Each March, we celebrate International Women’s day. This year, we wanted to mark the occasion with a blog series looking at the extraordinary careers of women within the Insurance Industry. Our editor teamed up with Natalie Drenovac, host of The Modern Women podcast to chat all things careers with our 5 ladies whose backgrounds range from various disciplines including Marketing, HR and C Suite.
Today's blog features Ursula Murphy, Chief Transformation Officer at Allianz.
Where did you start your career?
After college, I moved to London and started my career as a recruitment consultant. From here, I went to work with a company that provided a software application for HR departments which ultimately led me to a career in HR.
How did you get to the position you are in now?
Prior to joining Allianz in 2006 as HR Director, I gained a breadth of experience across a range of different industries (IT, manufacturing and advertising) in very commercial roles that included HR, sales & marketing and IT. It is this broad commercial experience combined with continuous professional development that has really helped me progress.
My current role as Chief Transformation Officer brings together a lot of the culture change work that I have delivered in Allianz with my previous work experience.
What is a female stereotype you can not stand?
A stereotype that I come across regularly is the idea that leadership is one-dimensional. I don’t believe that those who emerge as leaders (look like leaders) and those that lead effectively are necessarily the same thing. We can be biased toward those that are confident, extroverted or charismatic but I think we need to challenge the idea that what “looks like leadership” and what good leadership is in practice can be very different. At the moment in Allianz 60% of our Board of Management is female, we recognise that leadership is about what you do, not about your gender.
Do you believe the key to change is to fix the woman or fix the system?
My view would be that we can’t be complacent, it is well recognised that diversity in business is crucial. We must do everything we can to make sure the best people, regardless of gender or background are leading our business – this is giving people the support and tools to succeed, but also removing structural barriers that can make this difficult.
Continuing to do this across our industry and others is essential to see the type of diversity we need to succeed.
Tomorrow's blog will feature Jane Halpin, Director of HR and Business Change, Cornmarket on her experience in being a modern professional woman working in a male dominated industry.
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