Donna Walker, Executive General Manager, Broker Business, IAG Commercial Insurance, talks about equality, Collingwood and marine biology.
Like most people, I fell into the industry. And like most people, I have stayed because I am passionate about the role that insurance plays in our community. I love that as an industry we have the opportunity to make a difference and help people, businesses and the community be safer. The fact that the industry is constantly changing also means insurance is a dynamic place to work.
How would you change the industry?
I'd like to see more women in senior roles across the industry. Our customers are diverse and hence we need leaders who can bring this diversity of thinking and perspective into our strategy and business planning. Women are equally as talented as men, so why shouldn’t there be more women achieving senior roles?
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t die wondering. There is something to be said for seizing the opportunities that you have and giving them the best you can rather than sitting back and then wondering “what if”.
What’s the most important thing a broker can do to develop their business?
Continue to evolve their business in line with the changing needs of their customers and the broader environment. The world is changing so fast. Customers have never had access to so much information. The ability to understand customers, leverage these insights and meet them in their world is essential.
If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?
I would reshuffle Cabinet to get a membership mix more representative of our broader population. My husband would be much more pragmatic and want me to approve the high-speed train between Melbourne and Sydney.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry today?
We need to do more to attract young people, school-leavers and graduates to a career in insurance. Our industry is so unique - it provides wonderful, challenging careers across many different areas. Younger people also add to our industry through their strength in areas such as a deep understanding of the digital world and also a different perspective on customer needs. We need to attract the best and the brightest to the industry.
What has been the highlight of your career?
I've had the privilege to work with some amazing people who lead and deliver extraordinary outcomes for both our organisation and our customers and partners. In recent times I’ve been working with a group of people focusing on how we create more inclusive and flexible work environments. These include initiatives to better support women in their career progression and providing support mechanisms for families during school holiday periods. It’s incredibly rewarding to be part of this and see the difference that relatively small changes can make to individuals and families.
NRL, AFL, soccer or other?
AFL - support the mighty Collingwood which is fortunate given the CGU
sponsorship. Go Pies!!
If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Deborra Lee Furness – not just married to Hugh Jackman but an intelligent and fascinating woman in her own right
J R Tolkien – an amazing imagination
Nelson Mandela – he is probably going to be incredibly busy with all his dinner party invites but the man has such grace.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be…
Still working in an area that involves people. In my younger days my dream job was to be a marine biologist and work with the Orcas in Seaworld. This didn’t quite work out but visiting Antarctica or Alaska to see Orcas in their natural environment is on my bucket list.