Jane Brady, Managing Director at Brady Insurance and former President of The Insurance Institute of Sligo tells her story of how she entered the insurance industry, overcame professional challenges and why networking and mentoring were such key components in her career success.
How did you get started in the insurance industry, Jane?
As with many people, I started by accident. Ours is a family business, but initially insurance didn’t attract me. I didn’t realise how diverse it was as a career and how much potential there is within the industry.
My Dad ran our family brokerage and at age 73 he approached me to see would I join the company. I moved home to Leitrim/Roscommon and I have never looked back!
Did mentoring play a role in your career success?
Mentoring is so important in my eyes, however I was unlucky in that after I joined the business, my Dad passed away and I had no on-hand mentor as such. I reached out to underwriters, brokers and insurer staff and would ask all kinds of questions.
People were so amenable and generous with their time and advice. I also tried to create networks of peers to go to for help, because in a small company you don’t always know every answer or solution in-house, you need people that you trust to ask.
With that in mind, I got involved with Young IBA, or MyIBA, and developed a fantastic network of friends and mentors. As President of The Insurance Institute of Sligo one of my themes is mentoring and I encourage everyone to see outside of their own business, overlook the fact that you might compete and make friends in your industry because it really helps your career.
What’s been the biggest challenge you have had to overcome in your career?
Really it is the juggling that one has to do in order to run and grow a company, be a support to my team, take part in industry events, be a mum and not lose my mind in the process! Also becoming a Lloyd’s coverholder in 2013 and building our online wholesale platform was a huge challenge but worth it.
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
I would say have confidence and go for it; a lot of what it takes to get ahead in this world is courage and resolve to get there and early in my career I didn’t realise that. I would also say to anyone who is afraid of study, pick up the book and do it – don’t wait any longer.
What do you think are the benefits of working in insurance?
It’s a fantastic industry with brilliant and interesting people in it. You get to help people – your customers – with managing important aspects of their personal or business lives. The work is never boring, it challenges you to use a lot of skills and from my own point of view it is brilliant being my own boss.
What’s been your most rewarding professional experience?
There have been lots of wonderful highlights. I must say I did a little dance when I achieved Lloyd’s coverholder status and also when I passed my QFA and CIP exams! I was so honoured to be President of The Insurance Institute of Sligo this year and formerly I was chairperson of MyIBA both of which were hard work but totally rewarding!
How do you spend your free time?
Catching up on everything I didn’t do during the week! Only kidding, I spend it with my two girls Isabel and Emily and my husband Colm. We go on trips, watch movies, playdates, the usual family stuff – I just wish the weekends were longer!