With the current focus on gender balance in the insurance industry, some leaders believe we are losing sight of the importance of education and ability.
“It’s time to back away from the gender equality argument and put the focus back on ability. We need to encourage all people to study, learn and be the best that they can be,” said Karen Hardy, principal broker at Acme Insurance Brokers in Tully, North Queensland.
“Males and females are different. We can embrace the difference or we can fall victim to it. If you want to succeed and you have the right motivation, you will do so, regardless of gender. Gender is irrelevant,” said Hardy.
“The onus has to be taken off the industry to do more to help women succeed. It’s up to each individual to buckle down and work hard,” she added. “If you have the drive and motivation to climb the corporate ladder, there are some fantastic examples of high-profile women who have done just that.”
After just five years in the industry, Hardy made the bold move to apply for a license in 2001 and go out on her own by buying out the business for which she had been working. She subsequently founded Acme Insurance and has been growing the business ever since. Her work became a life-long commitment and she has dedicated herself to providing hope and assistance to communities and clients in need.
Hardy believes that many women have the innate skills to do exceptionally well in an insurance career due to their nurturing natures and ability to see situations from a broad perspective.
“Consumers enjoy female interaction and they tend to trust us because of our attention to detail,” she said. She recommends that young women seek mentoring and networking opportunities within the industry to help boost their credibility and make themselves known.
“My advice to anyone coming into the industry is to study, keep your private life private, and give 110 per cent to your work,” said Hardy.
Hardy was recognised for her commitment and dedication to the insurance community when she won the Valerie Baker Memorial Award in 2017. The award recognises ethics and values, business success, client relationships, teamwork, innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry contribution.