A young lady posed a question to me at the 2019 IBAS Convention. “What advice would you give to young women in the Insurance Industry?” I felt it was important to share this conversation piece and provide a more precise, more succinct response then what was given at the convention.
- Get to know your personality style and learn how to communicate and interact with other styles. Figure out who you are, what your values are, and make sure you live them.
- Figure out your best skill sets, what you’re good at. Working to your strengths is very rewarding
- Never stop learning, formally or informally. Check out MOOC.org Focus on courses that build your leadership skills.
- Look for opportunities to expand and build your skill sets. Look within your organization or outwards through volunteer opportunities.
- If an opportunity presents itself - go for it. No matter where an opportunity takes you, there is always something to learn and take away from the experience.
- Build a network of positive, energizing people. They will help pick you up during downtimes.
- Search out a mentor or a personal coach or, better yet, put the money down for an executive coach. An objective third party will ask questions and challenge you, and this goes a long way into helping build you into a leader for where you are now and for where you will be in the future.
I thought I was done the list, but then my husband reminded me that I had forgotten one. It’s a discipline that I have struggled with and continue to work hard to make it a regular practice. It’s self-care. Take time for yourself - massage, hobbies, exercise - whatever relaxes you and moves you toward a positive mindset. This is key to having a long and rewarding career.
Yes, I started as a typist in the insurance industry. I was able to reinvent myself at least seven times over my career to take advantage of opportunities in many different areas - admin, underwriting, IT, stats, and leadership. I have enjoyed the various aspects of my career and was able to accomplish the changes while living in small-town Saskatchewan. We purposely chose to live in a smaller community as it fit the values that we had for raising our family.
It doesn’t matter where you are located as there are opportunities everywhere. The important factor is you and what you give, using those skills and personality traits that are unique to you.
Valerie Fehr, CEO
Chief Empowerment Officer
My Mutual Insurance