill set and trust my non-technical skills has been so rewarding.”

Vaughan is a strong believer in sponsorship and mentoring, having been informally mentored throughout her career. She also trained as a mentor through a program at Kiwi Bank and is involved in mentoring others within the business. She hopes to encourage other women to join the industry.

“Have confidence in the things you have to offer and what you don’t know you can learn,” she advised. “It’s a really interesting career with different challenges to appeal to a variety of people with different skillsets.”

Vaughan currently works with many strong women, and she remarked that there are a lot of senior women in the insurance industry throughout New Zealand. However, she believes the global industry as a whole has a long way to go to achieve gender equality.

“I do think we need to be deliberate about gender equality, both as organisations and as individuals as well,” she said. “Sometimes we have to work hard to establish an equal voice at the table.”

Vaughan previously specialised in financial services law, litigation and governance. She has a particular interest in Fin and Insure Tech and founded the NZ FinTech Regulatory Roundtable. Her legal work was credited for kicking off robo advice law-changes in New Zealand.


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