Insurance industry – it’s time to be authentic

Swiss Re head on staying true to yourself

Insurance industry – it’s time to be authentic

Insurance News

By David Saric

A surefire way of succeeding in insurance, especially within the workplace, is by maintaining a sense of authenticity that others can grasp on to.

“I think it’s very important to be able to be yourself and form genuine relationships with your colleagues and business partners in the most authentic way,” said Lisa Radford (pictured), Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ senior vice president, senior customer relationship manager.

“That certainly leads to being happier in your career when you are honest and you’re truly pursuing things in the way that you would like to.”

Being authentic does not mean having no filter, but rather being genuine in a way that resonates with people positively.

“Being transparent in the workplace has allowed me to make deeper connections in the long run, whether that is with coworkers or clients that I deal with routinely,” the SVP said.

Furthermore, as a professional who routinely deals with customers to build robust relationships, Radford noted how the client is able to sense a phony persona quickly and how that can negatively impact future business deals.

Radford will be a panellist at this year’s Women in Insurance Summit Atlanta during a fireside chat entitled: “Accelerate through authenticity – Using who you are to drive your business and career”.

In advance of this discussion, she sat down with Insurance Business to speak about why insurance professionals, especially women, may feel the need to put on a certain façade in order to make it in the industry. She also discussed why events like this are near and dear to her heart.

Why some people might get the wrong idea about authenticity

When professionals step into a corporate setting, there can be certain roadblocks to someone expressing their true authentic self.

“When you put on those professional clothes, you have that business suit that can also become a suit of armor that separates the professional you from the real you,” Radford said.

There is a common perception that in order to succeed in the business, individuals have to align with certain ideals and appearances to get ahead, and that is especially true for young women looking to make a splash in male dominated spaces.

“When I, in insurance many years ago, would go into meetings where I would be a young woman in a room with 15 other men, you want to fit in,” Radford said.

“I think that people have certain expectations of what you’re supposed to be to fill a role and we often become that even if that is in direct opposition to your personality and the certain goals you’d like to achieve.”

Instead of trying to conform to certain ideals, Radford recommends focusing on who you are and what traits can help move you forward, as well building on the assets that have moved you further along in your career and how they can potentially help others to do the same.

“When thinking about accelerating through authenticity , I don’t think that necessarily has to be just for yourself,” she said.

“I think that as women help each other accelerate in the workplace through authenticity, the more opportunity there is for a diverse representation of thought leaders to have a seat at the table.”

Forging bonds with other insurance professionals through authenticity

Radford has had a chance to participate in events like Women In Insurance Atlanta before, both as a speaker and an attendee.

“I’ve always enjoyed the networking and camaraderie that comes out of these functions,” she said.

“I love to hear the other speakers - what they have to say - but then I also like to get feedback from the up-and-coming professionals to know what’s on their mind, what’s important to them and make those integral connections.”

To Radford’s earlier talking points, this can be achieved by approaching these events without any inhibitions and approaching conversations with your peers honestly and with positive intentions.

“By presenting myself authentically, I’ve been able to become very close with the people I’ve met at these types of forums in both professional and personal contexts,” she said.

“It’s really exciting to be part of an event that fosters a community that wants to give back in different ways, with professional growth being just one aspect.”

Click here to learn more about the Women in Insurance Summit Atlanta or purchase tickets to attend.

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